Having a lot of fans is a double-edged sword. They might bequeath you with unholy quantities of adulation and money, but they can also make it impossible to eat in public without wearing some kind of active camouflage. And sometimes, their intense love leads to even more serious consequences. Like how ...
A young Justin Bieber earned one of the biggest honors a celebrity can receive: his very own dead-eyed wax statue at Madame Tussauds New York. Unfortunately, the statue had to be retired a few years later -- and not due to Bieber's attitude and legal troubles, but because his fans destroyed it with their incessant pawing. Honestly, we're surprised the real Bieber survived his teen years without suffering the same fate.
According to the museum, visitors fondled the statue so much that it "no longer [did] justice either to the star or to the attraction." We couldn't find any photos of Wax Justin's final state, but you can sort of see its gradual decay if you look through the many, many social media pictures of fans getting fresh with him.
The museum eventually replaced the statue with a creepily realistic replica of present-day Bieber (which is of course shirtless, or he'd be unrecognizable). As for the disfigured version, we're guessing they recycled it as Mickey Rourke.
PewDiePie has been the top YouTube personality since 2013, which means that his core audience must be around 15 by now. Unfortunately, they don't really act their age. Upon noticing that their idol's subscriber count was about to be overtaken by T-Series (a channel devoted to Bollywood music), they began writing "Subscribe to PewDiePie" everywhere they could ... even the sky.
Some of the efforts undertaken to raise awareness for this important cause were pretty clever. Like when someone hacked 50,000 printers and made them spit out a pro-PewDiePie manifesto. But others went too far. Not content with hacking websites and vandalizing schools (with the occasional swastika thrown in for good measure), someone repeatedly defaced a World War II memorial with the mantra. Yeah, that'll endear people to your guy.
PewDiePie responded to criticisms that he was doing nothing to stop his most extreme fans by saying that he didn't have to, because it's "obvious" that he doesn't condone anything awful or illegal. But the people doing this are likely very young, as he himself points out, so no, this isn't "obvious" to them. It's like how when he parrots fascist memes or straight up recommends a Nazi channel, it isn't obvious to them that they're being exposed to propaganda. (Said channel gained 15,000 subscribers before he retracted the endorsement.) Anyway, while all this was going on, T-Series quietly passed PewDiePie, and their fans didn't even have to deface one monument. How did they do it?!
When the University of Auburn's football team defeated the University of Alabama in 2010, 61-year-old Alabama fan Harvey Updyke, a former Texas state trooper, didn't take it well. So he enacted revenge on some trees. See, Auburn fans have (well, had) a historic tradition of celebrating their wins by gathering around two 130-year-old oak trees and covering them with toilet paper. It was a rare case of a peaceful sports celebration. (Well, we guess it's a little messed up to throw the skins of trees at other trees, but that's getting a bit abstract.)
Updyke knew how much Auburn loved those trees. And so, upset over the loss (as well as an unconfirmed, probably fake story about Auburn fans celebrating the death of Alabama's coach), he snuck into the University of Auburn and poisoned them with herbicides. He was so proud of this that he bravely called a radio show to gloat about what he did -- using a fake name, of course.
Updyke later said that he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he didn't realize it was "the FBI gets involved" wrong. For a while, it was even feared that the poison might seep into the local water supply. Updyke was identified and arrested, but it was too late for the trees, which had to be chopped down. Updyke was sentenced to six months in jail, five years of probation, $800,000 in restitution, and most hurtfully, an eternal ban on attending any college sports events.
Updyke seemed repentant at first, and even agreed to appear at a charity event where fans could dunk him or throw pies at his face. But it's been reported recently that he hasn't been very diligent with his payments. In November 2019, he called the same show again basically to say, "I'm too old to learn lessons."
The CW's Arrow is a fine example of how giving fans exactly what they want can make them worse. In the comics, Green Arrow has a well-established relationship with fellow superhero Black Canary. But fans of the show demanded something different: They wanted Oliver "Green Arrow" Queen to hook up with his obligatory dorky pal who's good at computers, Felicity Smoak. When showrunner Marc Guggenheim mentioned a deleted scene in which the two kiss, fans made the clunky phrase "Trollenheim show us Olicity kiss 2x23" trend on Twitter (first in the U.S., then worldwide).
"Dick Poop" fans gotta step up their game.
Guggenheim gave in, and how. Not only did he release the scene, but the show eventually killed off Black Canary and made the Oliver/Felicity pairing official. And "Olicity" fans were satisfied with this, right? Nah, they just got weirder and more intense.
In the same way that extremist groups splinter because certain members aren't considered extremist enough, a subsection of shippers for "Stemily" began pushing for a real-life relationship between the two actors playing the characters, Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards. To that end, they've taken to harassing Amell's wife, encouraging him to divorce her, and even replacing her with Rickards in pictures via crappy Photoshop jobs.
They also call Amell's wife "Voldy," as in short for "Voldemort." Because they try to avoid saying her name. After all, that would be creepy.
There are two types of One Direction fans: those who like the music, and those who want to see the members of the band make out. Members of one particularly horny group call themselves "Larries," because they think there's a secret relationship going on between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, due to their close friendship. Or they thought that, anyway, before their creepiness doomed that friendship.
You'd think that Tomlinson having a baby (with a woman and everything!) would kill this conspiracy theory, but it only strengthened the Larries' conviction. Why? Because through careful analysis of every single existing photo of the baby and its mother, the Larries determined that it couldn't possibly be real. For instance, they used photo editing software to establish that each picture of Tomlinson and the baby is an elaborate composite, because that was obviously simpler than the guy handling a baby for two seconds.
Inevitably, the fact that thousands of people were analyzing all of their interactions took its toll on Styles and Tomlinson's friendship. The latter admitted that the attention "took away the vibe" and caused them to grow apart. See, that's a weird thing to say about your friend. If you guys hadn't ruined it, there might have been something there.
The two main draws of YouTube stars are 1) they scream a lot, and that's apparently hilarious, and 2) they have a more down-to-Earth, approachable vibe than regular celebrities. It's like watching your neighbor do stupid stuff, but in a lazier, more vaguely dystopian way.
Unfortunately, some fans have taken the whole "friendly neighbors" thing a little too literally. One of the victims is our old pal PewDiePie, who had moved six times by 2016 and still got unwanted visitors. Everyone from parents granting their children's birthday wishes to teachers bringing whole classes (possibly to motivate them to drop out and play Minecraft for a living) was showing up. It got so bad that PDP had to stop screaming for two minutes to ask his fans to stay away.
Beauty vlogger James Charles also begged his fans to stop showing up at his house asking for photos or hugs, and of course the top response is someone telling him that "[our creepy stalkerish behavior] comes with the territory." But it gets worse. Logan Paul performed a citizen's arrest in his own house after a guy invited himself in one night and sat down on his couch to charge his phone. That's a crazy story, though not as crazy as the fact that someone actually wanted to meet Logan Paul.
But the most disturbing and tragic of these cases is that of Christopher Giles, who drove from Albuquerque to Austin to pay a visit to the home of YouTubers Gavin Free and Meg Turney. He had over a thousand notes about the couple in his phone, and planned to kill Free, somehow figuring that Turney would instantly fall for him a second later. When he broke into their home carrying a gun, the couple hid in a closet and called 911. Giles died in a subsequent shootout with the cops.
OK, playing Minecraft for a living is way more dangerous than we thought. Sorry for dissing it earlier, guys.
Christian Markle doesn't have any fans, so why not be the first? Go on. Say hi.
For more, check out The Terrible Truth 'Star Wars' Fans Can't Admit:
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