Toxic Fandom: When Criticism and Entitlement Go Too Far

15 min readOct 9, 2018

Posted on October 3, 2018 by Will James

Many parents and their kids are becoming more and more immersed in the fandoms surrounding their favorite shows, movies, and books. The below article by guest contributor Sean Z. is an in-depth look at the recent history of fandom and some of the pitfalls we should all be aware of and be discussing with our kids.

How a group of internet fans known as antis transformed shipping in fandom from ‘Don’t Like, Don’t Read’ to discourse and death threats

By Sean Z, with additional reporting by Aria C.

In March of this year, a voice actor on the popular animated show Voltron: Legendary Defender reported they and their family had received death threats in response to an interview question over shipping. Another voice actor on Voltron commented on Twitter they were considering canceling appearances at conventions, due to death threats from angry shippers. When one of the show’s executive producers announced their appearance at San Diego Comic Con, angry shippers threatened to break her hands at the event so she couldn’t write anymore. What the hell is going on here?

“Shipping,” or the practice of romantically pairing off fictional characters in a work of media, has historically been harmless.

Like most people in fandom, I ship quite happily and I have yet to send a single death threat, because… well, sending threats of physical harm over a fictional relationship involving cartoon characters seems nonsensical to me (plus, it’s a crime in most jurisdictions).

And yet, it’s happening. People are taking these ships seriously, especially on Voltron, where fans of the ship “Klance” (pairing Keith and Lance) reposted leaked storyboards online and attempted to blackmail the studio by refusing to take them down unless the studio agreed to make the ship happen in the show.

But the problem isn’t limited to the Voltron fandom. Other shows like Steven Universe, Yuri!!! on Ice, and…


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