Actor advocates against bullying – RJ Mitte, actor in award winning television show Breaking Bad, visits Charlotte to tell his story of how he overcame bullying

If you’ve ever seen AMC’s Emmy Award winning  television show Breaking Bad, then you’re  familiar with RJ Mitte. In the show, Mitte plays Walt Jr., the protagonist’s son who suffers from a mild case of cerebral palsy – a role very personal to Mitte as he suffers from cerebral palsy himself.

Best known for his role as Walt Jr. on “Breaking Bad,” Mitte visited UNC Charlotte Saturday afternoon to discuss the effects of bullying which he experienced first-hand as a child. Mitte has inspired those to become leaders in what can be a cruel world. He is a spokesperson for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, where he was a patient during his childhood. Mitte is also a recognized advocate against bullying as he has travelled across the country giving his story and touching others along the way. Mitte preaches that no matter what, the child being bullied always holds the power in any situation.

“I dealt with bullies,” Mitte said. “I was in braces and had casts on my legs for many years. I was pushed down, picked on and had my hand broken. The thing is, you have to evolve, and you cannot let them intimidate you. They cannot take what does not belong to them. Bullies are constantly trying to take something that doesn’t belong to them. Bullying cannot be used to get ahead anymore.”

Mitte fought hard to deal with bullying, but was not afraid to stand up to those who were constantly trying to bring him down.

“When I was a kid I was lucky enough to have family and friends who were there to support me when I needed them,” Mitte said.  “For the most part though, I stood up to every single bully I had. When I got pushed down, I got right back up and looked them in the eye and said, ‘What’s your problem?’”

Mitte described confronting bullies as a fear, and like anything else, you have to face your fears. He has three simple words, which give him the confidence to stop whatever it is that’s affecting him.

“You have to look into the face of danger or whatever is affecting you and confront it. Whatever it is has to be stopped there. My three simple words for these situations are ‘interject, redirect and re-deflect.’ First you have to interject into whatever they’re doing and unbalance them. Then you have to redirect the focus off of you and onto something else for a split second. From there you re-deflect it right back at them. You have to give them a taste of their own medicine and showing them what they’re doing,” said Mitte.

Unfortunately there seems to be a large number of people who choose to spectate during these situations, instead of coming to the aid of those being bullied. Mitte reflected on a memory of his in which he witnessed a girl fall down in the middle of a congested hall way. Instead of rushing to her aid, the others around her decided to step over and past her. As soon as Mitte rushed to her assistance, the spectators wanted to help.

Mitte expressed the importance of being a leader and setting an example for all of those around you.

“We’re always in a bubble. There’s always an observer in any situation. If you’re setting an example for those watching, they see what you’re doing and it changes the observer’s mindset. People will learn from those making a stand. This is what makes leaders and it shows whom are going to make a difference in this world,” said Mitte.

Mitte explained that the fight against bullying will not be ending soon if ever, but he illuminated that it’s something worth fighting for. In 2008, Mitte was handed his first major acting role in “Breaking Bad,” which required him to exemplify what it means to have cerebral palsy, a role he was extremely passionate about. Mitte felt that he was the best candidate for the job.

“This was the first time I spoke on television. I read the synopsis and this character described me. I went in with so much confidence and that I was there to claim my job. I had five auditions which many people would find discouraging. Not me, I knew I was on the home stretch and I can’t be discouraged. That’s how you have to go about everything. I had a lot of fun and it was great experience,” said Mitte.

Mitte’s insight showed that he had a determination beyond his 22 years. Regardless, if the fight against bullying can ever be won, Mitte will continue to inspire those around him and lead a revolution of change among the many young adults worldwide.

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Copyright 2018