The White House Is Using Bears to Make a Point About Sexual Assault

The Obama administration teamed up with a comedy site to spread awareness of the issue.

You know the old saying, “bears will be bears”? Probably not.

In a new PSA from the White House and comedy website CollegeHumor—“What If Bears Killed One in Five People?”—bear attacks stand in for sexual assault. The goal is to get people to take the problem of sexual assault—of which 1 in 5 women are a victim while they’re in college—more seriously.

Set in what looks like actor Jake Johnson’s man cave, the two-minute video, released Thursday, features a menacing bear trapped in another room, ready to bust out and maul his friends (actors Rob Riggle, Lamorne Morris, David Walton, and Steven Berg). Most of the guys, appropriately, freak out. But Johnson remains calm: “It’s not gonna eat all of us,” he assures them. “It only eats, like, 1 in 5.”

It’s part of the administration’s “It’s On Us” initiative, a campaign to spread awareness of the problem of sexual assault and encourage people to take action to prevent it, and it kicks off a “week of action” starting Sunday on college campuses around the country. (Vice President Joe Biden will travel to three of the campuses next week.)

If it were bears, said CollegeHumor’s Spencer Griffin on a White House press call Thursday, “it would seem like a group of guys would do something about that.” The threat of sexual assault is similarly “terrifying.”

In the video, Johnson and his friends satirize men who ignore sexual assault.

“Why aren’t you doing something about this, man?,” a frightened Riggle asks Johnson.

“Hey, what do you want me to do about it?” Johnson retorts. “You know the old saying, ‘bears will be bears.’”

Communities—not just victims—need to be responsible for preventing sexual assault on campus, Johnson told reporters on the call. And it’s time to get rid of the bro “code” that keeps guys from reporting it.

“When I heard it was 1 in 5 college students, that sickened me,” he said. “I knew sexual assault on college campuses was a problem, I honestly didn’t know it was this big of a problem.”