Tag Archives: One Direction

Social Media Bullying – What A Few Days It’s Been

On Sunday I did something rather stupid.  I spoke publicly about my concerns that One Direction’s Harry Styles may be suffering from depression.  I did so knowing that the subject might be controversial but I also did it with the best of intentions.

At no point did I say that Harry Styles was actually mentally ill, the point was that he is in a very high risk group.  I did expect to generate discussion, what I didn’t expect was the avalanche of hatred that came my way as a result of an article that I have since deleted.

Over the past 18-months or so I have written a lot about One Direction and their fans chiefly because I believe that both the band and their fans are given a bad press by the media in general.  As a result of my writing I have supported fans, fan projects and fan charitable efforts both with publicity and with my own hard-earned cash.  My experience with the One Direction fandom has, for the most part been a really positive one.  I have established online friendships with many fans and found most to be caring, genuine mature people.

jpeg;base64cc8e98b54334e4aeThe last thing I expected was to become the victim of cyber-bullying myself.  The disturbing thing wasn’t that people lashed out, I understand that reaction, it was that I became the focus of an orchestrated campaign that took its rise on social blogging platform Tumblr.

 

I most certainly did not expect a couple of influential bloggers whom I have supported publicly in the past to fan the flames of hatred.  As a result I was being subjected to hatred from people who didn’t even trouble themselves to read the article and make their own judgement.  Most simply jumped on a band-wagon they knew nothing about and spewed forth hatred.  One even accused me of encouraging fans to self-harm!  Words that I did not even utter in the article.

It was very interesting that a lot of people contacted me privately to provide their support, most saying that they understood where I was coming from and advising me to simply block the haters and move on.  I find this difficult because after spending my entire working life in the armed services and the police fighting injustice and standing up for myself and others is second nature.  That said I am all too aware that no-one wins fights on the internet.  There are only losers.

4e4a69a9aa132a0a5710816e36e2ef0eThe last few days have been tough.  Anytime I post something online I seem to receive a barrage of hate, it doesn’t even matter what the subject is.  I can only imagine the devastating effect that this type of behaviour must have on young people who are fragile and much less able to deal with this type of behaviour than I am.

Of course I realise that the vast majority of One Direction fans are decent and honourable people who would not dream of acting in this way.  I have had lengthy discussion’s with some fans who disagreed with me over this article totally.  Those people are the ones who convinced me that I was wrong to publish this article and that’s why I deleted it.

It is a simple fact that those who shout abuse and try to bully you into doing what they demand get nowhere, this behaviour leads only to people digging in and fighting with each other.  In the end it is totally counter productive.

If I am totally honest I always knew that the One Direction fandom had a dark and sinister underbelly.  The small minority who behave in this way are over-publicised by a media who try to paint all One Direction fans as obsessive and nasty and I would hate to tarnish all the lovely genuine and caring fans with that kind of label.

As you might imagine I was feeling a little isolated earlier today when a friendly One Direction fan sent me a link to this post from a writer at the Huffington Post.  The post demonstrates that what I have experienced is nothing new.  I am not the first “friend” of the One Direction fandom to have been treated this way and I am sure I won’t be the last.

d-300x227It would be easy to lash out at the bullies because they have caused me a degree of pain.  I won’t though because I am all too well aware that Bullies, especially those who choose the internet as their field of prey, are sad and pathetic individuals who need help.  These are people with so little in their lives that their self-esteem is through the floor and as a result they see anything that challenges them to think beyond their narrow minds as a threat.

For the most part bullies are people with a sensitised amygdala who lash out at any perceived threat, real or otherwise.  As the great Billy Connelly would say “they are more to be pitied than scolded I can assure you.”

If you are a One Direction fan who has suffered cyber-bullying I encourage you to speak out about it.  One Direction NDA have a superb anti-bullying initiative in place so I would encourage you to get in touch with them if you need support.

I would also ask everyone to remember that to err is to be human.  We all make an error of judgement every now and then and the world would be a much better place if we could just remember our own failings before we leap to condemn and harass others for theirs.  We are all entitled to make mistakes, we are entitled to screw up now and then, none of us is perfect.

We all have the right to live our lives free from bullying and harassment even, or perhaps especially, when we make a mistake.

Finally to the many many people who reached out to check if I was OK or who defended me publicly I am honored and humbled by the kindness and understanding you have shown.

The experience has left me a little battered and bruised but unbowed.  It was never my intention to cause anyone distress and genuinely regret causing anyone pain.

I wish every last one of you, even the bullies, love and peace.

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Was Harry Styles Under Orders To Swerve The Brits?

It says much that one of the biggest stories that merged from this years Brit Awards this year is that one Direction’s Harry Styles swerved last nights Brit Awards.

The Manchester Evening News reported that fans are in a panic following reports that Harry Styles did not join his One Direction bandmates at the Brit Awards last night.  For those who do not keep up with Harry Styles or One Direction the pop group are about to head into a hiatus after five-years on the road.

Styles recently sacked One Direction’s management team as he looks to launch a solo career.  Harry has signed to the Azoff organisation and Dawbell PR for his solo representation as he puts distance between himself and Simon Cowell.

According to the Sun Styles “snubbed his bandmates” when he did not attend the Brits.  For many people Styles’ decision was a strange one as One Direction were in the running for a couple of awards.  In Styles absence Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne were on hand to collect the award for the best video for the third year on the bounce.

You have to question why Styles did not attend because he is in London.  I wonder if Styles’absence from the awards was something that he was advised not to do by his new management team?

Styles former bandmate Zayn Malik spent the best part of a year distancing himself from his One Direction past before launching his smash hit single “Pillow Talk.”  You have to wonder whether or not Styles new management see Harry tracing a similar path before launching his own solo material.

If you are a fan of Harry Styles and One Direction I would love to hear your thoughts on why Styles swerved the Brits.  It could be that Styles is just as bored by award shows as the rest of us but given the history you have to suspect that there are forces at play behind the scenes.

Let me know what you think below

Words Are Louder Than Bombs – Are Writers being Silenced

Something very disturbing may be afoot.  It looks like writers are being silenced in a move that is more in keeping with Hitlers Nazi Germany than the modern day western world.  I don’t mind telling you that I am feeling somewhat paranoid.

Regular readers will be aware that in my paid writing I write about popular culture for a US based news aggregation service.  Over the past few months I have become engrossed with goings-on with pop group One Direction.

It’s fair to say that everyone knows that the music business is incredibly manipulative with the “middle-men” taking a huge cut of bands earnings.  It is also established fact that without publicity bands have less than zero chance of making it big.  For bands like One Direction image is all important.  Without the publicity machine bands drop off the radar as quickly as they arrived.

Across the globe billions is paid to PR companies to promote music.  When, like one Direction you develop into a £1 billion brand nothing must be allowed to damage the image that has been carefully cultivated.

Over the years we have seen all manner of stunts from bands and their PR teams to keep the name in the papers.  Through the years we have seen closeted gay stars forced deeper into their closets.  We have seen stars marry and even have children to maintain a straight image.

As most people will no doubt be aware it has long been rumored that one Direction stars Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are a couple.  Styles has never denied the rumors but fans suspect that Tomlinson and Styles have been forced to conceal their sexuality and have been fed a seemingly never ending stream of “fake” girlfriends to help maintain a squeaky clean and “straight” image.

Many One Direction fans also feel that the band have been badly let down by their management team.  From Simon Cowell to Modest management to HJPR fans feel that a web of deceit has been spun to take advantage of One Directions fans.

My own writing has discussed these issues on numerous occasions but two articles I wrote last Saturday give a strong insight into goings-on that are at the very least shady.  There has even been strong evidence to suggest that Louis Tomlinson’s baby is not real.

The posts can be read here and here.

Over the past few weeks I have been talking to another couple of writers who have written articles about some of the same issues I have been discussing.  Aaron Butterfield recently wrote a fantastic article outlining some of the issues for Breathe Heavy.  Aaron’s second piece has had to be delayed as a result of some skullduggery around his employers.

Another writer, who goes by the non-de-plume Sex At Oxbridge was writing an article on Buzzfeed earlier today when she was kicked off the site mid-article and was unable to log in again.  All of her articles about One Direction have since been deleted.  You can read about the experience here.

I fully accept that I may just be being paranoid but I really do wonder if these two writers have been nobbled by One Direction’s management through their employers.  After all if Simon Cowell comes along with a bunch of lawyers and wielding his cheque book like a  deadly weapon people tend to listen.

Music and writing are often about opinions.  Everyone is entitled to them.  The big outlets have all the resources to shout down the little guy with their access to the major news outlets.  One thing I do know is that cover-ups and misinformation is something that we face in every facet of our lives on a daily basis.  The only defence is for those involved in the media in whatever way to be allowed to speak out and expose wrongdoing when it comes to life.  Censorship has no place in a democratic society but I truly believe that these writers are being censored for one reason or another.

Censorship exists for one reason and one reason alone.  To cover up things powerful people do not want the general populace to know.  I now wait with baited breathe so see if attempts will be made to censor my own writing.  As I sit writing this one part of me says that I am deluded, that I am seeing something that isn’t there,  but am I?  Time will tell.

If you are concerned about censorship I would appreciate it if you shared this article around your social media feeds.

 

Is Louis Tomlinson Subject Of Unprecedented Press Attacks

A lot of people who read this article will be aware of my position with regards to the type of  media coverage is subject to at present.  The coverage is almost exclusively of a nasty and vicious nature and sources are unattributable.

Being an old fart a lot of people have asked me if I have ever known a musician to be subject of a similar type of smear campaign.  In all honesty the reality is probably not but the question did set me to thinking.  ouch!

Of course image manipulation in music is as old as management and labels exploiting artists.  Through the years image has always been important.  If we go all the way back to the early 1970s when I began to stretch my musical wings we did see a tendency for artists to be portrayed in a particular fashion.

As an example the recently deceased David Bowie went through numerous alter-ego’s as he reinvented his image from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to the Thin White Duke.  Bowie was famously androgynous, part of his image was to keep people guessing about his sexuality.

bowie

As we left the 1970’s behind we saw the birth of the new romantic era where once again gender boundaries were bent.

Visage front-man Steve Strange was just one of many who used their sexuality as a marketing tool.  Boy George and many others have followed Strange’s lead by ensuring that if the music press were not talking about their music they would be talking about whether or not they were gay.

steve strange

If artists were not making the press for their music then stories emerged about drug use, groupies and hell raising.  We saw hundreds of press reports about drink and drug fuelled binges that saw TV sets thrown from hotel windows.

There is of course a a huge difference between then and now.  Back in the day we had to rely on what was available in the print media and the occasional television magazine program.  If you wanted big news and the real story you needed to have access to a band or inside information.

What is new is that stories are now spread around the world in seconds.  With the arrival of 24 your news coverage on television we have seen a growth in the cult of celebrity.  Put simply celebrity gossip is big business.  The growth of TV talent shows and reality television have seen a seemingly inexorable rise in the degree of fascination with the lives of celebrities.

It seems almost churlish to say that, in the music business, publicity is life blood.  Without publicity a musician has a very tough job to carve a living out of their art.  Today we see millions of stories written every day.  There is no such thing as an “exclusive.”  I saw myself just last week just how quickly stories get picked up and duplicated.  When I wrote this article last week it was being published in other news outlets within a couple of hours.  My story was the result of an exclusive interview so I knew that I was the source of all the subsequent articles.

In a 24 hour society we get so much more in the way of rumor, speculation and pure bullshit now than ever before.  We have of course seen high profile celebrities being subject of rumors in the press before.  Michael Jackson was subject of unpleasant rumors for many years and people like Jimmy Saville and Gary Glitter were the subject of a whispering campaign for years before proof emerged that they were pedophiles and sexual predators.

michael-jackson-01

In the internet age I have no doubt that there are plenty of celebrities who have skeleton’s in their cupboard but it is now much more difficult to suppress information than it was in the past.

That said with so much information available at the click of a mouse it is now more difficult to get noticed and the UK press does love to build people up to knock them back down again.  There are frequently campaigns to expose celebrity indiscretions and occasionally efforts to discredit high profile people for no apparent reason.

I think what is different with Tomlinson is that his management do not seem to want to make any effort to combat the negativity that Tomlinson is subject of.  There have been absolutely no denials and no damage control when negative stories about Tomlinson have emerged.

As a result of this Tomlinson has been subject of a campaign of sustained negative press that has gone on for over six months.  The primary sources of most of the negative reporting are the Sun and the Daily Mail, both papers that reduce “news” to the lowest common denominator.  it is no exaggeration to say that these print outlets are reviled by the majority of people in the UK.

In conclusion Tomlinson’s situation is not unique but he is inexplicably being targeted by some media outlets.  The longevity of the negativity is perhaps unusual and it does seem that some sections of the media are obsessed with trying to dig up dirt, anything that will dent One Direction’s clean image.  I suspect that in the internet age this will not be the last time we see some sort of concerted attack on a celebrity.

Why I Write – Love Not Money

Yesterday was an amazing day.  I published an article on Inquisitr telling the story of Harvey Hext, a little boy who was taken at just nine-years-old by childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

Harvey’s mom Sarah was kind enough to give me an interview outlining how One Direction star Louis Tomlinson and his family gave the Hext family amazing support, both whilst harvey was ill and after he passed.

I was truly honored that Sarah trusted me to tell the story.  Harvey’s passing was at the end of November and I am certain that Harvey’s parents, his big sister Olivia and more than anyone his twin brother Spencer must still be hurting fiercely.  It was my belief that Harvey’s story needed to be told and clearly One Direction fans agreed.

Tweets about the story had over One Million impressions on twitter in a few hours and unbelievably I found myself trending all over the world.  I am truly humbled by the outpouring of love for Harvey and his family and for Louis Tomlinson and his amazing family who do so much unreported work for sick kids.

One Direction fans are an investigative bunch and they have long learned never to take things at face value.  I think that is to be admired.  To be fair they have been fed so many lies and rumors over the years that it would be incredible if they didn’t question the motivation of every word that is written.

I published Harvey’s story on Inquisitr and of course I do get paid for my writing there.  Some fans suspect that my stories there are written as ‘click bait’ and I truly understand that.

Of course the truth is very different.  As most writers will agree writing isn’t something you do for money.  Millions of aspiring writers will tell you all to readily that making a living from writing is something only a very few people successfully do.  Writers write for love, not money.  We need a voice, a creative outlet and we want to be heard.  Money comes  along way down the line.

I have been writing this blog for a long time before I started to write for Inquisitr.  I also write for a couple of music magazines without receiving any kind of payment.  You can check out my writers archives on Louder Than War and Echoes And Dust if you wish.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I am thrilled to be lucky enough to get paid for writing for Inquisitr but I am not dependent on the money.  As a result of taking early retirement I have a nice pension, no mortgage and I am debt free.  If I never earned another penny from writing I would still be doing it.

There are stories that need to be told, music that needs to be heard and little boys like Harvey who need a voice.  I hope that I will be able to tell those stories for many years to come.

Incidentally I am also a mad keen photographer, something I earn virtually nothing from.  Like writing I do it for love, for a creative outlet and to share a view of my life through a lens.

Love & peace.

Louis Tomlinson’s ‘Fly High Buddy’ The Full Story Told For The First time

One Direction fans have always known that Louis Tomlinson and his mother, Johannah Deakin, have huge hearts. Tomlinson has a passion for children’s charities, especially those that support children with very serious and life-threatening illnesses. Last summer, it was reported how Louis and Johannah hosted a Cinderella ball at London’s Natural History Museum. It was widely reported, including in the Mirror, that Louis donated some $3 million of his personal wealth to support the charity, Believe In Magic.

While Tomlinson is the patron of a number of charities, he is remarkably discreet about his personal involvement. The story of how deeply and directly Tomlinson gets involved has never been told. Until now.

via Louis Tomlinson’s ‘Fly High Buddy,’ The Full Story Told For The First Time.

How A Middle Aged Punk Rocker Ends Up 1D Obsessed

In recent weeks I have gained a huge number of followers and attention from fans of One Direction because I write articles about them for news outlet Inquisitr.  A huge number of people have asked me my views on a lot of issues connected with the band and as I can’t answer everyone personally this post is and attempt to answer those questions.

Let me explain a little bit about how I arrived where I am now.  I retired from work a couple of years back on the grounds of ill health.  I had been suffering badly from depression.  I began writing to give myself a creative outlet and to fill my time.  I have been a lifelong music nut.  I still can’t walk past a record shop and I have a CD collection of around 10,000 discs.

As a result it was a no-brainer that I would write about music.  After a short time I was invited to write for a couple of music outlets and that eventually led to me writing for Inquisitr.

Inquisitr is what is known as a news aggregation service.  This means that it reports trending news based on what people are searching for on Google, Yahoo and Bing.  When I started out with Inquisitr around 13-months ago I noticed quickly that there was a lot of interest in stories about One Direction and pop culture in general and that is where most of my stories are drawn from.  In the beginning I wrote pretty much what the other outlets were covering whether that was positive or negative.

I confess that being a punk and metal fan I didn’t know a huge amount about One Direction.  I detest reality TV and Simon Cowell so I have never watched X-Factor or the like.  In all honesty I swallowed the line that One Direction was music for boy-band obsessed 12-year-old girls.

This all changed in October 2015.  I had written a couple of articles based on what Dan Wootton had said in the Sun.  As a result I was contacted by a number of 1D fans who challenged what I had written in a very nice, calm and measured way.  I had interesting conversations with them and promised that if they had angles that they thought I should research I would do so.

They asked me to look into a number of things and as promised I began to look deeply into the back story.  I was horrified by what I found.  What was immediately apparent was the degree of manipulation of the image the various members of One Direction were subject to.  The links between Anne Marie Samson and the Sun and all of the things that the more analytical fans have known for years fascinated and appalled me.

As a result of all my research I totally changed my outlook.  As time went on I became aware of the amazing work that 1D fans do for charity and how unfairly fans were represented in the media.  My experience was very different to the media portrayal.  I found that I admired the efforts that 1D fans went to in supporting the boys in all aspects of their lives.

I am particularly disgusted by the treatment Louis Tomlinson has had in some sections of the media so I set out to provide some balance by calling out lazy reporting by other outlets, challenging lies and reporting the positive stories.

This week I gained a huge number of new followers after some fans revealed that Louis’ mom, Johanna Deakin was following me on Twitter.  She even retweeted one of my articles after I said that I would believe that she approved of my articles when she retweeted them.  Shortly afterwards she did!

The question that most people ask me is whether or not I am a “Larry”meaning do I think Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are a couple?

The genuine truth is that I don’t know.  That said a lot of the reported 1D “girlfriend” stories are so transparently false that it is hard to believe that anyone falls for it.  Do I believe in Lounielle?  Not for one second.  Do I believe in Hendall?  Not for one second.

Based on what I have read I believe Louis is probably gay and I think Harry is probably bi-sexual.  My guess is that they either have or had a relationship but in all honesty I don’t really care about their sexuality all that much.  I am of the view that “some people are gay, get over it.” What I do care about is the fact that both the boys and the fans are being manipulated to preserve the image and the 1D brand.

If Larry is real then the boys should be able to come out and show who they really are.  The vast majority of fans will accept them no matter what.

My intention is to keep digging for the truth whatever that may be.  Where I find positive stories I will report them.  I hope 1D fans will continue to enjoy my work even if I write something they disagree with.  I can’t promise that every story will be a positive one or that every one will be liked by fans.  I can’t promise that I won’t be clumsy with my words on occasion.

What I can promise is that I will write every story with an open mind.  I will look beyond the headline and where possible I will get to the truth of the matter.

I hope that explains where I am coming from and where I am now.  I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments below.