I want to talk about fandom drama, which is always going on, in one fandom or another. Almost all of it starts and happens on Twitter, with some of it spreading over to Tumblr too (although as a Tumblr user, we try to ignore it all and keep Tumblr as the happy place).
Anyway, last week there was lots of drama started by a tweet made by One Direction’s Liam Payne. He tweeted someone from the American TV show Duck Dynasty saying that he likes the show and supports their family values, which if you don’t know the show, it is known for being incredibly homophobic. So this obviously got a lot of attention from journalists and bloggers taking the angle that Liam was supporting homophobia. (In his defense, Liam later tweeted ‘Being a fan of someones show and the way they still hold a family together doesnt mean i am ok with all they say.’)
At the time Liam’s sister Ruth tweeted saying that she spoke to Liam after he made the tweet and he said he didn’t realise what he had tweeted as he has only watched the show once and didn’t realise homophobia was a reoccurring theme. it was too late for him to do anything though as when you have over 15 million followers, once a tweet is posted, it can’t be taken back.
In response to the original tweet, Tyler Oakley, a popular YouTuber and One Direction fan who is known for being homosexual, tweeted simply saying that he was confused by the meaning of Liam’s tweet and disappointed if it’s true. As someone who is famous on the internet and would obviously have a lot of Twitter followers this meant a lot of people saw his tweet, including Directioners and Liam.
Now I’m confused at the next bit because Liam then tweeted Tyler back saying that Tyler wasn’t a real fan…? Not sure why he said this but because of it Tyler got lots of hate from Directioners accusing him of not being a true fan and some even sending him death threats. Shortly after this he took a break from the internet, which isn’t surprising as he was receiving so much hate.
A handful of Directioners turned on someone who they might have once been a fan of just because of a tweet Liam sent. The way that Directioners succumb to anything One Direction say or do can be scary. They have so much power and can exercise it with just one tweet.
I am a One Direction fan but I would be embarrassed to call myself a Directioner because of the extreme actions made by some. And even though I am a One Direction fan I do not agree with everything they say. I don’t agree with Liam accusing Tyler of not being a real fan and I certainly do not agree with him if he was being homophobic, even though I prefer 1D over YouTubers. Directioners need to know when to draw the line of support. As Liam tweeted ‘Being a fan of someones show…doesnt mean i am ok with all they say.’ The same rule applies here, just because you are a fan of a boy band doesn’t mean you should be OK with all they say. In this situation, no I wasn’t on Liam’s side and if any Directioners read this then they’d probably send me hate but they need to understand that they can think for themselves and have their own opinions and not just take on the opinions of their favourite band.
Liam then went on a Twitter rant about how the media report stories about him which shouldn’t make news (true) but then said the tweets were aimed at journalists and bloggers…not sure why he started attacking bloggers when all Tyler had said was that he hoped it wasn’t what it sounded like; Tyler didn’t call him homophobic or anything so I think Liam’s reaction to this was wrong. Even after all this hate and Liam’s reaction to his tweet, Tyler still said that he is a fan of the music anyway, which in my opinion makes him the bigger person here.
I am shocked that none of the other YouTubers have commented on this. I’m not surprised the other members of One Direction haven’t commented but I would have thought the other YouTubers would have tweeted some support to Tyler or even just their opinion on the while thing!
Anyway, my point is that fandoms can be crazy and there are some extreme fans who go too far and are quite intense. Yes if you are a fan, your automatic response is to support your idol but you have to know when they are in the wrong. In this instance Liam was wrong; even if he didn’t mean to sound homophobic, his reaction was unnecessary and made him look like kind of a jerk…
I am still a One Direction fan and I don’t think Liam meant what it sounded like but I do feel sorry for Tyler Oakley who didn’t deserve the hate he got.