The Internet and the Negativity Among Fans
Above: The Daily Mail's headline after an incident on Twitter regarding Ben Platt
I recently came across a variety of chat boards and Instagram pages, all dedicated to Broadway and the theater community, whether as a whole or in the form of individual posts. Some simply share photos and video clips, helping people to discover shows they might not know about.
However, others sit behind their screens, pouncing on people if they say something they don't agree with or mistype something. They needlessly bash producers, actors, and shows, not seeming to care what they say.
Since I review shows, I sometimes have both negative and positive opinions on what I've seen. But never (in my opinion) should that extend to saying rude things about the people involved in the production. Despite seeming vast and endless, the Internet is tiny. Actors can see when you post nasty things about them. And if you're being rude to another user on a chat board, or making nasty comments about people involved in productions, it will eventually find its way back to you. One example is the comments about the producers of a recently opened show on a chat board. Another example is the mother who bashed Ben Platt for not stage-dooring after Dear Evan Hansen.
The Internet has seen theater, especially Broadway and the West End, become more accessible for people. They are able to discover shows they like through cast albums or show clips, and expand the show's fan base. But other people, seem to believe that they are on higher ground than others, and make rude comments to fellow fans or say offensive things about people involved in productions.
The Broadway and theater communities are wonderful, and everyone is welcome to share their thoughts, opinions, and let their voices be heard. It's one thing to do it with a certain kindness. But it's another thing entirely to sit behind a screen an anonymously throw mean words around, as if they have no power.