Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why do anti-fans hate celebrities?

by carol

I have a pretty clear idea of what being a “fan” is about. Most of us do. Used to be, if you weren't a fan, you were a "non-fan." It seems there is now a third option: being an "anti-fan."

I first became aware of anti-fans when I started looking for information about actor Alex O'Loughlin.

I was and continue to be surprised and shocked by the rabid rants and raves against Alex. He is attacked both professionally and personally. These anti-fans post all over the internet and work hard to convince CBS, other Alex fans, and anyone who will listen that Alex is unattractive, untalented, unworthy, a jinx, and guilty (of something or other).

ABC News did a story exploring this behavior in 2007.
Player Haters
Why Do Anti-Fans Love to Hate Celebrities So Much?

Obsessive haters, or anti-fans, share many of the same traits as obsessive fans, says Stuart Fischoff, a senior editor of the Journal of Media Psychology and a specialist in fan obsessions.

"People need something on which to focus their attention. … The adrenaline gets pumping for hating as much as loving. The hate-love situation are two sides of the same coin," he said.

Being an anti-fan, he said, has one advantage over being a fan: It's more fun.

"A celebrity becomes a star to focus on with the telescope of boredom," Fischoff said.

"Coteries on the net can join together in hating and dissing, and that's much more fun," he said.

If a celebrity is big enough to have a fan club, s/he's probably big enough to have an anti-fan club as well.
The Web is filled with anti-fan sites. More than 1,000 people regularly complain about the cooking-show host Rachael Ray at Rachael Ray Sucks Community on the social-networking site LiveJournal. The first rule for the site is "You must hate Rachael."

In the lead up to last year's new James Bond film Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig, thousands of people flocked to to gripe about letting a blond play the British secret agent.

However, according to Joshua Green, a postdoctoral researcher in the comparative media studies program at MIT, anti-fans are much more motivated by love than hate.

The people, he said, who complained about the Jar Jar Binks character in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace were motivated not by their hatred of the character but by their love of the franchise. They worried he sullied the franchise. Fans were similarly nervous about Craig playing Bond.

So, is it just me or does this smack of wackiness? Talk about going to the dark side! Call me Holly Golightly, but I prefer to focus on the positives of being a fan.

In fact, it's generally healthier and more fun to focus on all life's positives.


  1. I did not realize the 'anti-Alex front' is so drastic. I did read some negative comments about him not being able to act to save his life and silly stuff like that but trying to convince CBS that..., yeah, what exactly is he then in these people's eyes? Is it really that bad? I wonder if he is aware of it?

  2. Hating somebody and constantly putting them down can be a way of trying to elevate oneself - and it actually stems from their own insecurity. It is also proven that people that constantly dwell on hate and negativity will eventually become physically ill from it!