Media reactions to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt’s tragic suicide may have created an unintentional opportunity to bring the issue of adult bullying into the spotlight.
Several sources hinted at the possibility that Brandt may have been devastated by the close similarities between himself and a plastic surgeon character on Tina Fey’s Netflix show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Celebrities often provide the inspiration for many parodies, which could be considered borderline bullying — but that's another story.
Although it is not likely that Brandt actually committed suicide as a result, such parodies may not help the self-esteem of celebrities who may be suffering from mental health issues such as depression.
The question arises, is adult bullying actually an issue for us common folk, not just something celebrities have to deal with?
It certainly is a common issue. In fact, PBS addresses adult bullying in its series “This Emotional Life.” It focuses on the workplace as being a common place where bullying may occur.
“Different from constructive criticism or conflict, bullying is persistent, it focuses on a person rather than a task, and the recipient feels powerless to stop it,” according to the PBS website.
Charmaine Hammond, a professional speaker and author, said in an email that she works as a consultant and workplace facilitator. She often provides training and intervention regarding workplace bullying, conflict and harassment.
“I define bullying as repeated and intentional acts of verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful to another person,” she said.
Bullying can focus on many different targets such as a person’s gender, disability and ethnicity. It also can involve threats, intimidation, humiliation and other forms of harassment, Hammond said.
Elayne Savage, a psychotherapist and workplace consultant, said in an email that if you’re not sure if a statement or action would be considered bullying, ask yourself this question: “Would most people consider this action unacceptable?”