I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the situation is all over Twitter at the moment. Unfortunately two people, specifically Pro Shippers, committed su*c*de due to harassment… One of them was a 15 year old. A third person was doxxed and lost their job.
The opinions in the Anti Shipper parts of Twitter vary from feeling guilty, sorry and angry, to celebrations and saying if a Pro Shipper kills themselves, they deserve it.
I want to stay out of the discourse, but I want to say that this isn’t the first time this happened, and it will continue to happen as long as people give more value to fictional characters than to real people. Someone’s death, specifically a su*c*de of young people, is no reason to celebrate. At all.
That’s all I’m going to say. I wish the families of the victims the best. Please, remember that cyberbullying is a very real form of abuse, and you can get help. You deserve help.
I know the full situation of the person who got doxxed. They are a storyboard artist who was slandered for cartoon porn they drew.
Holly Meadow Disch (known best for her webcomic “Lemon Head and Lollipup”) released this person’s personal information, even contacting their family and friends on Facebook, with false allegations of this person being a child predator. Their “proof” was cartoon porn. Holly had abused this victim previously, and had even attempted to groom said victim when they were younger. Holly also spammed people on twitter with their “proof,” sending the porn to seemingly random strangers from a burner account in an attempt to ruin the victim’s reputation (making many people uncomfortable in the process).
Jay Goldstein was the other doxxer involved. This person made a huge callout thread on Twitter, spreading the same false allegations. This resulted in the victim NOT getting fired, as they are not currently working. However, their slander DID result in the artist getting blacklisted from certain companies in the animation industry.
All of this three weeks after this person, who is disabled and already has a difficult time finding work, had lost their previous job after being raped.
Three weeks ago.
These people are trying to kill a disabled victim of recent rape.
Spread their names, and make sure the entire industry knows that Jay Goldstein and Holly Meadow Disch are abusive people who will try to KILL those they see as competition.
Holy shit really????? What the actual fuck.
Unfortunately for my followers. I have thoughts.
What I know about the situation with the 15 year old who may have killed herself is that she wrote a shock horror story – intended to be as extreme as possible, according to her final Instagram message – with sexual content for the Minecraft Youtuber fandom, so it was RPF, and I believe one of the people featured in the fic found out about it and tweeted that it upset them. This definitely contributed to an enormous brigade against her. From her perspective, her community wanted her dead (and I can only imagine how reliant teens are on their online communities especially now of all times, coming up on a year of pandemic), and she may have taken that to heart – I don’t have proof she’s dead but people have been very worried about her for days and there’s no sign she’s still with us.
The author’s final post stated that she didn’t want anyone defending her, because she came to believe that what she’d done was unforgivable. IMO what she did was not at all an unforgivable sin especially since MCYTers make money and get clout off encouraging their fanbases to see them as fictional characters. I hate the thought that she died believing herself to be a horrible person for this. But if she herself regretted this fic, I’ll consider that while making my point here.
If she was going to eventually regret it, she should have been allowed to live long enough to regret it on her own terms without being damaged by this experience of infamy!
The fact that this kid was harassed to the point of taking her own life demonstrates a complete failure of the fiction purity system to protect people. Over and over I’ve seen people claim moral superiority because they’re protecting “minors” or “victims/survivors” or “the marginalized”, but it’s all extremely hypothetical, while they’re taking absolutely no responsibility for the normalization of online abuse.
Even if you think some fictional content can cause harm, you have to find a way to mitigate that harm without this exponential cost, and if you can’t do that you haven’t got any right to appoint yourself a moral gatekeeper. If someone in fandom does something that ~grosses people out~ they’re automatically at high risk of being abused. Is that okay?
Maybe instead of going after content creators we could literally just promote the distancing of fiction from reality so that people are less likely to “absorb problematic messages” but are still allowed to creatively express themselves, cope with traumas, explore taboo ideas, and so forth. The appropriate, sensible boundary to set is right fucking there – it’s the boundary between real life and stuff that isn’t real, that people make up, damn it! – but the issue keeps getting obfuscated by people who want to purge all Gross Content from fan spaces.
In my own life I personally went from believing “yes some fan content is objectionable (because it grosses me out)” to “it’s deeply unsafe to make so many exceptions for abuse and harassment online, over fiction”. Plus, I have always had my own hard limits for what feels “too wrong” to me and stuff that I do think is just fine and okay to depict in media falls under some people’s “hard no’s”. That’s to be expected, people all have different foibles and I don’t think we can use personal foibles to determine what’s actually right or wrong.
Friendly reminder that fiction depicts non-sexual harm all the time so if your argument is that “the sex in the fiction is harmful” let me show you the bazillion stories where people are murdered, which is a very harmful thing!
But consider this: if you are, for instance, afraid of the psychological scars that sexual abuse will leave on minors in fandom – which is a fair thing to be concerned about – let me fucking tell you that non-sexual abuse leaves scars too. It can ruin people, it can take lives.
There’s so many stories besides the ones OP has mentioned of people being traumatized by fan brigades, or even just having peer groups bully or shun them. A lot of those people are minors, marginalized, otherwise vulnerable in some way. All of them are human beings of course, who deserve some basic decency, and if they’ve actually hurt real people then they deserve restorative justice.
I really can’t believe we have to sit here and listen to antis blab on and on about how terrible it is to normalize abuse while literally doing exactly that.
Normalized abuse in fandom has gotten people killed.
If anyone is wondering why I am fire-breathing cunt about this shit, this is why. Don’t give me the whole “anti-shippers are just kids who haven’t grown up yet”– a teenager KNOWS right from wrong, and they know exactly what they’re doing. And adults pulling this shit deserve to be lose their jobs even more so than those they doxx.