Some sick parts of fan culture should be removed

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/4 12:53:56 Last Updated: 2020/3/4 8:53:56

Chinese actors Wang Yibo(left) and Xiao Zhan

The controversy over fans of Chinese actor Xiao Zhan attacking fan works continues to simmer on social media. The behavior of the actor's fans exposes some sick parts of fan culture, which exist not only in China's fan groups but all around the world.

Some fans often behave irrationally, such as cyber-bullying, stalking their idols or disturbing other cultural groups. They consider their behavior as guarding idols but these actions have affected celebrities and even the whole of society. 

Xiao's fans attacked fan works about love stories between Xiao and another actor Wang Yibo, who also starred in the hit TV drama The Untamed, as they think these works are erotic and might ruin their idol's image.

The behavior was accused of disturbing freedom of creation, affecting some online writers' careers and also breaking the normal order of another cultural group of fan works.

Although Xiao's studio and fan club have apologized on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, netizens, especially those who love to read and create fan works, have not forgiven the behavior and decided Xiao should also be blamed. 

But what is truly ruining Xiao's image is his fans' actions rather than the fan fiction.

Shi Wenxue, a film critic and a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times that the attack against platforms of fan works organized by Xiao's fans has infringed people's rights and interests including writers, readers and operators of these platforms.

"These fans should be more rational and tolerant to other cultures. They are so hostile to those who have different views with them, which is totally wrong," Shi said. "Related laws should regulate fans' behavior and make sure they are lawful."

In the name of love, some fans abuse "enemies" of their idols online, but most of the "enemies" are just their speculation. Lady Gaga has called for an end to cyber-bullying after an online feud with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton ended with him receiving death threats from her fans. One Direction have also stated that often some of their fans "cross the line" on social media.

And some fans become stalkers, following their idols everywhere, which has happened to celebrities including Kim Taehyung of South Korean boy band BTS.

The whole entertainment industry is hailing fan culture for the huge economic benefit fans can bring. But sick parts of fan culture should be taken seriously and removed as soon as possible.

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