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EDITORIAL – TOXIC FANDOMS - Take Back Our Fandom – Part 2



Like most TV fans Saturday, I spent my day in front of the computer and on social media watching for information and panel interviews from star interviews attending Comic Con. I was hoping to learn information about my favorite shows and their upcoming seasons. What I got instead was a demonstration, once again of the toxicity of obsessive fandoms whose abhorrent behavior Saturday has led to me to write this second #TakeBackOurFandom editorial.

What I witnessed Saturday was beyond anything I have ever seen. It's one thing when groups of people committed to a similar cause or coupling on a show, "ships" if you will, attack and argue with fans who don't believe as they do. I've written here before how toxic that has become to fandoms in general. Time and again I've seen them drive other fans from social media by going after other fans who don't believe as they do. Some are even afraid to admit that they are a fan of a certain show, for fear of being attacked. It's another thing when that "ship", or fandom with a common agenda goes after stars, writers, producers or anyone associated with the show. That's crossing a line and on Saturday a certain ship and fan group, unfortunately known for their disruptive behavior, bullying tactics and general toxicity didn't just cross that line, they took a giant leap over it.

Now, let me be very clear, I am not going to discuss the specifics of what happened, what I am going to discuss is their behavior, which sadly, has become a pattern for this particular ship and fandom. Some of the stars of a show said something they did not like, something they believed anti to their beliefs or ship, something they apparently considered offensive to their cause or agenda. The more radical factions of these groups immediately turned into a vile, vicious mob and went on the attack. They literally began a barrage of harassment directed toward some of the stars. Again, it's one thing to feel passionate about a cause and defend it, this was something else entirely. And now it appears they are spreading their attacks to other cast members.

The attacks I saw take place were cruel, unnecessary and in some cases, dangerous. I repeat, it is fine to like a certain couple or want a certain couple to be together on a show; and it is fine to express your displeasure, in a polite manner, to a star or producer or show when they say or do something that either offends you or your ship or agenda. What is not acceptable is the type of behavior demonstrated by radical factions of that ship and fandom agenda Saturday and continuing on today.

The sheer viciousness of their attacks makes me wonder why any star, or anyone associated with any popular show on television these days, would choose to actively interact with fans on social media. Sadly, I've seen many stars, who loved social media, abandon it after coming under attack by a toxic fan group.

Do not get me wrong, there are many, many great fans, ships and fandoms out there that stars and show runners communicate with. The focus of this editorial is these radical, agenda driven factions, who, by their lack of common decent behavior, are giving fans in general a bad name, and their 15 minutes of fame are up!

And yes, I'm looking, in particular, at those shippers and agenda warriors that were involved in Saturday's events and continue through today to practice character and show assassination. These are the same groups who claim they want to be accepted, and to have representation. Yet, the more radical elements of this ship and fandom are the most intolerant, unaccepting, and bullying on social media today.

POT MEET KETTLE!

My strong suggestion to these groups and individuals engaging in these attacks is to step back to take a good look at themselves. And, they need to understand one very important fact – RESPECT and ACCEPTANCE is not demanded, it is earned. And your recent and current actions are doing nothing to further your cause.

I would respectfully suggest the ersatz leaders of these groups to take that message to heart and share it with their fellow believers.

This particular group's repugnant and reprehensible attacks on the stars of a show they claim to love, one star in particular whom they essentially bullied into apologizing and when the star did, it wasn't enough and they bullied more, has gone far beyond common decency.

Here is my general opinion of ships (and yes I have couples and storylines I ship, but there is a difference, in that my favorite story line or ship is not the only reason I watch a show). If you are only watching a show for your ship and your ship only, then it's time to turn the TV off.

Again, there is nothing wrong with wanting a certain couple together. And it is fine to like a storyline or agenda, if you will, of a show that supports something you believe in strongly. What is not fine is the behavior I am now seeing on social media.

When a ship or agenda becomes so important to your life that you are triggered into the type of behavior I saw Saturday by anything contrary to your beliefs it's crossed the line from a ship into an unhealthy obsession. And when that happens one of three things or all three things, need to happen, it's time to either a) seek professional psychological help; b) have their phones taken away from them by their parents; or c) realize that if a single statement in an interview triggers you so badly that you throw out all rules of civility and decency then it's time to put down the phone, put down the remote and step away from the show.

Sadly, the problem of toxic fandoms is not going away it's not even getting better, it's getting worse. That's why, here today that my proposal, for the sake of all our mental and emotional health is this- How about we just #SinkAllShips, and #JustBeFans? We can still praise a show or star when their performance is something we like, and politely say I didn't care for it or I was offended by it when they do something we don't. But, at no time, or in any scenario, is it ok to devolve into the vile, repugnant behavior displayed by certain factions of this particular ship and fandom during Comic-Con and the days since.

So, I say it's time to #SinkAllShips #TakeBackOurFandom and #JustBeFans.

***NOTE***Again the purpose of this editorial is NOT to discuss the specifics of the events, but the behavior involved. Please confine your comments to those areas, thank you.




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