Lance Bass admits he bullied kids in the past for being gay

Lance-BassFormer *NSYNC member Lance Bass appeared on Larry King Live last night alongside Kathy Griffin, Tim Gunn, and Wanda Sykes to talk about bullying in wake of the recent string of teen suicides. But the now-openly gay pop star surprised King — and audiences — when he admitted that as a teen, he bullied other gay students to fit in.

Bass said: “When you’re 13, 14, you just go along with what the other people are doing. You just want to fit in. You want to make sure that your friends like you. So yeah, you’re going to crack jokes, you’re going to laugh along with it. And when you’re a teenager, you’re not really thinking, ‘Oh, I’m being a bully by laughing along with it.'”

What do you think about his comments? (See video embedded after the jump.) Do you admire Bass for being honest?

Read more:
Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Dan Savage speak out against gay-youth suicide

Photo: Janet Mayer/PR Photos

Comments (63 total) Add your comment
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  • Joseph

    This is a good start.

    • Rosalie

      I was bullied for being gay myself. My best friend stopped talking to me in the 6th grade, because I did not fit in and didn’t walk normal. My heart goes out to Lance because he was trying to hide his own secret so that he did not get bullied himself. Althought I do not agree with his actions, I understand him though. I tried to fit in myself.

    • Elysia

      I agree…he’s raising awareness of what’s BEHIND the bullying, and how far it can go. It’s not necessarily about what kids think themselves, but is more about what they think others want them to think… That’s the sad part.

  • ks


  • jasper

    ooooh what a tough guy.

  • Lizzie Bee

    I don’t know that this confession is all that insightful about the bullying mentality… It’s well known that many bullies are insecure and that’s why they these others. Also, had Lance Bass even fully dealt with his own sexuality at the age of 13 or 14? Could he have understood the irony that he was *just like* the people he was making fun of? It’s hard to say. But I do think that Lance Bass’ admission underscores how difficult it is to be gay in our oftentimes homophobic society–and that we need to do more to cultivate tolerance and kindness in young people.

  • Fred V

    It just needed to be said, that’s all… How do we learn from our past mistakes if we don’t own them?

    • Chris

      Very true.

      • jasper

        bullying someone because you are a d*ckhead is completely different than bullying someone because you are afraid of being gay yourself.

      • Sheli

        I doubt the difference between the two makes no difference at all to the person being bullied.

      • jasper

        good point sheli. but lance bass is dumb regardless.

      • Sheli

        Oh, I agree. Having three daughters, the youngest of whom just started middle school, I have no patience for bullies. People are bullied for every imaginable reason. If there is no real reason, kids will make one up. I guess he feels like he should get kudos for admitting what he did, but it doesn’t make me pity him.

        PS–in my original post, I should have said “any difference”, not “no difference”.

      • Ambee

        I’m not sure he is hoping to get kudos as much as just be frank that he did it.

        Whatever his intention, he might make someone take pause before joining in with the bullying for fear of being ridiculed – gay or straight, and that’s a good thing.

      • Jake

        People who think their children are innocent victims of bullying are almost always wrong, that type of bullying does happen, and is ruthless, but is far less common than the typical which is either two-way, or multi-faceted in nature. Every kid bullies, it’s sad, but in all likelihood, your little kid bullies other kids as well. I know kids who I had no part in their “bullying” who played the victim but were in fact manipulative little bastards who bullied other kids themselves. I was bullied in 7th grade, and let me just say, I definitely took the brunt of it, but I certainly wasn’t innocent, and neither were the kids I was a part of bullying.

      • @jake

        Speak for yourself. Just because you say you had it coming doesn’t mean other victims of bullying did. “Parents who think their children are innocent victims…are almost always wrong.” BULLS*IT.

    • harry


  • matt

    That’s straight up honesty. He wasn’t saying he initiated the bullying right?

    • Real Jersey Jeff

      No he just supported it.

      • Bebe

        This only would have been interesting if he had bullied some of the other Backstreet Boys. Because he most certainly was not the only gay member of that “band.”

      • Ems

        He was in n’sync, at least get it right if you’re going to be a troll.

      • Diggity

        Sorry but a lot of people here live in glass houses.

  • laura b.

    It is not just gay people who commit suicide,it is also bullied kids,and discouraged adults.

    • Eric

      Who on earth made that outrageous claim? Of course it’s not only gays who commit suicide; this roundtable was no doubt until organized to discuss the recent abundant suicides of strictly GAY teens.

  • yawn

    Why is he still famous? i.e. Why do we care?

    • capt. obvious

      Because he’s a part of one of the best-selling musical groups of all time. Duh.

    • Chris

      You clicked on the article so I guess you do care just like the rest of us.

    • Baddog

      WE care because what he talks about is real.

  • Nathan

    I think it’s incredibly honest of him. I grew up in the most conservative county in the nation’s most conservative state. I lived in constant fear that my peers would find out I was gay, and as a kid the best way for me to avoid being the target was the put it on someone else. It’s incredibly inappropriate and disgusting behavior, but it happens. It’s the same reason why so many conservative anti-gay Christian leaders get caught with gay prostitutes. The difference is, some of us grow out of that behavior and regret their choices. Others don’t.

    • K

      It sounds cliche, but a lot of bullying happens because kids aren’t happy with themselves so they feel stronger by picking on someone who is weaker. Sometimes the bullies are the last to realize this though. I worry for my son who has speech problems and is small for his age, that he may have problems once he gets to school. Parents just need to reinforce through words and ACTIONS that you don’t pick on and make fun of kids who are “different”.

      • Mary

        My daughter was picked on when she was little, found out years later that the bully committed suicide. Maybe he was bullied in high school.

  • Andrew

    Who cares what this guy has to say! He should just go fly a kite!

    • Marc

      Apparently a lot of people care.

      That’s why the article is titled “Lance Bass admits he bullied kids in the past for being gay”, instead “Andrew admits he bullied kids in the past for being gay”.

      Because truly NO ONE cares what Andrew has to say.

  • des

    I really respect that Lance Bass was honest about this, and by doing so is able to bring awareness to the subject. Standing by while other people are bullied is just as bad as being the person who is doing the bullying. Being complicit in the act by not standing up for someone while they’re tormented isn’t okay. I’m glad he had the courage to admit it so frankly.

  • shakespeare

    All people do is talk and talk! Instead of coming up with a solution when something tragic like this happens, we get all sad and ask stupid stars what we should do! If you want to stop children in school from a bully, enforce harsh laws upon the students! Its that simple, if a child goes to school to be popular or cause trouble, have them kicked out! Anyone that vile at any age should be deprived of an education! It goes the same with drugs, gangs, and criminals! Everyone knows the answer as to what needs to be done, people are just to scared to admit it!

    • Huh?

      This answer hurts my head. Why would we deprive ignorant people of an education? Don’t we want them to learn about the world, so they can open their minds, and maybe not be so ignorant? Why do so many people forget what it means to be American?

    • Doug

      Kids don’t go to school to be popular and to bully other kids, their parents send them, so that just happens to be the persona they take on. Oh an by the way, it is not that simple. I knew plenty of popular kids in high school that weren’t dicks. So penalizing them because they were popular with other students is just plain stupid. Finally, I’m not sure if you know this, but they do have a penal system at school called detention and in extreme cases, they have expulsion which targets disruptive, violent or even intoxicated students.

  • TQB

    Everyone who keeps commenting “why do we care about him?” I agreed with you, until I heard what he had to say. That took guts and we need more people to talk honestly about the bullying they were a part of if we’re going to get through to today’s bullies.

  • Kat

    It would have been very easy for him to not say anything. I admire him for speaking openly and honestly and admitting his mistakes. We all make them.

  • Andrea D

    Not every 13 or 14 year old does what everyone is doing.

    • Mike

      Who said that they do? But there is a tremendous pressure to go along with the crowd, and for some kids that’s their survival mechanism.

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