Near the end of June, I made the mistake of commenting on Star Wars fandom stuff when I saw screenshots of some members of that subfandom gloating about John Boyega briefly losing his blue check/verified status on Twitter as well as kind of assuming the worst about his exit from Rebel Ridge – especially once people started kind of claiming that he was “difficult“. (Like fully going “perhaps he will have his MeToo moment and people will know that he’s truly garbage… like we have all along” in some tweets I glimpsed.)
Aside from the comment calling me a bootlicker of color (for making a thread about fandom nonsense from their camp and not immediately writing a Teen Vogue article about John Boyega, who I have no access to and still cannot reach for clarification or an interview), one comment that stood out to me called me a coward because I didn’t like… leap into the way of actual non-fandom white supremacists in defense of Rey/Kylo fandom. Again, a fandom full of people that hate me for pointing out their co-fans’ racism.
This was over a situation I didn’t even know about until it was underway and largely done with. And I have been sitting with it for a bit because it was so weird…
Multiple people that publicly rage vomit about how much they hate me, how they want me and my work wiped from the internet because they think I don’t like their ship because mine isn’t canon or whatever, somehow sat around and expected me to want to write something about their fandom dustup.
But why? What would that have done for either of us?
I got mercilessly harassed to the point of Rey/Kylo shippers leading the charge for my actual freelance writing career just for the article on criticism in fandom with the photo of Finn and Rey (February) and bonding with Kelly Marie Tran over the harassment we’ve faced from fandom (May). People from that fandom lied about what I said and did (including someone I’ve never interacted with claiming I harmed them as a child, let’s not forget that they lied about their age and our interactions and people just… accepted that) and joined up with my anti fans to validate trying to get me fired.
Like that person up there calling me a coward supported people calling me a whore because of what I write about their racist ass fandom… and still expected me to write something about them?
Imagine if I’d actually sat down, researched a situation between two massive sets of internet people I’m in partial or mutual blocks with, and wrote an article about it. Please imagine what would’ve happened if I’d been so nosy and self-assured.
Beyond the fact that I already know that I wouldn’t have been the best person to cover it because I have been harassed for years by these folks… I’d have had the shippers on my ass for it and calling me part of the problem (they do anyway, but this would’ve been a situation where they said my Black ass was friendly with white supremacists… that I’d already had blocked for years) and then… I would’ve had Nazis on my ass as well because it’d paint a big target on my back.
This would have been on top of the nice white women and their tokens of color who are already trying to get me fired, cost me employment, and destroy my reputation in the name of fandom. There’s been at least one false police report filed by that one person who really likes to harass Black pop culture writers on the internet. There are people involved in the fandom side of things that would probably try to physically harm me if we were doing in-person fannish events.
The Nice White Women & Queers and POC TOO in Rey/Kylo fandom are already behaving like the white supremacist dudebros they’re demanding I write about… Expecting me to do labor for a guarantee of more abuse is… ridiculous.
And yet the one rude ass comment I got said that I was a coward for not… putting myself at harm’s risk for people who have already attempted repeatedly to harm me?
Must be some fucking worms on the brain right there, that’s for sure.
I didn’t know about the stuff the Rey/Kylo fandom was going through until it was well underway. I still don’t actually know everything that happened because everyone involved has me blocked or I have them blocked (sometimes both).
And then once I learned about the situation, I thought that between The Nerdist and The Mary Sue – which have writers like Lindsey Romain (ARCHIVE PDF) and Jessica Mason who are so friendly to Rey/Kylo fandom that they gloss over and ignore the racism of the fandom spaces towards John Boyega, his Black fans, and Black pop culture writers like myself and Ashley Reese – they had it covered.
But I was still somehow expected to… pitch or write an article in defense of people who publicly call me gendered and racist slurs (not anywhere as mild as the non-slur PickMe, mind you) and have harassed me for years over their silly space wizards ship?
They wouldn’t have read or liked the piece I did manage to put together and I would’ve been accused of profiting off of their pain/trauma.
I think it speaks volumes to the racist entitlement of fandom (and the entitlement of white women/queerness in such) that people in a racist shipping fandom that has been trying to destroy my very real life for years could still sit around and call me names for not… fighting a fight they don’t even want me touching in the first place.
I may be a coward (I guess) but at least I don’t have entitled racist brain worms.