When I was about 12, David Bowie killed Ziggy Stardust onstage at the Hammersmith Odeon. At the time we did not realize that it was just Ziggy who was retiring, not David. Either way, us fans were really really sad. Then a few years later, my favorite roller, Les, left the Bay City Rollers. Also sad. At the most though, I listened to their LPs with a heavy heart. I am not sure I even wrote a fan letter or shed a tear I was just sad. Yes that is what we had to do in those days – write a fan message to their official fan club or their record company.
Last week Zayn Malik left One Direction and, as always recently, the outpouring of emotion on social media from teenage girls was scary. Threatening to commit suicide, threatening to kill his fiancé (who had apparently encouraged him to leave the band), threatening to cut themselves until he came back. Even threatening to kill him. Then the trolls started reporting the suicide rate being as high as 7 million…
These girls don’t seem to realize they are crossing the line of unacceptable behavior, and they egg each other on and try to outdo each other. This age is a difficult one and the hormones are raging but do their parents know they are doing this? Are they not too young to even be on Twitter? Do they realize that the targets of their hate and emotion are human beings? Ironically this very behaviour is what drove Malik to leave the band, stating he wanted a normal life out of the public eye.
Some rather mild posts below:
A similar thing (though not so scary) happened a few months ago when 35-year old Ian Somerhalder started seeing Nikki Reed. Many of his fans started abusing her online – saying they hated her and threatening to kill her. He usually doesn’t respond, but this time he made the unprecedented move of calling two of the worst of them out on their behavior. Turns out these users were both eleven years years old!
All these Tweets will live on forever, sadly. Long after the girls have grown up and calmed down.