Kevin Smith's PSA to Trolls: Is Fan Vitriol Out of Control?

While primitive behavior rears its ugly head on social media every day, it got an extended [...]

Fan Vitriol

While primitive behavior rears its ugly head on social media every day, it got an extended spotlight due to some recent comments made toward Director Kevin Smith's daughter, Harley Quinn Smith.

In reaction to a seemingly innocuous Instagram post, a user posted some rather nasty comments for reasons unknown, possibly because their "What pisses me off and why" forum thread was down for maintenance. There was no reason to spout such hateful language, but the habit has become so prevalent nowadays that we're starting to get immune to it, and that's not acceptable.

Being a fan of something doesn't constitute a license to endlessly criticize it, nor does it justify anger and vitriol every time a decision is made that is opposite of your current preference. I say current because with all forms of media, people's taste change over time, but in many ways, properties we love aren't allowed to. They're not allowed to experiment or change in any way we don't deem fit, and when they do change there are some who turn that disbelief into venom and direct it at the next person or product to grace their screen.

You don't have to be a fan of Harley Quinn Smith's performance in Yoga Hosiers, and I'm not up here saying it's a great film, but that isn't why she was called out. She was called out for merely existing really, and having the nerve to be Kevin Smith's daughter, and those are not valid reasons to go after anyone, regardless of what you thought of their film and why.

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Whether it's an all female cast in Ghostbusters, Captain America being a Hydra Agent, or Steven Universe hinting at a new relationship, the reactions have been so extreme to relatively benign things that it begs the question how people will react if there is something truly wrong. It's worrying frankly, and a sign that perhaps the fan entitlement bus should slow down a little.

No one owes you just because you are the biggest Captain America fan. I might not love the direction that DC has taken a particular character, and I am more than free to say I dislike it. What I am not allowed to do is attack the creator/writer/artist on "insert favorite social media platform here" with racist slurs and comments of "I wish you would die." One does not beget the other.

These types of things shouldn't have to be said, but time and time again these unfortunate aspects of fan communities come charging out, casting a bad shadow on everyone else. Smith concluded his lengthy take on the ordeal with a statement that I couldn't have said better myself.

"Because if you're not being useful in this world you're being useless. Don't be useless: go make stuff that makes people happy!"