Reasons for toxicity among figure skating fans

crazydreamer

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Well if particular fanbases are getting out of control, it must be someone's job to police them. And although the skater may not technically or legally be responsible for the actions of rogue fanatics, their actions do reflect badly on the skater and the fanbase as a whole. It's therefore in the interest of a skaters, their professional teams, and more responsible members of the base to be leaders and aim to calm and control their more unruly members, IMO.

I do think that dealing with fans is a price and responsibility of celebrity and everything that comes along with it.
 

anonymoose_au

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I don't think the skater speaking out would help in most cases TBH.

For example Yuzu has been nothing but positive in his interactions with Nathan, despite this a tiny group of Yuzu fans continue dissing everything Nathan does. They feel Yuzu is "too polite" to tell Nathan what he really thinks of him, not to worry though, they'll do it for him.

In these cases you can only ignore those fans unless they threaten actually bodily harm or property damage, then you can report it to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and hope something comes of it.
 

DSQ

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I try not judge a skater if they don’t speak out about some of the bad things their fans may do but if they do speak out I think it can make a difference or empower their rational fans into controlling or at least ostracising those that misbehave.

Take the recent vandalism for example, I suspect if the majority of Hanyu fans could point to an explicit statement by him condemning the graffiti it’d be easier to stop the ones who are condoning it.

The skaters can have a lot of power on the culture of the fs community.
 

eaglehelang

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I do think that dealing with fans is a price and responsibility of celebrity and everything that comes along with it.

Athletes are not celebrity. Athletes fight for the honor of their country, celebrity for their own fame.

Asian athletes, as far as I can recall, are not supposed to police the actions of their fans. It is not their place to. Their duty, is 1st to their respective countries. They cannot simply make statements without the vetting from their Association.

Any comments on unruly behaviour comes from President of the Association if it's local competition. For International events, it is from the Sports Minister, either to implore calmness if its own citizen. Or request for action if its the opposing country.

As to what considered unruly behaviour, it defers from sport to sport and region. Thus far, the limit before they take action is : actions that cause bodily harm whether to the athletes or other fans, bomb threats.

The most dramatic precaution taken( that I remember) : athletes arriving at the stadium in military tanks due to bomb threats. The hosts took the threats seriously cos suicide bombers have come forth before from these grp of people.
 

icetug

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I try not judge a skater if they don’t speak out about some of the bad things their fans may do but if they do speak out I think it can make a difference or empower their rational fans into controlling or at least ostracising those that misbehave.

Take the recent vandalism for example, I suspect if the majority of Hanyu fans could point to an explicit statement by him condemning the graffiti it’d be easier to stop the ones who are condoning it.

The skaters can have a lot of power on the culture of the fs community.

I tried to stay away from both of the threads created after GPF (one is closed now, but the deplorable act of vandalism has been dragged here) as I don't like toxicity in any form. But I think it should be said to posters who "try not to judge a skater":

1. The skater (and any athlete) is not obliged to follow social media.
2. The skater (and any athlete) knows only what they saw, read or heard. Assuming that they are alarmed of every ridiculous actions of their "fans" is unreasonable.
3. The skater (and any athlete) supposedly thinks about their duty in sport, not about "what stupid things my so-called fans can possibly do and how can I prevent it".
4. What the skater (and any athlete) can actually do to be a role model to their fans is to show a great respect to their competitors as well as to judges. I don't remember any skater to show disrespect in any means.
5. Rational fans don't need any encouragement from the athlete they like to ostracize any misbehavior (or to prevent it if they are able to). Irrational "fans" on the other hand can be told million times to behave and they don't.
 

MGstyle

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The root of this problem is their twisted narcissism in regards to their adoration. They care only about showing it off to the whole world to see, they don't even bother to think whether their action may disturb or annoy their very idol. And to them they are always right, if anyone voices their opinion against them or their behaviour, they only get indignant, let alone reflect upon what damage they have done.
Perhaps all the protest against their action can be a renewed motivation for them to act in a manner even more extreme.
 

noskates

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Well if particular fanbases are getting out of control, it must be someone's job to police them. And although the skater may not technically or legally be responsible for the actions of rogue fanatics, their actions do reflect badly on the skater and the fanbase as a whole. It's therefore in the interest of a skaters, their professional teams, and more responsible members of the base to be leaders and aim to calm and control their more unruly members, IMO.

I do think that dealing with fans is a price and responsibility of celebrity and everything that comes along with it.

With all due respect, totally disagree with you. There are rabid fans in every form of sport or entertainment. As for who should deal with them? Law enforcement, stadium or arena security, message board moderators, friends and family, etc. etc. NOT the object of their fandom. If you follow social media and pop stars or movie stars - when the going gets rough they shut down their media accounts - that's about all they can do without making it worse. To take action would just polarize those people who are either for or against the person in question.

As Moonvine so articulately stated (and I paraphrase) someone's actions are their own responsibility - not someone else's unless they're breaking the law. Being stupid and overly critical and nasty and belligerent is not against the law - unfortunately.
 

ribbit

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The root of this problem is their twisted narcissism in regards to their adoration. They care only about showing it off to the whole world to see, they don't even bother to think whether their action may disturb or annoy their very idol. And to them they are always right, if anyone voices their opinion against them or their behaviour, they only get indignant, let alone reflect upon what damage they have done.
Perhaps all the protest against their action can be a renewed motivation for them to act in a manner even more extreme.

I agree, and I would add a further related concern: any attention an athlete gives to the actions or words of these extreme fans fulfills their wish to be noticed by their idols, to get attention from their idols, to interact with their idols. Think of the deranged man who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan because he was obsessed with Jodie Foster and wanted to impress her. If she had publicly spoken about his crime, she would have gratified his wish: he would have had the satisfaction of being the object of her attention, of knowing that she was thinking about his actions, of having had an impact on her. He would have gotten the reward he was looking for. And worse: he wasn't her only stalker. What kind of encouragement would the next stalker have taken from seeing that an extreme action could compel a response?
 

arewhyaen

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With all due respect, totally disagree with you. There are rabid fans in every form of sport or entertainment. As for who should deal with them? Law enforcement, stadium or arena security, message board moderators, friends and family, etc. etc. NOT the object of their fandom. If you follow social media and pop stars or movie stars - when the going gets rough they shut down their media accounts - that's about all they can do without making it worse. To take action would just polarize those people who are either for or against the person in question.

As Moonvine so articulately stated (and I paraphrase) someone's actions are their own responsibility - not someone else's unless they're breaking the law. Being stupid and overly critical and nasty and belligerent is not against the law - unfortunately.

But if a skater can do something to reduce the hate and negativity, shouldn't they? I'm not asking them to cure cancer but something as simple and small as making a statement or sending out a tweet can be highly effective. In situations where someone's fans are beginning to get hostile and violent, I feel like a lack of action amounts to an overt act that reflects poorly on the skater. Complicity is very much a thing in this situation.
 

arewhyaen

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If I decide Gracie did not place well enough and go key all the judges' cars (just a ridiculous example), is that Gracie's fault? No. It is MY fault and MY responsibility and no one elses'.

That's not quite accurate. A more analogous situation would be if multiple fans keyed a judge's car and Gracie knew about it. Would Gracie be legally responsible for the damage? Of course not. But socially and morally, she would have a responsibility to make sure that someone isn't committing violent acts in her name. For a skater to take a passive role in the situation is very irresponsible.
 

el henry

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But if a skater can do something to reduce the hate and negativity, shouldn't they? I'm not asking them to cure cancer but something as simple and small as making a statement or sending out a tweet can be highly effective. In situations where someone's fans are beginning to get hostile and violent, I feel like a lack of action amounts to an overt act that reflects poorly on the skater. Complicity is very much a thing in this situation.

But they *can’t* do anything about it, so why should they? How in the world can a skater do anything about their fans?

Jumping off, usually I see these “oh why doesn’t Skater X say something about Skater X’s fans complaining about Skater Y” from fans of Skater Y, and it makes no sense to me. If Skater X and Skater Y treat each other with respect on and off the ice, that is all that is needed. And fans of Skater Y should be happy and content with that.

Skater X is complicit in nothing by remaining out of fan wars. :shrug:
 

eaglehelang

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But if a skater can do something to reduce the hate and negativity, shouldn't they? I'm not asking them to cure cancer but something as simple and small as making a statement or sending out a tweet can be highly effective. In situations where someone's fans are beginning to get hostile and violent, I feel like a lack of action amounts to an overt act that reflects poorly on the skater. Complicity is very much a thing in this situation.

The skater/athlete already doing something about by showing great sportsmanship and respect towards their rival.

If you've read my earlier post, it is not the skater/ athlete's place to comment, esp in Asia. It's the sports officials job to comment, that too only if the perpetrators have done actual physical harm.

I do not recall any athlete from Asia making any form of statement regarding unruly fans issue, they are not supposed to. It will only add oil to fire cos the opposing side's fans will use it to sneer & further throw insults.
Then on and on it goes back & forth between the fans.
 

crazydreamer

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To take action would just polarize those people who are either for or against the person in question.
A celebrity who fails to take a stance against bullying, abuse, or other toxic behavior from his or her fandom out of fear of “polarizing” those fans IMO is not worthy of adulation.

As Moonvine so articulately stated (and I paraphrase) someone's actions are their own responsibility - not someone else's unless they're breaking the law. Being stupid and overly critical and nasty and belligerent is not against the law - unfortunately.

I’m not advocating holding anyone legally responsible for anyone else’s actions, but yes I will hold celebrities morally responsible and call them out if by silence they condone inappropriate behavior engaged in for their benefit.

Also, asking for one public statement when something particularly bad happens is not asking for that much. Almost all public figures do. To the extent Yuzuru hasn’t already he probably will because he’s a good person. Nobody is suggesting athletes become internet moderators or arena policemen.
 

ribbit

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A celebrity who fails to take a stance against bullying, abuse, or other toxic behavior from his or her fandom out of fear of “polarizing” those fans IMO is not worthy of adulation.



I’m not advocating holding anyone legally responsible for anyone else’s actions, but yes I will hold celebrities morally responsible and call them out if by silence they condone inappropriate behavior engaged in for their benefit.

Also, asking for one public statement when something particularly bad happens is not asking for that much. Almost all public figures do. To the extent Yuzuru hasn’t already he probably will because he’s a good person. Nobody is suggesting athletes become internet moderators or arena policemen.

As other posters have already said, this is a slippery slope. If a skater makes a public statement once, that skater is then locked into making a statement every time something happens, or else seeming to condone those later events. If Yuzuru condemns attacks on Nathan once and doesn't do it the next time, his silence will be read as approval precisely because he said something the last time. If Nathan calls out one instance of particularly vicious criticism of Yuzuru, his future comments (or lack thereof) will be read as judgments on the degree of viciousness: oh, he didn't say anything this time, so he must not think it's that bad, or he must think it's okay--and so we can do it again. Given the scale of their fandoms, they would indeed have to become internet moderators, constantly policing their fans' comment and crafting statements in response.

I'd rather they devoted their time to skating.
 

Tavi...

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That's not quite accurate. A more analogous situation would be if multiple fans keyed a judge's car and Gracie knew about it. Would Gracie be legally responsible for the damage? Of course not. But socially and morally, she would have a responsibility to make sure that someone isn't committing violent acts in her name. For a skater to take a passive role in the situation is very irresponsible.

If she knew about it, she would have a responsibility to report it to the police. Just like any of the rest of us. Punto. You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions no matter whose name they’re committed it.
 

draqq

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I actually think most figure skating fans are reasonable and try to argue in good faith. It's just that the more vociferous and toxic part of the fandom become a vocal minority. Add in social media, where people with the same thoughts like each other posts (and no one can downvote or dislike), and you get insular bubbles where things can become tribal very fast. Throw in cancel culture and mob mentality, and we've got a pot that's ready to boil over at any time.

It's easy to get behind one skater and put all of your connection into that one person, in a sport where performance and interpretation is all about being able to connect. And it's easy to become nationalistic and just like every skater from the country of your choice and see all other skaters from other countries as a threat. Figure skating can get political behind the scenes and things can get ugly, where judges can show overt favoritism (e.g. the banned Chinese judges) and there can be scandals (e.g. Salt Lake City, toe-tapping). Even how the ISU will react to the WADA ruling on Russia that are a touchy subject for a lot of people to talk about but the outcome will have political ramifications no matter what it decides.

We're living in a time, in an accelerated information era, when one accidental bump during a practice skate can lead to international headlines because vitriol gets clicks and hits (Mariah/Eunsoo). Tangential to figure skating, media desires spin and many outlets have a business model catered more toward partisanship and sensationalism because that's what sells.

With all these self-re-enforcing influences, it's no wonder that some fans of figure skating can have such intense reactions that can bleed over to nastiness.
 

DSQ

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I tried to stay away from both of the threads created after GPF (one is closed now, but the deplorable act of vandalism has been dragged here) as I don't like toxicity in any form. But I think it should be said to posters who "try not to judge a skater":

1. The skater (and any athlete) is not obliged to follow social media.
2. The skater (and any athlete) knows only what they saw, read or heard. Assuming that they are alarmed of every ridiculous actions of their "fans" is unreasonable.
3. The skater (and any athlete) supposedly thinks about their duty in sport, not about "what stupid things my so-called fans can possibly do and how can I prevent it".
4. What the skater (and any athlete) can actually do to be a role model to their fans is to show a great respect to their competitors as well as to judges. I don't remember any skater to show disrespect in any means.
5. Rational fans don't need any encouragement from the athlete they like to ostracize any misbehavior (or to prevent it if they are able to). Irrational "fans" on the other hand can be told million times to behave and they don't.

I’m in no way saying it’s a skaters duty to control their fans. I’m just saying it can help and if that’s the case then where’s the harm in encouraging a little kindness in the community? They don’t even have to talk to specific incidents but skaters are role models and this community kind of needs its role models to stand up now about the bullying in the figure skating community in general because it’s clear we cannot police ourselves.

To be clear I also think the ISU needs to speak out more too.

So I really commend Medvedeva for her comments on encouraging kindness. It’s very brave of her to speak out.
 

oatmella

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I saw a tweet from a volunteer at GPF describing fans who attempted to break into restricted areas, and getting physically and verbally abusive with the volunteers who stopped them.

With emotions running high, I am concerned about safety at future events.
 

crazydreamer

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As other posters have already said, this is a slippery slope. If a skater makes a public statement once, that skater is then locked into making a statement every time something happens, or else seeming to condone those later events. If Yuzuru condemns attacks on Nathan once and doesn't do it the next time, his silence will be read as approval precisely because he said something the last time. If Nathan calls out one instance of particularly vicious criticism of Yuzuru, his future comments (or lack thereof) will be read as judgments on the degree of viciousness: oh, he didn't say anything this time, so he must not think it's that bad, or he must think it's okay--and so we can do it again. Given the scale of their fandoms, they would indeed have to become internet moderators, constantly policing their fans' comment and crafting statements in response.
No, once a celebrity has made a minimal effort to make his position known, people can legitimately claim that he has made himself clear and doesn't need to repeat it after every individual incident. It's only when the athlete has never made his position known that there becomes wiggle room for the notion that he or she is indulging problematic behavior.

Respectfully, I don't think the idea that making a statement now will subject Yuzuru to MORE criticism for not making a statement in the future doesn't make a lot of sense. Never making a statement is what will subect Yuzuru to the most future criticism. People now give him the benefit of the doubt, but if things progress in the future (which they may not) without any effort on his part to contain it, the anger from others will only grow. You see this with other types of public figures all the time, and it can really tarnish the reputation of a person.
 

Mishaminion

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There is nothing Yuzu can say that will convince his most rabid of fans of anything.

Those people literally believe they know what he's thinking and analyse every word he says and dismiss his respect and admiration for Nathan Chen. They will not believe it, I know someone like that, she's part of a Discord server I'm in. She genuinely believes Yuzu would only say these positive things to be polite and that in reality he can't stand Nathan. She genuinely believes the ISU hate Yuzu and want him out of skating and she has slowly become more and more creepy and obsessed recently, no matter what anyone says.

Of course it is not just Yuzu fans who are like this, and it is not just in figure skating.

But it's concerning, no matter who these people are fans of.
 
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