Bullying, Harassment and Online Stalking of Minors on Tumblr
My name is Katy. I am 39 years old and I am here today to talk to you about bullying, harassment and online stalking of minors on tumblr - specifically a young teenager name Dani.
Dani (@adorable-bc-picture), I hope you don’t mind me speaking here, but I am absolutely appalled and disgusted at the behaviour from supposedly grown ass women on tumblr.
Adults whom, for some unknown and unfathomable reason, have taken it upon themselves to be, to put it simply, ‘fandom police’.
Let’s start with a little about me - like I said, my name is Katy and I am 39 years old. I have been married to the absolute love of my life for 19 years. I have experienced every gamut of emotion, experienced high highs, low lows and the pleasing, beautiful average. I work full time in events management and I live in Australia.
Personally, I was bullied - heavily - as a child. Because I am in that age group where the internet was not particularly prevalent until I was in my 20s (especially for small-town Australia), my bullying happened in real life. I have been teased, harassed, bullied and beaten. I have been bloodied, bruised and depressed.
I have also dragged myself up off the ground, moved on and not looked back at the people who felt the need to belittle me and abuse me on a daily basis. The year I turned 8, I was beaten up every day after school, arriving home with bloodied lips, bruised eyes and self-esteem so low, that I wondered why I had ever been born.
As I grew up, I grew stronger. I made new friends. I moved on. But the psychological scars remain, to this very day. But I am successfully. I am loved. I am adored. I am cherished.
And I am thoroughly pissed off.
Addendum: I am not a Benedict Cumberbatch fan. So I have no interest in who the man is fucking. Who he married. Who he knocked up. I have no personal interest in the man AT ALL. Because, you see, that is important. I am not jealous or a hater or a sceptic or a nanny or a stan.
All I am in a human adult woman, appalled, disgusted and pissed off beyond anything I have ever been in my entire life.
I became aware of the Cumberbitches about 8 months ago. I watched a TV shown called Fargo, with Martin Freeman in it. I had seen him in The Hobbit but it wasn’t until I watched Fargo that I wanted to find out more of who this man was.
It was indirectly through Martin Freeman that I found out about the Cumberbitches (and I will ALWAYS use this term to describe fans of Cumberbatch, because, IMO, 99% of his fandom act that way). I was…not shocked, I guess you can say, at some of the actions and reactions I was seeing/reading. I’ve been around. I’ve been in a number of fandoms. There are ‘fandom police’ in every fandom, regardless of what people claim. There are always a certain group of people who feel the need to seek attention for their obsession. So don’t think the Cumberbatch fandom is anything special, because, frankly, you’re not. A lot more far reaching that some of the fandoms I have been a part of (the internet is hugely related to that) but no less and no more special.
Anyway…indirectly through finding out more about Martin Freeman, I found out about Benedict Cumberbatch.
And the fandom war that has apparently been occurring for coming on 2 years.
So, in becoming a Martin fan, I started reading more and more about Benedict. I mean, they do star together in an apparently successful TV show.
I learned a very many things. Things that in equal turns amused, bewildered, stunned and angered me.
Let’s see if I can get my thoughts in order, shall I?
For those who may not be fully aware what is happening, apparently a celebrity got engaged, said engagement was met with sceptism by some, glee by others and general apathy by the rest of us.
Let’s address the apathetic group first because IMO, that’s where I sit and where probably 99% of the population sits. Another celebrity gets engaged - woo? Am I meant to celebrate? Yes? No? Another celebrity marriage, another celebrity divorce, another celebrity child to read about in the future and shake my head at. Celebs make the gossip sites/magazines sell/get hits. Marriages, divorces, births, deaths, scandals…all of these things sell. They sell copies, the sell clicks, they sell ads, they sell movies, TV shows, albums, music, fashion…one big PR machine. It’s tiring. I don’t buy gossip magazines. I will admit to reading gossip sites - god forbid, I’m human - but I believe less than 1% of what I actually read, and less than 1% of that is actually the truth.
I can see a big ol’ PR machination from a mile off. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughan. Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. (Just to name a few that I bother to remember). Big Ol’ PR relationships to either (a) sell or save a reputation or (b) sell or save a project.
Now with Benedict Cumberbatch, I can smell, initially, a big ol’ PR push. Posh, white, straight male announces engagement to pretty English Rose type days before the start of his Oscar campaign for a movie he was very passionate about.
Yay! Cumberbitches celebrate! Benedict is finally getting married! Benedict is finally going to be a Cumberdad (god, don’t get me started on those inane and horrific mangling of his surname!)! Let’s all celebrate!
But wait! There are some fans who are shock horror sceptical about it. The timing? Well, come on now, right before his Oscar campaign starts? That’s kind of…coincidental, surely? Surely the man who talked (long and incessantly) about keeping his private life private wouldn’t do something so…crass. Surely not.
No! You’re WRONG. Benedict would NEVER do something like that! cried the Cumberbitches. Of course, we all felt a little sad that day when his engagement was announced (what. the. fuck??), so bleats a poor, sad little fan, but we should ALL BE HAPPY FOR HIM AND NOT HATE ON HIM OR HIS FIANCEE.
Or I will ‘skin you alive’ (or so one enterprising young fan on twitter stated)
So the sceptics began. A few too start with, then a few more, then a few more, then a lot more.
More and more people were starting to side-eye this who ‘engagement’ and the absolutely-not-at-all-conincidental timings of all the major milestones - engagement? Check! Expecting a baby? Check! Wedding? Check! Honeymoon? Check! Baby’s birth? Check! First pap pics of said baby (aww, what a doting and loving father to obviously sell pictures of his only child to a pap.) Check! The Mrs showing up on set while filming a MAJORLY flawed and BLATANTLY problematic Marvel film? Check! Full face photos of said infant taken while strolling around New York (how’s that ‘I would protect my children’ statement working out for you, Cumberbatch?) - and said photos not gagged, not yanked BUT STILL AVAILABLE FOR ORDER ONLINE.
Wow…did that all get away from me! It’s not a perfect timeline, I know from reading more that I have missed a lot, obviously, but even the most naive person can surely see that nothing is coincidental about any of this.
But no! No! Of course not, because now we have a group that frankly, I have to wonder what exactly is happening in their own lives, that they feel the need to come online and bully, harass and online stalk other people.
(And no, I’m not talking about the sceptics, though I truly am not finished with some of them!)
I’m talking about the group of peopleI have tagged below. Mind you, this is a very, very small fraction of the number of people who I have seen and read:
@thisdancingheart, @ohshitimatthewrongparty, @old-enough-2-know-better, @irisang, @thesecitystreets, @dmellieon, @furriesandus, @beneguinsophiebatch, @lions-tigers-benedict, @allthebellsinvenice, @trained-cormorant, @shit-bc-haters-say, @winterrose16312, @wtgilsa, @isabeau13, @isabeau221b, @londoncallingsigh, @bananacumberbatch714, @addictedtobrits, @ben-locked, @mouseymodesty, @sherlana, @wearywander, @nixxie-fic, @thedragonaunt, @theorclair, @itstoohardtotitlethesethings, @idontcareaboutusernames, @roci221b, @theleftpill, @lolastaryes, @mas-sera-o-benedict, @jennbuso, @marykk1990, @the-pen-in-my-hand, @cumberbangers, @the-tinfoil-hat-brigade, @thetownbycycle, @honestylives, @deggsbenedish, @firewithfiredeux, @hunterhypereport, @moriartysskull
Like I said, this is a very small part of a group of people who have, over the past 2 years, made it their life’s mission to abuse, belittle, bully, harass, online stalk, doxx and generally be rather nasty pieces of work towards others, particularly a teenager. I wish I could name them all, but I would be here for hours. There are numerous blogs out there who feel the need to attack, like a rabid pack of hyenas, people who shock horror think differently from them. People who think that no, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter are not the perfect couple. There are other reasons why they believe that (more about that later) but ultimately, they have spent months. Months and months and months. Bullying, harassing, online stalking, doxxing and REAL LIFE interfering with a group of bloggers talking about a CELEBRITY AND HIS WIFE on the internet…
Just let that sink in for a moment.
This is all over one celebrity and his wife.
They have, at times, screencapped blogs (circumventing the tumblr block feature), called the school and parents of a teenager, called Social Services on the same teenager, called the teenager at her home, created a website outing a blogger, doxxed several other bloggers, sent threats via anon to bloggers, called other bloggers ‘bitches’, ‘vile’, ‘hateful’, ‘cretins’, ‘sewer rats’, ‘gutter brigade’, ‘sour grapes brigade’…just to name a handful.
They have also involved people outside of tumblr in their little fandom war. They have tried to waste the time and resources of government agencies (really? Emailing the department for Births begging them not to release the birth certificate? What a waste of your time and theirs!) They have tried to claim the upper moral hand in everything they do, screaming from rooftops ‘For Benedict!’.
For a man who, quite frankly, wouldn’t cross the street to spit on you if you were on fire.
This group are a mass of contradictions.
They are a mass of hate, loathing and repulsiveness that make me wonder just what the hell tumblr is doing, allowing these kinds of blogs to prosper. I am appalled that I share a gender (assumedly) with these bloggers. I am thoroughly ashamed that ADULT WOMEN - some of them mothers and grandmothers - are acting in a manner entirely suited to a five year on a school play yard that cannot get their way and bites their playmates. My 3 year old nephew treats other children BETTER than this group of women treat their fellow humans.
They routinely dictate to people on tumblr who they should follow. If one of the sceptics should happen to go quiet, to change their blog name (or try to), they will announce it on their blogs.
They will hypocritically announce that Dani deserves her treatment because of ‘piracy’ or ‘artistic theft’ ( @cumberbangers - nice try there sweetheart).
NOBODY DESERVES THE KIND OF TREATMENT THAT DANI HAS EXPERIENCED.
NOBODY DESERVES TO BE TREATED LIKE A PIECE OF SHIT ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SHOE.
Let me break this down for you.
Tumblr is rife with piracy and copyright violations.
Just today I saw a video clip uploaded by a tumblr user, ripped DIRECTLY FROM the DVD copy of Whisky Tango Foxtrot. THAT IS PIRACY.
When Hamlet was released to cinemas, I saw NUMEROUS gif sets from NUMEROUS blogs of a bootleg version of Hamlet. THAT IS PIRACY.
I see ‘bragging tweets’ from someone called AnythingBatch on twitter, claiming to have a copy of Hamlet on DVD - yet when Dani claims to have the same thing, Dani is the pirate and deserves to be bullied, harassed and online stalked but AnythingBatch is what? A good fan? Hamlet is not available on DVD. How do you think AnythingBatch got hold of a legal copy? PIRACY.
I see picture, after pictures, after picture being reblogged, edited, manipulated by countless people. Are you the original copyright holder of these images? Are you the photographer of these images? No? ARTISTIC THEFT.
Gifs of TV shows, movies, chat show appearances - ARTISTIC THEFT.
TUMBLR IS RIFE WITH PIRACY AND ARTISTIC THEFT.
Don’t you dare stand there on the altar of Benedict Cumberbatch and claim that Dani (or ANYONE deserves) the treatment you have been giving her.
Don’t you dare claim to be ‘protecting’ Benedict and Sophie by your actions online.
Don’t you DARE claim to be good people, good fans. Because you aren’t. You just aren’t. You are the WORST example possible of ‘fans’. IMO you are WORSE than the more ‘vocal’ of the sceptics.
I get why the sceptics are there. I do. I see the inconsistencies. I see the big ol’ PR push to prove that this man and this woman Are In Love! And Happy! And Doting Parents! I see it. But I don’t believe it. I see two men who can barely stand next to each other. I see two people so thoroughly bored and unenthusiastic about each other and their child. But of course, I must be jealous. I must want Benedict for myself.
*insert sarcastic laughter*
The man is bland, unappealing and hey, if you want Sherlock to play Alan Tauring? Cast Benedict Cumberbatch! If you want Sherlock to play Dr Strange? Cast Benedict Cumberbatch! If you want a rich, white, privileged, posh, straight white boy, who, frankly, is problematic as all hell, cast, you got it! Benedict Cumberbatch.
Sceptics are not wrong when they see a big hole in the PR narrative.
Here is what I think happened - excusing of course that NONE OF US ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH IS - they were fucking, she got knocked up (either deliberately or oops - my bet on deliberate) - he did the old posh, English gentleman thing and presto! She has a Gold Ticket for life, he has a child he may not have exactly wanted RIGHT NOW and a wife he cant seem to actually LIKE.
So, does that OPINION deserve bullying, harassment or online stalking?
Does an OPINION of any kind deserve bullying, harassment or online stalking?
Does thinking the baby is not real deserve bullying, harassment or online stalking?
Does thinking the marriage is not legit deserve bullying, harassment or online stalking?
Does ANYTHING about this situation deserve bullying, harassment or online stalking?
While I think some sceptics have taken it too far and have very obviously let their ego get in the way of logic and sense, overall, I have found the majority of sceptic blogs to be funny, analytical, thorough and downright informative.
I would never say that about any of the other blogs.
I am not taking sides in this. I am fairly apathetic about the are they/aren’t they argument. Like most celebrity marriages, I don really expect theirs to last for long. I am saying that bullying, harassment and online stalking of other bloggers - particularly those who are minors - is in no way warranted.
Before I go, I want to address those on both sides who claim to have (a) sources or (b) contacted Benedicts ‘people’. Lots of people claiming lots of rubbish in my opinion. I’ve worked for a well-known entertainment company based in Sydney. They did PR for some of THE biggest names in entertainment, while in Australia. And you know what? Emails were read by interns. Not by anyone who actually matters. There is a form ‘letter’ that is sent…and a number of quotes are contained, such as:
- Thank you for your email/letter/enquiry…
- We are unable to confirm…
- We thank you for…
Simple, basic mail merge stuff. A highschooler can do this. Which is why its the interns job to respond to anything that is NOT official. You may see a VIP name on the email but in reality, unless you are Someone of Importance, your email will only ever be seen by an intern or someone low on the totem pole. Agents and reps don’t have time for your petty, whining fandom wailings.
You can say all you like that you’ve contacted his ‘people’ or someone connected with him and you can can claim to have received a response, but in reality, unless you’re willing to provide actual evidence, all of this is placed in the less-than-1% of things I read that I believe.
Oh and before I forget - continuation and keeping stories straight aren’t a particular strong suit of this group of people.
You cant claim that:
- Benedict doesn’t KNOW about the sceptics
- Benedict KNOWS but doesn’t CARE about the sceptics
- Benedict doesn’t KNOW and doesn’t CARE about the sceptics
all at the same time. It doesn’t work like that.
I mean, you can claim all you want that Benedict and Sophie picked specific letters aimed at specific people to read at Letters Live, but you cant also claim that the sceptics don’t matter enough for them to bother.
Prior to Letters Live, it was claimed that ‘I think Benedict doesn’t give a flying fuck what the sceptics think’ - by the same blogger who claimed that ‘Benedict was deeply in love with his wife and was devastated about what was being said online’.
What a think-skinned little boy he is, if he cant stand a bit of online gossip about him and his wife.
What a petty little man if he deliberately chose to attack bloggers online by reading and having his wife read certain letters.
When it looks, smells and sounds like bullshit, I call bullshit.
I have read enough about Benedict, his wife and his fans to make these last couple of observations:
- What happened to the man who once claimed that he would ‘fiercely protect’ the privacy of his children?
- What happened to the man who once fronted paparazzi and asked them to focus on Egypt instead of the filming of a TV show?
- What happened to the man who once said ‘my private life is private’?
- What happened to the man who could once walk down the street without paparazzi capturing his every moment? I mean, we got his engagement, his wedding (SOLD! to the Highest Bidder!), his honeymoon (how did that Jaguar/Bora Bora/Whale watching honeymoon go?), his child’s birth (Look! Over there! I have a SON, this will take the pressure off the CBE announcement).
Now my question to you. WHY do you care what people online are saying about a celebrity and his wife?
WHY do you care if people think that a celebrity and his wife aren’t exactly what PR is trying to push?
WHY DO YOU stand on the altar of Benedict Cumberbatch and pretend that he is not human. That he is infallible? That he is simply, just a man? You make him out to be some kind of god and in reality, he’s just another actor, just another person on this earth.
My only conclusion is that you are so unhappy and unfulfilled in your own lives that you seek to live vicariously. That you seek what you do not have and you try to make it seem like Benedict and his wife are the be all and end all of human relationships.
I wont say you should be ashamed. I wont say you should be embarrassed. I wont say you should feel bad. I wont say any of that because frankly, I think you lack basic human empathy. You’re so focused on what YOU THINK OTHER PEOPLE should or should not be doing that you don’t stop and think for just one second what your attitude and behaviour has the possibility to do. God forbid one of the bloggers you have relentlessly bully, harass and online stalked tries to harm themselves. I don’t think that you would feel anything other than satisfaction that a ‘hater’ was gone and that you were ‘winning’.
Nothing about this situation is a fucking competition. You will not win any awards or ribbons or accolades by anyone for your behaviour.
I wish I could do more. I wish that tumblr would do more. I wish that before posting, people stop and think what their words may do.
I wish for a lot of things in this world, but what I wish the most is that none of your loved ones experience the kind of hate and vileness you show towards others.
You know what? I’m an adult. I can handle whatever hate or bile you decide to throw my way because (a) ultimately we’re all strangers on the internet (b) I have the life experience to handle the hate and bile that may come my way and © I truly, truly don’t give one. flying. fuck what any of you ‘adults’ think of me.