Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has revealed he was determined to meet schoolyard bully victim Casey Heynes after seeing the viral video of his ordeal.
Casey gained worldwide fame after a mobile phone video published online showed him body-slamming his tormentor.
Bieber told A Current Affair tonight: “When I first saw it on TMZ I thought, this is crazy, like I couldn’t believe it, it’s amazing.
“It shows everybody else that you have to stand up for yourself and you can’t just take it.
“The first thing you should do is go tell someone, but then you might have to hit back, sometimes you have to so I think that was important for you, especially in that situation.
“I’m proud of you — and so many other people are.”
Bieber, in the middle of his Australian tour, invited the 16-year-old Sydney schoolboy along to his concert last night at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
Prior to the show, Bieber asked Casey how he was feeling when he was being attacked in the school yard, before telling him he too had been the victim of bullying.
Bieber said: “I always played sports and stuff and a lot of the times I would be really good at something — so everybody didn’t like me because I was good at it, so they would make fun of me.”
The singer then invited Casey on stage, telling the screaming audience he wanted to touch on the serious subject of bullying, before adding: “I just want to say that he’s very inspirational.
“He shows other people to stand up for what they believe in.”
Ahead of the tour Bieber had sought out Woman’s Day editor Fiona Connolly in the hope she could put him in touch with Casey.
“This is highly unusual. You just don’t see celebrities giving this kind of treatment to a regular kind of fan any day,” she told A Current Affair.
Bieber, hours after meeting Casey, described the schoolboy as a “hero” to more than 9 million Twitter followers.
“This is Casey the punisher… a kid who stood up for himself against bullying. a real life hero,” he tweeted, posting a link to a news article about the Year 10 pupil.
He followed up with a second tweet containing a link to the infamous body slam video: “for those of you who don’t know…you should watch this…”