Elton John says he was bullied as an adult: “It was about control”

Elton John is talking about bullying in a new interview with E! News – done by David Burtka, who is Neil Patrick Harris’s partner. Unlike many of the other celebrities who talk about bullying these days, Elton isn’t discussing the bullying issue as it relates to his childhood – Elton claims he was bullied as an adult. Here’s video of the interview, plus some highlights:

If you thought bullying stops after high school, you’re sadly mistaken. As the constant debate concerning the theatrical release of Bully continues, Elton John got candid with E! News’ David Burtka during an exclusive interview recalling his own struggle with being bullied, even as an adult megastar.

“It was about control and them being able to keep me under their thumb,” he tells us. “And I was the perfect candidate for it. Even though I was famous and a big deal, it doesn’t matter, it’s who you are underneath that, and I was always kind of shy and intimidated.”

Elton adds, “One was violent and the other two were mentally violent. They were very important people in my life. They were important people in my career and and in my personal life.”

The Grammy-winning artist admitted to being physically hit by his tormentors, and although he kept mum on the situation, he urges others that are victimized to contact someone about their issue.

“Speak out, speak out. Snitch on them. Try to defend yourself, not like me, who hid it and thought it was OK to just go on like it.”

As for the bullies, “Your insecurities are what drive you to do this. You need to consider your consequences. I’m sure underneath it, you’re all very nice people. We’ve all made mistakes in our life—this is a good time now to correct your mistakes and help people.”

He continues, “We have to nip this in the bud, too many people have died. Too many young people have committed suicide because they’ve been frightened of 15-16-year-olds.”

Elton John has been working closely with Lady Gaga on an anti-bullying campaign, and truly feels that this “cruel and disgusting” behavior can be stopped. But he’s also preparing to deal with the possibility of his son, Zachary, coming into contact with a few bullies at school.

“I know by being two same-sex parents that when my boy goes to school he’s probably gonna have some people saying, ‘Oh you don’t have a mommy.’”

If that should happen, Elton hopes that his “pride and joy” will do what he urges everyone else to do in this type of situation, and speak out.

[From E! News]

Do I believe Elton? Sure. I think he’s probably faced a lot of torment, criticism, and bullying because of his sexuality (and because of his weight too, right?). And yes, I believe bullying is an issue amongst adults as well as kids, and that should be discussed more often. I also think Elton makes a good point about generational worries – that his son might fall victim the same kind of cycle of abuse.

Now, all that being said… Elton is known as one of the meanest, most tantrum-prone bitches out there. He regularly hurls abuse at his perceived enemies, publicly and privately. So let’s not pretend that Elton is only a victim – he’s capable of bullying the hell out of people too.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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22 Responses to “Elton John says he was bullied as an adult: “It was about control””

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  1. Franny says:

    That made me really uncomfortable to read.

    I feel it may not really be helping the whole “it gets better” cause because…it seems to not get better. Which is really unfortunate. If one of the biggest and recognized stars in the world is bullied, what hope does that give to a 13 year old?

    • Franny says:

      I also just wanted to say that I saw him live last week here in Madison and it was a great show. I loved hearing him live and seeing the joy his band still has in playing their music. I went with my parents who grew up in the 70s and they just loved it. I really recommend it to everyone who has the chance :)

    • sup says:

      yeah but when did all the bullying happen? sir elton has been around since forever… it may very well have been in the 70′s, when they were still condemning homosexuality in movies. nowadays we still get a jerk or two like carson daly, but they end up apologizing meaning the lgbt community has far more influence now.

  2. Shelley says:

    Yay for Elton ;) And Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga!

  3. lucy2 says:

    At this point, what celeb isn’t claiming to have been bullied?
    I’m not saying they shouldn’t speak about it, or that it doesn’t happen, but it seems to be the new thing. Maybe it helps some kids going through it, but in my cynical mind, it seems more like an “I’m relatable and oh so concerned about children!” PR move.

    I agree that coming from someone who reportedly does not treat people very well, it loses a bit of oomph. But I wonder if that’s why he acts that way? Most child bullies seem to pick on others because someone, a parent or whatever, is doing that to them. An adult should know better, of course, but maybe that’s part of it for Elton.

    • gg says:

      Yes – also, maybe he’s kept his anger about it all inside for so long, and he is beating himself up for not defending himself at the time so he’s angry at himself, so it comes out now, after the fact, as rage issues at people he can no longer fight back against because they are no longer tormenting him. So now maybe he directs his anguish about that outwards, hoping that will scare off any new potential bullies? I dunno, just reaching. He’s getting old and that makes people pretty damn crotchety anyway.

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve wondered that myself, but I think it’s just a natural domino effect. Once someone is brave enough to come out with something, everyone else will. The only problem with that is that it kind of cheapens it because people start to wonder who’s real and who isn’t.

  4. Jazzmin says:

    I like Elton. but what does he call what he has been doing to Madonna for years? insulting her, calling her out every chance he gets? what about what his BF did when she won the Golden Globe? was that not a form of bullying?

    • gg says:

      Yeah, he needs to check himself because he’s coming off very bad in doing this to people. He’s gotten out of control.

  5. Neelyo says:

    ‘Elton is known as one of the meanest, most tantrum-prone bitches out there. He regularly hurls abuse at his perceived enemies, publicly and privately. So let’s not pretend that Elton is only a victim – he’s capable of bullying the hell out of people too.’


  6. suzzie says:

    So he tells other people to “snitch on them” but he won’t name names. There’s something so patronizing about that, as though others don’t have good reasons for keeping silent, just like he does.

    And the violence he mentioned isn’t bullying, it’s assault. Why down play it?

    I can’t stand this whole anti-bullying fad. It’s partially because they use “bullying” to mean everything under the sun, partially because everyone is jumping on the bandwagon since someone was unkind to them once, and partially because it’s so preachy and hopeless. Kids are going to be mean to each other sometimes, hopefully they’ll grow out of it. If they were talking about harsher penalties and mandatory therapy for violent minors, I’d listen.

  7. Jackie says:

    oh gimme a break. elton john has been bullying people for years.

    he has been mean and vicious towards madonna at every turn. i am no fan of madonna, but he has really gone after her in such a mean spirited way over the last few years.

    • Jayna says:

      So true. Years ago when she received best live act for her concert, he came on later in the show and railed on her in a disgusting manner making Kanye look like a pussycat. I have seen Madonna live and save a couple of songs with heavy dancing she is live because she is far from perfect but her stage show is phenomenal. He had to apologize later because people thought he was so disgusting on stage with his behavior.

  8. Bea says:

    I think the concept of bullying is that it is aimed at someone who is younger, weaker, or otherwise of a lower standing than the person doing it, and the person who is bullied is in an isolated position and can not defend themself. So one big mega star occasionally insulting another big mega star is not bullying, I would think.

    • kay says:

      It leans towards practicing what you preach though. he may not have been bullying madonna through the true definition, however, how he does treat people needs to be considered. It’s hard to swallow advice from someone who then turns around and uses similar tactics. If he truly wanted to make a difference, he would be a kinder person to everyone.
      I don’t read Perez Hilton anymore, but I do know he publicly stated he assumed responsibility for the part he took in hurting others on his website, and that by doing so he was contributing to the overall issue of bullying and hurting people. I hope he has stuck with his new improved sense of self.
      That’s what Elton needs to do. His message is lost to me when I see his own patterns of behaviour. A little self reflection for Elton (and his twitter happy partner) I think.

  9. gee says:

    I think a lot of bullies are bullied.

  10. Jayna says:

    Elton is a mean, nasty bitch for sure. Kind of sad to see a man I’n his sixties behave so badly. But I love him in concert.

  11. mln76 says:

    Let’s put this into perspective. Elton has been around since the 70′s and he was obviously a gay man (although he called himself bisexual) way before there was any kind of acceptance of that in our culture.
    It was also an era of drugs and ‘boys will be boys’ type pranks if one goes back and reads stories about what was going on in the rock scene back then it’s absolutely believable that Elton was in fact bullied back then.

    Does that excuse his current diva behavior no not at all but I am just saying I buy his story.

  12. jc126 says:

    Maybe Elton’s more recent history of = well, I can’t offhand think of him being a bully or an a-hole, and I think his bitchiness is often hilarious and appropriate (bullying a beyotch like Madonna? Funny!) – is a reaction to being bullied earlier in life, including in early adulthood.
    I know I used to try to appease certain a-holes in my life, like my sister, not realizing they were never interested in getting along, they just wanted to make me feel bad. After I told her to go f herself, things got way better. And I am much less likely to take crap now these days, having learned a lot. So maybe Elton has changed his reactions.

  13. Kim says:

    Please! Pot calling kettle. He is a total bully. Just look at his antics at this years Golden Globes when Madonna won over him. He is an immature bully.

  14. ldchappell says:

    I’m a big fan of Elton’s talent years, those being 1969 to 1986. Everything he’s done since ’87 is recycled crap. I don’t believe Elton John was ever bullied by anybody after the release of his first U.S. album. Him having such bitchy disposition may have perceived it that way, but I don’t believe anybody famous or otherwise would intentionally bully a man of his fame and stature.

  15. Francesca says:

    Based on his public bx, I think he’s the one that has been bullying people around the globe.