Lilian Min
March 03, 2015 5:22 pm

Social media-based fandom is a very, very tricky thing. Yes, joining and participating in a fan community can make you feel like you’ve found a totally safe space on the Internet, but what happens when that hive mind turns on you? None other than Taylor Swift is learning all about the dark side of online fandom, to the point that she’s hinted that she might be having second thoughts about her Tumblr account.

Swift’s Tumblr, which has been up and running for less than a year, is totally unlike any other pop star’s Tumblr — she messages, posts, reblogs, and writes directly to fans, and totally gets memes. However, there’s some serious drama going down in the Swiftie fandom, all started by this photo:

Last week at the Brit Awards, she took an Instagram photo with a fan on the red carpet. The fan, a young Brit named Johnnie, is active on both Instagram (privately) and on Tumblr (publicly). And, unbeknownst to everyone outside of the Swiftie fan community, he’s at the center of some fandom controversy, which all came together in the form of a disturbing hashtag, as well as some comments from none other than Swift herself.

How did this all happen? According to other members of the social media-savvy Swiftie fandom, Johnnie has online bullied other Swift fans in the past, with multiple users posting screenshots of comments and reposts he’s made. The conversation turned ugly when the hashtag #SwiftiesWantTaylorSwiftDead, which is currently mostly populated by people angry about or amused by the hashtag, was reportedly attributed to the whole Johnnie backlash. Unsurprisingly, Taylor herself must’ve learned about all of the controversy coming up from what, at its core, was an innocent fan interaction.

Fans began to notice that Taylor’s Tumblr was liking posts defending her decision to not comment publicly on the situation, as well as those suggesting that she’d be taking a break from Tumblr until the the fandom cooled down. (All of Tay’s Tumblr likes can be found here.) Additionally, a recent Instagram by Taylor appears to be a subpost (the “all social media networks” included version of “subtweet“) on the entire controversy:

For his part, Johnnie has since apologized for and written his version of events in a Tumblr post, writing, “There is no way Taylor supports bullying or does she not like the victim, she just wants all this beef to stop.” While that hasn’t seemed to settle the discussion, with many fan accounts still getting hateful anonymous Tumblr messages, we hope that all this drama doesn’t end with one of the most fan-friendly celebs in the world shutting herself off from her fan community. As for everyone else involved in this, perhaps now would be a good time to take a break from social media for a while?

(Image via here.)

Advertisement