A media site (TVLine) recently tweeted out a post promoting an article it wrote promoting an upcoming press campaign event (DC Fandome). For this tweet, that is meant to promote an event highlighting the slate of future projects across various media (film, television, video games, etc.) for a major corporation (DC), they used a four year old photo of a, at best divisive but really outright hated by the active majority of the fanbase and entertainment media. This tweet immediately got the negative “golden ratio” (more retweets, quote tweets, and comments than likes which in basic social media understanding is never a good thing) within minutes of posting, and, in response, the site removed the post, replaced the photo with a recently released press teaser image of a currently running show with more popular characters, and reposted it without changing any other aspect of the post or article. The new post got much better engagement and is one of their most liked posts in the last few days. A handful of people seemed to take offense to this for some reason.
I say a handful because the ones complaining about the change to the tweet were far outnumbered and drowned out by the ones celebrating the move by the entertainment news site. The naysayers were making claims about toxicity, whining, and other such nonsense in response to this decision, but, to this, I have to ask: what are those idiots talking about? Genuinely, I am confused by this discussion and discourse. An entertainment site made a public relations advertisement post that was poorly, if not outright negatively, received and altered the advertisement based on that reaction. That is literally the job of the site and its employees. It would be the equivalent of sending back a meal at a restaurant because I was served chicken after ordering steak. Yeah, the cook may be really proud of their chicken and the guests at another table may really have wanted that chicken, but I didn’t order it, so back it goes.
To be clear, there were no threats made against the site or author. There were no threats made to the actor who portrays the much hated character. There was no manipulation of any kind. All there was was a large number of people complaining about a product. Guess what? Complaints are not threats. Complaints are not manipulation. Complaints are not consequences. And frankly, this is the way the system should work. A company or entity does something that the majority finds disagreeable, so they change it. There was no violation of privacy, civil rights, sexuality, etc. It was simply the majority not liking the promotion of a disliked and much chagrined character, and the site responding to that criticism.
What is actually concerting is how many, even if they were ultimately only a handful, people were trying to defend an entertainment news site and random character/actor, even though the actor wasn’t mentioned or discussed in the post or thread. Unsurprisingly, the majority of those defending the cis, white dude actor were mostly other cis, white people who a lot off, oddly, had their own entertainment media blogs (or were at least attempting to launch some equivalent). Still, it encapsulates the disturbing parasocial relationships people form artists and corporations in the modern digital age. People are now offended not by actual attacks but by the simple act of others disliking the talents or actions of an artist on behalf of that person or site. Obviously, people should not be threatened, stalked, or attacked (except for specific cases of causing actual criminal harm to another’s physical or mental well being then a discussion should be had), but criticism, especially rightful criticism, is none of those things. Sorry that people don’t like the artist, art, or media you do, but that’s how life goes. And if the person you like mostly because you find them attractive has a history of questionable, if not outright harmful or dismissive, actions and words with seemingly no growth or retrospection, then maybe that says far more about you than the people who do not like them.