mark-jansen

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Epica - Beyond the Matrix Official Video

The Simone Simons Racist Saga

THE STORY

Since new Epica fans surface weekly, and one of the top searches on Youtube is still “simone simons racist”, I felt the need to explain why that is.

Few years ago, couple of old video clips involving Simone got surfaced again. One was a interview where she mentioned not liking to be compared to Evanescence constantly because of the bands being entirely different, which fans took as Simone hating Evanescence, for some reason. The second video clip was the infamous “please don’t touch my hair” video, which involved Simone swarmed by a huge group of fans, alone. People were shouting at her and pulling her hair, and she very nicely asked people to leave her hair alone. The video was shot somewhere in Latin America, and certain fans felt that it was highly racist of her to ask for space like that. 

These catalysts resulted in the forming of first Simone Simons hate groups around the internet. Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were all used. Many videos were made including clips from those two aforementioned videos, as well as “bad” pictures of her and hateful phrases. Her Youtube videos were attacked next (yes, she used to be a Youtuber!). Her increased interest in make up, photography and fashion were called out everywhere. According to these fans, her new hobbies and her decreasingly “operatic” voice now made her into a pop singer, not worthy of the metal community. Her videos were full of hateful comments and it kept going on for months, until Simone just simply deleted her channel, and kept a much smaller presence in social media.

These hate groups were posting daily around the internet, making it impossible to follow the band or Simone without running into senseless hate. Now her voice, looks, interests and personality were all attacked daily. Even her fellow band members started getting hate mail. Whenever one of the band members would post something online, the comments would swarm with people asking for Simone to be fired. The guys didn’t take it well, and after calling out these people they swiftly banned them. 

After a year of very active hate, Retrospect happened. Fans were delighted with Simone’s gorgeous vocals and the wonderful concert. Simone was pregnant during the concert and it was starting to show, resulting in the hate groups starting to target her looks, almost exclusively. Now the internet was full of photoshopped pictures of Simone and text posts, calling her fat and disgusting. When Simone announced her pregnancy, the haters switched their direction into calling her “old”, and saying that she looked fat already before her pregnancy.

The last strand of hate I remember seeing was on Instagram few months before The Quantum Enigma was released, with some hate groupie asking for Simone’s baby to die. Seriously. Shortly after, the hate groups (with thousands of members) were removed by Facebook. They tried to relaunch the group, unsuccessfully. Luckily, that was the end of it for Simone. Unfortunately, the haters switched their direction onto Floor Jansen, which resulted in months and months of abuse and bullying of similar kind. 

THE CONCLUSION

In my opinion, all of this happened because of cultural differences and stupidity, as well as sexism.

It’s a given fact that culture in Latin America is very different compared to the Netherlands, or the colder part of Europe in general. The fans didn’t mean anything bad in that video, neither did Simone. Some those fans who got insulted by the video thought she didn’t respect their culture, while they couldn’t respect hers. Not to mention, Simone was never known as a person who would have been extremely open, or social like that. She likes her distance and privacy to this day, even if she is very nice to the fans anyway. 

Even if she hadn’t liked Evanescence, she obviously didn’t deserve any of that. The idea that if celebrity #1 doesn’t like my favorite celebrity #2 should result in such vehement hate is simply absurd.

The idea that someone working in the metal music community should have to embody all of the metal cliches is just as absurd. I am aware that some people enjoy metal music as a lifestyle, but for some of us it’s just gorgeous music and art. That should be completely fine. 

One of the main concerns of the whole saga was the idea of women and their bodies not belonging to them, but rather to the fans. The point by the haters often was, that since they pay Simone’s bills, she should be ready to give attention and hugs at all times. Which is crazy. What fans get for that money is albums and incredible live shows. That’s it. Everything else is extra. If someone is not comfortable of a crowd of groping and screaming people, they should be left alone.

Here’s the bottom line: famous people are human, just like you. Make sure to treat them like that.

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The greatest EPICA songs until The Holographic Principle: Sancta Terra (1/30)

“I write mainly about the religious parts. I wrote about the suicide commands on “Sancta Terra”. I wrote about a Christian couple who were pregnant, who had a baby which died at birth. That’s “Living a lie”. “Death Of A Dream” is about the position of women in the Islam society, that they are not equal to men. That they are speaking out for themselves.”

- Simone Simons about the lyrics of The Divine Conspiracy