Wil Wheaton has long been a favorite among self-professed nerds, with his appearances in The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek and love of gaming giving him a kind of street cred among the group.
But now the actor has taken on an even greater stature, becoming something of an ambassador for nerds to the rest of the world. The attention came this week, when a video emerged from last year’s Denver Comic Con showing Wil consoling a young fan who asked what to do about being bullied.
Wil Wheaton confided that he was bullied as a boy for not liking sports and instead loving math and science. He told the girl that she shouldn’t apologize for liking the things she does, and gave some insight into bullying.
“I wish that I could tell you that there is really easy way to just not care, but the truth is it hurts,” he said. “But here’s the thing that you might be able to understand—as a matter of fact I’m confident you will be able to understand this because you asked this question…
“When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you, it has nothing to do with you. It’s not about what you said. It’s not about what you did. It’s not about what you love. It’s about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad.”
The answer has been embraced as the perfect response to those who feel on the outside, and brought praise from the girl’s parents as well.
“That was my daughter that asked that question,” her father wrote in a post on Reddit. “This was a magical moment for the whole family. What you might not get from the sound of all the applause is that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after this. Mia met Wil again briefly at the Kansas city con this year, and he was as gracious and cool as you could have hoped. They talked about minecraft, ballet, mistakes, and silliness. Wil Wheaton, you are an honorary member of this family and I hope you know that you have made a real impact on Mia and the rest of us silly nerds.”
Though Wheaton had been known among nerds, this response has helped him gain a new stature. Countless media outlets and blogs have reported on the viral video. The blog Geek Sugar collected a number of other times Wil has stood up for nerds, and Wheaton himself seemed to embrace the new attention.
Seriously, though, if all I’m remembered for is telling a little girl that it’s OK to be a nerd, and to be compassionate, I’m ok with that.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) March 30, 2014
Those interested in more nerd-ery from Wil Wheaton can check out his blog.