(CBS Local) – A British boy who was bullied for his love of musical theater has managed to turn trouble into triumph. The aspiring youngster has launched an anti-bullying campaign to help other kids stand up for themselves.
It’s fair to say Charlie Kristensen is obsessed with theater, but the 10-year-old’s passion for song and dance made him a target for bullies at school.
“They called me fat, they called me gay, they called me stupid, they called me an idiot, and they were all around not nice to me and sometimes it got quite physical,” Charlie said.
So Charlie’s teacher sent out a plea on social media. It quickly went viral with the hashtag “Cheer Up Charlie,” winning the hearts of the nation and London’s West End Theater Community. Hundreds of performers from hit shows like Wicked and Hamilton sent messages of support.
Charlie also got to meet some of his heroes. He even launched a YouTube channel to chat with actors, including Iain Armitage from the CBS sitcom Young Sheldon who says he’s been bullied too. “I think more because I’ve always loved sparkles and pink and things that are traditionally considered girl things,” Armitage told Charlie.
Charlie is now determined to help other kids. “It will get better, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel and you need to talk, talk, talk, talk,” Charlie says. “Don’t suffer in silence because we can’t change the world in silence.”
So he’s teamed up with his new celebrity friends to spread his message of hope.
Money raised from the release of the charity single is helping one of Princess Diana’s charities during the UK’s national anti-bullying week.