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Fandom Witch Hunt and the Silence of Celebrities

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

This title might sound like a crossover parody of two horror movies, but there is nothing funny about the culture of bullying present in many of today’s fandoms. Social media makes it incredibly easy to bombard others with hateful messages without having to face any consequences, which only feeds into the perpetuation of online bullying. 


Beyoncé drops Lemonade. The world goes wild, but they have a question: who’s Becky with the good hair? 


In a true fandom fashion, instead of letting Bey, Jay, and this Becky sort it out themselves, the Beehive decided to take matters into their own hands. Not only did they make an assumption of who this “Becky” was, they proceeded to confront their suspect; American fashion designer, Rachel Roy, and harassed her on Twitter to the point where she was forced to speak up on her own defence. 



Becky or not, Rachel is right, bullying is not acceptable in any case. The fandom might believe that they are rightfully defending Beyoncé’s honour and that this is an appropriate display of loyalty. After all, Bey herself has not spoken up against it or stood up for any of the women unrightfully bullied on social media for possibly being Becky. The question isshouldn’t she, as a self-proclaimed feminist take some sort of action to stop her considerably large fanbase from harassing other women? Who is to tell them that this is unacceptable, if the “Queen” B herself remains silent? 


The issue is that even if the fandom found the right Becky, using your army of fans against someone does not seem fair. Fans of any public figure are eager to act in a certain way, in order to gain approval from their favourites. Sometimes this might be positive, people donate to charities and stand up against serious societal issues, but more often than not, people believe it’s their role to turn into personal warriors and defend the celeb’s honour. Ideally, the celeb then goes on the record to say that everything is fine and dandy and there’s no need to send hate to anyone. Or, as seen above, they don’t and the weaker person is left to fend for themselves. Sadly, many times it’s because fandom wars generate public interest; articles are written, news is reported, and any publicity is good publicity. It’s also strategically brilliant for the big names to let their “minions” fight their battles, because if it turns nasty and everyone knows it inevitably will, everything can be blamed on the obsessive fans. The same fans who make sure their favourites top the charts, sell out arenas and fill cinemas with people eager to see their work. 


Sometimes, fan beliefs cause rifts in the fandom itself, which then instead of a positive space based on loving and supporting someone in unity, turns into a battlefield. Death threats are thrown around very lightly and people are called names. No innocent person deserves to be called horrible things. 

In an ideal world, all it would take is for the celebrity to candidly speak up about the issue and actively discourage it. However, we don’t live in this world and the celebs themselves are often just puppets in the hands of an intricate PR game, which doesn’t care about the fans beyond their profitability. After all, engaged fans are good fans. 


Fourth year Business management & Psychology student, shameless One Direction fan and a fashion enthusiast.
Laura Rennie is currently a fifth year Diploma in Legal Practice student at the University of Aberdeen. After four years studying in the Granite City she couldn't quite drag herself away from it so decided to stick around for one more year. Previously a features writer and secretary of Her Campus Aberdeen when it was founded, she is now very excited to be captaining the little pink ship this year. She loves cups of tea, fairy lights, musicals, trashy TV and is a blogger and member of Her Campus Blogger Network in her spare time.