ADULTS BULLYING ADULTS

A HIDDEN DARK TRUTH IN THE FAN COMMUNITIES

TEARS OF SADNESS BY JENNIFER SCHRINEL

There are many documentaries and books on child and teenage bullying. We make self-help groups to help children and teens deal with this. But for some odd reason we choose to ignore Adult bullies. The worst adult bullies are online in the fan communities and message boards. It should be a fun hobby to talk with other people on groups and messages boards about your favorite stars, singers and such. But there is a not so pretty side to it all this. When I first got online I was invited through the mail to join a fan club for one of The Monkees. I was in my early twenties and really had no experience online. The internet was a new medium when I was in High School, the service was in its infancy by the time of my young adult years when I peeked some interest into surfing the internet. What I knew so far about the internet is that it was a big encyclopedia to me and I could look up anything I was interested in and read as much as I wanted without having to go to the library. This was heaven to a book worm like me. So upon discovering through buying a cd of my favorite singer at the time that for only twenty-six bucks I could join an online fan message board and get some goodies in the mail for being a member. This was exciting!

Upon joining this group I began exploring what this group was like. The different sections for the celebs band members. Eventually after chatting with others for some time I decided I wanted to try to get the musician booked in my town. So upon given an idea from the owner of the group I sent out flyers to venues in the neighborhood and low and behold one booked the man and his group. I had a blast at the show. I was so excited and decided to tell about it on the group. What should have been fun turned into a negative topic fast as the jealously began to rear its ugly green head. I got sneers and big deal, name calling and all out rudeness, and before it was over and angry e-mail saying I was banned from the group. Say what? I paid to be part of this group. You think this was over nope. I got tossed from the second fan group of this fan dome, which I had no idea was run by the first one I was in. Upon getting kicked out before I could even post a comment. I started getting e-mails not only from the members, but the owner of the groups as well. These e-mails were insulting, judgmental, and degrading. I was slammed with them, not to mention these same people created multiple free e-mail accounts and no matter how many times you block them, they create another e-mail account and keep going at you. They do the same when you have your own group or message board. They use the multiple accounts to continue to rejoin your group so they can create utter KAOS. With my Monkees group I started, every morning I would sign in to check and first thing in the morning there would be something ugly written about me and all through the day it would continue along with repeated arguments started by this mystery accounts and you never knew who they were and every time you blocked one another one would start up.

It gets even worse I had a web page blog made on me I still do not remember what all was said about me, other than they listed a bunch of e-mail addresses claiming they were all me. Why is it that if you do not know who someone is and you decide that everyone that does not agree with you all have to be the same person? We only have fifty billion people in this world using the internet you know. Yet were all the same person. Go figure. At any rate I shed a few tears and was able to have the page taken down by the server, the only time I was successful. The bullying was also taken into other heights like using my e-mail address to send spam to others or putting my e-mail address on every advertising list they can find online. Reporting e-mail accounts to a server or a group owner is not an option. For some reason e-mails servers make a hundred and one excuses not to help a person being bullied, “we don’t see how it violates our rules”, “we won’t do anything unless the authorities get involved” , I have gotten them all when reporting bullies. “If we do not agree with your report we will get rid of your account.” So who is going to turn someone in for bullying them with a threat like that? Yet the career bully somehow has the e-mail servers wrapped around their little fingers and is able to get them to cancel victims accounts over and over again for nothing. I had at least three of my e-mails cancelled in this manner until I finally started one in another name to keep running my group. When I eventually moved my Monkees group over to Facebook, I was able to use my real name again and it took me awhile to get used to it. I had been called by another name so long it was weird for me to have The Monkees fans call me by my real name, but I soon got used to it. You cannot go to the owner or group moderator to complain when they are the ones that are also involved in it or who are turning their group against you. The abuse just gets worse and worse. With the harassment in personal messages and group postings so who do you go to?

It is not just the Monkees but any person or persons who are public figures with a fan group. The official fans groups are always the same. They are run by a fan that somehow, who is appointed the leader of said celebrity group. They tend to get a big head on their shoulders, they feel more important than they really are. They create all kinds of job titles for themselves under the celebs name. They convince the other fans the only way to contact that celebrity is through them. Which means fan mail, gifts or autographs requests are to go through them and that they are the only source of info and know more than anyone else about the celeb. Which to me is tantamount to brainwashing. They post loud and clear when they do not like something or someone and have to show their false sense of power by making a grand announcement about it or whoever they band from the group instigating the bullying even more. They get the fans to become some sort of defense team for said celebrity. Joining anything and everything that has to do with that celebrity ready to find the crime of opinion wherever it lurks. Which includes trying to control what people write, how they spell their names and anything that they deem is not an appropriate opinion or thought on the celebrity or up to their standards. Including and I have been on groups where this was plotted, e-mailing death threats to news casters, talk show hosts and anyone reporting on their celebrity that does not fit their standards. Because you know it is a crime to write an article on someone else’s favorite celeb they think they control and censor anything that goes out on that person. Just recently I posted an idea for an article in one such old time stars Facebook groups. The official one I did not last one day because apparently asking questions makes me suspicious. So on to the second group were I was ganged up on made fun of and made to feel like nothing and they used one of my articles talking about my disabilities and defined me buy it. I finally read them the riot act on bullying, it does not work to stick up for yourself when you have no back up and everyone defends the bullying. I finally did leave because heck I’m too old to put with this garbage. These kind of obsessive fans are all over the net in every ones fan groups I have been on and I have been in over thirty or more in my time on the internet. It never ceases to amaze me how many fans will lower themselves to suck up and grovel to whoever they think will get them closest to their favorite celebrity. This craziness knows no bounds. In one fan base I joined the celebrity had a yearly cruise for fans to join them. These obsessed fans decided this fan was a threat to their favorite celebrity, because they misunderstood a facial expression she made at the celeb on this cruise as being mean to that celebrity, instead of just asking what they mint. They got a picture of the fan from the cruise ship passed it all over online, attached it to singles sites without that person’s knowledge. Repeatedly had the person’s e-mail accounts canceled and sent warnings about them all over the net. All at the official fan club leader’s direction. I want to know what makes anyone whose is a fan of a celebrity think they are a security guard for that person. It is not like they do not have security around or cannot call the cops like everyone else.

I have never had this happen but have bumped into fans who have. These obsessive protectors will get a hold of home addresses and phone numbers of any fan they decide not to like. Prank call their home numbers to death and have all kind’s junk mail and packages sent to their address. They think nothing of passing this personal info around online, or looking up a fan’s IP address. That is one of the things that made The Monkees fans mad at me I would not let them know these things about me, what I looked like or how old I was , and some didn’t know if I was male or female or where I’m from. For some odd reason these crazy fan groups think they are entitled to know these things about you. The word privacy means nothing to them. Another problem is the fan who is designated the task of handling fan mail, running social accounts and official stores for a celebrity. They also become big headed, think they are more important than any other fan. One celebrity I came across and spent time in their fandom has an official store where you could buy merchandise. The only thing is if you ordered merchandise and the fan running it did not get a full info from you as to where to send it, they reserved the right to keep the money. Say what? Last I knew one of these scam websites went after them and the problem was fixed as that option is no longer on the store’s page. Shoot all they had to do was not except the charge, no excuses. One time I ordered a photo album from a fan run celebrity store. When I got the item it was autographed and I decided to email the store that I got the book and it was nice of the celeb to sign it and say thank you. You know what my response back was, “Oh so and so just gets a list of names and signs a stack with the names from the list.” I already kind of new that was how it worked. I did not need to be told I was one of the peons that did not mean much to that celeb. You know the fans who run the store got to keep us little fans in our place don’t they. Another time I e-mailed a celebrity store on ebay, asking since ebay no longer allowing sellers to take money orders If there was still a way to buy the celeb’s merchandise with a money order. The response I got back was, “Get with the twenty first century and get a credit card like everyone else and do not ever talk to us again!” Excuse me where is the respect for a fan? Needless to say I never buy from celebrity stores.

As a rule I never send a fan letter to an official fan club, and or group of fans who run a celeb’s fan mail. There is no trust there because I know all too well you are lucky if the person you are writing to even see’s the letter. Fan mail run by fans is all too often read by the fans running it, not given to the person in which it is written for and just thrown out. I would rather write to an agent or P.O. Box address a celeb uses for fan mail than fan mail run clubs any day. Writing to a celeb about bullying is usually a last result that the situation should not come too in the first place. Even if a Celeb does not know about it they should know it,there is no excuse not to, it is not right for them to ignore or refuse to deal with it. Now a celebrity cannot monitor every website or fan group on the web that has to do with them. But when it comes their official web pages, stores, fan clubs or groups and social media accounts it is their job and their responsibility to know what is going on in them and how the person they designate run them is handling them and put a stop to any of this garbage that goes on in them. Even if you are on tour,on vacation , or busy doing this or that it is still your job. If they can play around on their phones all day at an autograph signing than they can check their official accounts out.They would not be where they are without these fans and why should they be put through hell just because they like them and want to follow their careers. The web sites who deal in groups, message boards, e-mails and social media accounts need to stop the excuses. Look beyond the money and adulation they get for having the sight. Blocking is not the solution to the whole problem it is an easy out for a service provider that does not want to deal with it. What’s more it does not work the bully will find other ways to get at their prey on those sights in other ways. First and foremost we all need to admit it adults bully, own it and deal with the problem and work together to fix this and extinguish it all together. There is absolutely no excuse for adults to bully at all, we go on and on about child bullying and how to stop it well look at the example that is out there by so many of the older generation no wonder it is happening. How can we stop child bullies when we will not fix the adult bullies they look up too? I was born bullied, I went through school bullied and still get bullied now at forty-two and I will probably get bullied till they day I die. Because it is such crime to have Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities , because you have to be perfect to try to fit in this world. If this crisis continues on then lord help the future!

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