Veteran entertainer Bette Midler has reached out to homophobic bullies, urging them to "live and let live" in the wake of a string of teenage suicides in America.
The gay icon was saddened to read about recent incidents in which homosexual teenagers took their own lives after allegedly being bullied for their sexual preferences, and she has penned an open letter to teens who taunt their peers, telling them to stop their relentless persecution.
Midler writes, "It is a sad, sad day for America when young people would rather die than endure one more day of hatred and relentless persecution.
"As a mother, I am ashamed of all the parents who have failed to teach even the most basic human lessons to their children: 'Live and let Live' and 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
"The normal, everyday kindness that we took for granted just a few years ago is a thing of the past, and I for one, mourn it deeply."
The star is also convinced the Internet has played a part in the new bullying culture, because tormentors can remain unidentified online.
She adds, "Technology, the Internet, with its anonymity, has allowed people to behave like beasts, pouncing on the weak and howling with laughter when they inflict a wound, that only the strongest could survive. What are we doing to ourselves? How are we to survive as a nation, when hate seems to be the only thing that motivates us?
"Four children are dead by their own hand because they just couldn't take any more. How many more are we going to sacrifice to the hyenas? Isn't it time to stop??"
Teenagers Seth Walsh, Asher Walker, Billy Lucas and Justin Aaberg have all recently taken their lives rather than face the bullies ruining their lives, while the latest, Tyler Clementi, jumped from the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey last week after his college roommate allegedly posted footage of him having sex with another man online.
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