If you’re a person of color… Never
If you’re marginalized in some way – queer, a person of color, not a cis dude – you can expect to be subject to months or even years of online harassment from people who insist that you deserved it. Mind you, you will deserve this unending harassment solely because your presence on social media, in a given fandom, writing for any platform at all, or your appearance in a show they like angers them so much that they need to punish you for it.
People will doctor screenshots, lie about their online behavior and yours, forge evidence, and just… make shit up to punish us for being in “their” spaces or in “their” way.
In September, Teen Wolf will have been off the air for four years. In December, it will have been two years since the premiere of The Rise of Skywalker. The first episode of The Flash aired in 2014. May of this year marked three years since I left Tumblr for good and three months since I permanently locked my main Twitter account after the latest escalations from a multi-fandom disinfo and harassment campaign.
Tyler Posey, John Boyega, Candice Patton, and myself.
Years of harassment.
All for being inconvenient, for being in the way (of a ship), not playing ball, and speaking out about racism and other firms of harassment in the spaces they’re in.
Tyler Posey has been harassed by very loud, very aggressive portions of the Teen Wolf fandom – primarily Stiles Stilinski/Derek Hale shippers – but generally, just fans who stan Stiles or his actor Dylan O’Brian – from very early on in the show’s series.
Shortly after his mother passed away, Tyler received comments from people trying to urge him to kill himself and mourning that he didn’t give into his depression after her passing.
He is still being harassed years after the show ended.
Tyler has had his phone numbers released publicly repeatedly, his OnlyFans content shared without his consent across the internet (including by long-time anti fans like the BHAD Podcast runners), and, to this day, is harassed and told to kill himself for “queerbaiting” by people who miss the fact that he’s talked before about his sexuality being uh… not so straight. (He pretty much came out this Pride on IG in a story post.)
Here’s an article from NME that talks, in part, about the negative impact that this pervasive and violent harassment has had on his life.. and how it’s inspired him to try and help raise awareness for mental help and online harassment projects.
John Boyega has been harassed by pretty much every single faction of the Star Wars fandom from the moment he was cast.
Of course, I’ve spent time talking about how Rey/Kylo fans have made him the antagonist in their narrative, but… it isn’t just them.
They’re just the loudest right now and the fans who have turned to harassing me, but there’s no clean corner in that fandom outside of the people who came into this to stan Finn and John. But across six years of being in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, he has been subject to merciless antiblackness with zero defense or condemnation from Lucasfilm for what he has been going through from the different fandom factions for YEARS.
You can go through my masterpost for the Star Wars fandom here. There’s also coverage of the early harassment he went through, another article referencing it years later, and a recent article about how he’s being rebranded as “difficult“.
We’re on season seven of The Flash and Candice Patton is still subject to immense antiblack harassment that began the moment she was cast in the role. She receives threats, comparisons to gorillas, racial slurs, attempts at destroying her life and livelihood and endless harassment in large and small ways. She has spoken repeatedly about the harm that she has experienced from anti-fans of her character and how it has shaped the way she works.
She’s been harassed for seven years straight. Mostly from fans who think she’s not a comics accurate Iris or that want to see Barry with someone white, like Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow. Seven years of this and it shows no actual sign of stopping.
And of course, I have documented the harassment I’ve gotten for at least the past four years.
Leaving platforms like Tumblr, locking my main Twitter, and changing the way I am able to interact with my fandoms has not changed the way that I am treated?
There are people who’ve been harassing me from 2015 when I started being visible as someone who writes about racism in fandom and who will never stop harassing me because fandom tells them they’re defending “their” spaces from an outsider and so anything goes. I have been called ableist and misogynistic slurs, had my sexuality and gender identity diminished, been misgendered, been subject to dehumanizing and racist language, continue to have people claim I was an abuser, and have had people openly threaten to destroy me/my reputation.
All for writing about racism in a way that doesn’t coddle racists. That’s it.
See: Let’s Talk About Tone Policing and (A Lack of) Reading Comprehension In Conversations About Racism In Fandom | What A May… What a May… | What Fandom Racism Looks Like: No Safe Space/”Curate Your Space” | What It’s Like Being Fandom Critical While Black | Reylo fans attempt to get black writer fired from Teen Vogue
Time keeps passing by and yet, the harassment marginalized people get on the internet get for years… never dies down.
At what point will we be able to exist on the internet without people trying to punish us for something they decided we did (Tyler “queerbaiting” while being kinda queer, John’s comments about his own perception of weakness being taken as him hating Kelly Marie Tran, Candice… existing, and me writing about racism in fandom in a way that’s not “nice”)?
At what point will people’s “anti harassment” stance in fandom shift to include supposedly inconvenient people of color – like the actor “in the way” of a ship or the fan of color writing about racism – who are being harassed by people in fandom?
At what point will fans realize that a lot of the vibrating chihuahua rage that they think is a reasonable response to a person of color they dislike… is actually racism?
If you’re holding on to or making up something about someone years later, you do not have a healthy response to them. And when people of color are the constant, easy targets for long-term ongoing fandom harassment even in supposedly progressive (queer & feminist) fandom spaces…
These spaces really need to work on cutting out their racism and making it clear that it’s unwanted and will be punished in some way. Because right now, nothing is stopping people in fandom from spending the better part of a decade harassing Black and brown people in fandom or responsible for creating an aspect of it… Because we’re in the way of what they really want and worship: whiteness.
I’d like to get to a point in fandom where the long-term harassment of fans and performers of color wasn’t accepted within and from fandom. It’s exhausting to realize how aggressively hated people who look like you are and how… not enough people care because they’re told we deserve and that by commenting on things that bother us (like on our own, not even to people) we are “antis” in fandom and deserve the worst possible treatment.
I’m tired of it and I know we deserve better.
6 thoughts on “When Does Online Harassment From Fandom Stop?”
Wow, you’re on a roll! I just got the email notifications and read your two new articles- very well put and thoughtful! I loved them.
Thank you so much for reading my stuff!! And for the compliment!! July has been SO busy and I appreciate that awesome folks like you are reading my stuff!! 😀
[…] When Does Online Harassment From Fandom Stop? […]
Well, at least you’re on excellent and beautiful company. I love Candace and Kelly Marie. ANITA Sarkeesian has had ongoing harassment for going on 7 years now, since she only announced she’d be critiquing video games. And you’re also in the wonderful company of people like Ana Diop, and Leslie Jones.
Leaving aside, of course, that you shouldn’t have to be in their company, nor should there be a company to be a part of…
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You’re right, you don’t deserve it. It’s crap.
It’s so frustrating like I’ve already gotten TWO harassing comments on this post alone (that of course don’t acknowledge that i’m a victim of harassment but zero in on the Tyler Posey thing and attempt to debunk it via lies while insulting me) and like… you’d think I personally was telling people that I hated them because of what they ship/enjoy in fandom… But I’m not!