"It's going to end with someone killing themselves."
That's what Brian Wood was slated for writing. When he stated where the full blown pressure of the internet and social media against a perceived target could lead. Jon Ronson recently wrote a book look at people who had fallen foul of an online mob, seeking retribution for something they had done or posted online. Bleeding Cool has also run a number of panels on the subject, at San Diego and New York Comic Cons.
Well, this weekend, a fan artist who had been posting images of Steven Universe characters is reported to have attempted suicide after dozens of groups were organised to condemn her drawings for being fatphobic, transphobic or racist.
The Daily Dot has put the timeline together,
It all started last week when a fanartist going by the name Zamii caused a scare on Tumblr when she posted an apparent final note to her Tumblr, then disappeared for three days. When she re-emerged, it was to post a tearful video she claimed was being filmed at a hospital where she said she was getting the help she needed.
Prior to Zamii's alarming initial farewell, members of the Steven Universe and Homestuck fandoms had reportedly created more than 40 critical blogs and other social media accounts directed at her because they believed she was purveying problematic depictions of many of the characters she drew. During her time in fandom, Zamii had been accused of a litany of flawed portrayals of characters, including perpetuating "racism/stereotyping, transmisogyny/transphobia, apologism, incest, pedophilia, fatphobia, and ableism" in her art. For example, when Zamii drew a Japanese character from the popular anime Yowamushi Pedal, she came under fire for giving the character yellow skin and slanted eyes; when she drew a black character, she came under fire for removing her Afro and giving her blonde hair; when she drew a "Native American Fluttershy" from My Little Pony, the response was mixed and often critical, pointing out that she had further stereotyped the character.
They also cover how the creators of the show also became embroiled in the criticism as they stated that anyone should be allowed to draw anything – and fans of the show turned against the creators of the thing they loved so much.
There's a footballing term about playing the ball and not the man. Maybe it's a term that could find relevance elsewhere?
Unless of course the ball is the man…