“Don't Believe the Hype”
Season 2, Episode 11
December 1, 2002
December 23, 2002
James Hurst (story)
Hazel decides to avoid telling everyone she is Muslim on "International Day", so when she takes bullying to the extreme towards another Muslim, she gets blamed for ruining her project. Meanwhile, J.T. doesn't want to be the next male Martha Stewart, so he sews and Liberty gets the credit, but Liberty can't take it anymore and honesty gets the best of her.
International Day is hitting Degrassi's 9th graders by storm, especially Hazel who has no clue what to do for a presentation on her heritage. Secretly, Hazel is Muslim, but doesn't "look Muslim" and is "in the closet," so to speak, about her family history. Another Muslim girl, Fareeza, who wears the headdress, also known as the hijab or head scarf, is bullied by Hazel, but she seems to know Hazel's secret. So, to fix her International Day problem, Hazel pretends to be Jamaican. International Day goes on like a hit until someone vandalizes Fareeza's project, spray-painting "TERRORIST" all over her visual aids and destroying some of the other things. Hazel is one of the first "suspects," as she was one of her bullies. Hazel denies any part in the hate crime, and she is exonerated when it is found out a few 10th graders did it.
Later, Hazel talks to her about the issue and confirms she is Muslim as well and that she was beat up once and called "terrorist". Hazel offers to help her redo the project. The next morning, Hazel then presents her real International Day family history to the homeroom with no shame or fear.
Meanwhile, in home economics, J.T. is a born sewer since his mother is a seamstress. J.T. hates the fact of "like mother, like son." But to avoid being made fun of by the guys for being a male version of "Martha Stewart", he gives his excellent sewing to Liberty in exchange for her horrendous sewing. Until one day J.T. sews Liberty a skirt for a school project and their teacher is applauding Liberty and she tells the class that J.T. made it. Mad at first, J.T. is embarrassed about his sewing job and is made fun of by Toby and Sean, until all the girls ask him to make them skirts and offer payments for them. Toby and Sean become jealous.
- This episode is named after the song "Don't Believe The Hype" by Public Enemy.
- This is one of three episodes which centered on a supporting character as Hazel did not join the main cast until Season 3. The other two were the Season 2 episode Careless Whisper (which centered on Marco Del Rossi and Ellie Nash, both of whom also joined the main cast in Season 3) and the Season 7 episode Ladies' Night (which centered on Anya MacPherson, who joined the main cast in Season 8).
- This was the first time that Hazel told any of her friends and classmates that she was a Muslim.
- This episode was directed by the former Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High cast member Anais Granofsky, who portrayed Lucy Fernandez.
- J.T. is revealed to have excellent sewing skills.
Regular Cast (Ordered alphabetically)
- Sarah Barrable-Tishauer as Liberty Van Zandt
- Stefan Brogren as Archie Simpson
- Daniel Clark as Sean Cameron
- Lauren Collins as Paige Michalchuk
- Ryan Cooley as J.T. Yorke
- Jake Epstein as Craig Manning
- Jake Goldsbie as Toby Isaacs
- Aubrey Graham as Jimmy Brooks
- Shane Kippel as Spinner Mason
- Miriam McDonald as Emma Nelson
- Melissa McIntyre as Ashley Kerwin
- Christina Schmidt as Terri MacGregor
- Cassie Steele as Manny Santos
- Dan Woods as Daniel Raditch
- Ardon Best as Wayne
- Roger Dunn as Mr. Morton
- Michael Kinney as Darryl Armstrong
- Katie Lai as Kendra Mason
- Andrea Lewis as Hazel Aden
- Linlyn Lue as Laura Kwan
- Jacqueline Rose as Fareeza
- Mony Yassir as Nadia Yamir