Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch

Toxic fandom gets real!

A 21-year-old Youtuber with 12 million followers grapples with his newfound fame in small-town India

- By Sourav Joshi

Someone recently paid $450,000 to become Snoop Dogg’s neighbour in the metaverse. In India, fans build temples of their favourite celebritie­s and buy their personal belongings at auction. You may call this ‘crazy fan culture’. But these things are wacky, and harmless. Some fan interactio­ns, however, are toxic; they can even be dangerous. I believe it is time for fans to learn discipline, understand consent, and behave better with their favourite personalit­ies.

Gen instant gratificat­ion

As a generation, we seek instant gratificat­ion and in the age of Instagram, a fan not capturing digital evidence of their encounter with an idol is unimaginab­le. Sadly, when an idol turns down a request, they are insulted.

Do not trespass, please

I regularly see groups of fans in my residentia­l complex. I receive notices from the residentia­l authoritie­s for the misbehavio­ur of my fans every alternate day. Once, a subscriber broke into our house when we were away. What level have we stooped down to?


Let our close ones live!

Once, a mob of fans wanted to click selfies with me. I was with my 11-year-old brother and they pulled him aside, manhandlin­g him. I was devastated, angry, and anxious. Since then, I avoid crowded places and sometimes, even going out with my brother.

This wasn’t what I signed up for when I started my journey as a Youtuber.

There was an incident when a creator and his manager didn’t respond to a fan query, and the fan started pestering people on the manager’s social media profile. And it’s not just the creators, but even friends and families of the close ones who are being dragged into the toxic environmen­t of wild fan culture.

 ?? ?? Young creators are sometimes overwhelme­d when dealing with aggressive fans
Young creators are sometimes overwhelme­d when dealing with aggressive fans
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