It's On Us, the White House initiative to fight sexual assault on college campuses, has partnered with College Humor to take an unusual approach to its new awareness campaign. It's asking, "If a bear was attacking one in five of your friends, you'd do something to stop it, right?"
This PSA takes the well-known statistic that one in five women will be sexually assaulted by the time she finishes college and applies it five dudes hanging out in a friend's man cave. Rather than one in five of these guys being at risk for assault, the spot goes into absurd territory by adding a hungry animal that puts the men at risk for death-by-bear.
New Girl co-stars Jake Johnson and Lamorne Morris star alongside Rob Riggle and David Walton in the campaign. Johnson's character plays a bystander who is aware of the bear lurking in the other room but doesn't know what to do about it, so he pretends it doesn't exist. His character spews silly phrases about the lurking bear, echoing conversations about sexual assault, from "just pretend it's not there," to "I don't know what to do about it so I just ignore it." Johnson even plays on the tired phrase "boys will be boys," saying instead "bears will be bears."
The dialogue and the entire premise of the PSA is ridiculous, but it helps put the one in five statistic into perspective. If a bear mauled one in five of your friends, you'd clearly take issue with it. So why not take a stance when so many of your female classmates are at risk?
The humor in the spot also brings new life to the category of sexual assault PSAs, which in the past featured high-profile celebrities pleading with viewers to take a stand.
College Humor timed the release of this PSA to the It's On Us Week of Action, which is taking place at universities across the nation. The campaign encourages viewers to sign the It's On Us pledge, which encourages men and women not to be bystanders and to step in if they think a classmate is in danger.