An army of One Direction fans, or “directioners”, takes to social media to voice their anger, at times aggressively, over a Channel 4 documentary that exposed the more extreme side of their fandom.
The documentary, Crazy About One Direction, explored the relationship between fans and the boy band – including their fantasies about the band, the lengths they go to meet the band, and the aggressive actions directioners take on Twitter against those who cross them.
In an echo of the programme’s content, directioners took to Twitter again to voice their displeasure.
We couldn’t give a f*** what any documentary says there [sic] dramatised for entertainment and full of bulls*** anyway we all know… Liam Payne, One Direction
Thousands of tweets were posted following the show and on Friday morning. A large number of the tweets were centred on claims that a number of directioners had killed themselves because of the documentary.
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Tweets included figures that 14, 42 and more than 100 fans had killed themselves because of the show.
“Do you realise that you’re responsible for 42 suicides,” wrote one fan, with another calling Channel 4 “murderers.”
There has been no evidence yet to factually support the rumoured suicides.
Trending on Twitter on Friday morning were the hashtags #THISISNOTUS and #RIPLarryShippers.
Larry Shippers refers to a fantasised relationship between two of the band members, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
The term for this relationship, which varies in perception from a “bromance” to a sexual or romantic coupling, is Larry Stylinson, a conjunction of the two names. “Shippers” refers to “relationship”.
Other tweets warned that Channel 4 should “hide from us”, and hoped that the channel “burn in hell”.
It was also not just Twitter. On Channel 4’s Facebook page, directioners posted that the documentary was “sick and twisted” and accused the channel of “breaking our fandom”.
It has been previously documented how some One Direction fans have used social media accounts to attack those who cross them. When men’s magazine GQ ran a cover story on the band, some fans responded by threatening murder (including by chainsaw and through acts of terrorism).
Both Channel 4 and the film makers took the utmost care to produce a documentary with genuine affection and respect for the fans. Channel 4 spokesperson
The Channel 4 documentary also reported the abuse that pop star Taylor Swift received at the hands of directioners. The star, who dated one of the band members, closed her Twitter account because of the vitriol.
Not all social media messages were abusive, with some fans using the social media platform to air their grievance that Channel 4 had focused on a minority of fans.
However, it was not just the fans who took to social media to vent their anger. One Direction member Liam Payne, in perhaps surprising language for a pop star with a large number of fans in the nine-12 age bracket, wrote: “We couldn’t give a f*** what any documentary says there [sic] dramatised for entertainment and full of bulls*** anyway we all know…”
Mr Payne’s tweet, sent at 9am on Friday, has been retweeted on Twitter more than 85,000 times and has been “favourited” more than 72,000 times. He has more than 12 million followers on the social media website.
Channel 4 is understood to have received around 600 complaints by email to the programme, in addition to the high volume of social media interactions.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “The Channel 4 documentary followed a number of fans who, by their own admission, are obsessive about the band.
“Whilst not suggesting that the girls featured represent all 1D fans, it examines the impact social media has had on teenage fandom and how it has developed a new form of idol worship for many teenage girls.
“Both Channel 4 and the film makers took the utmost care to produce a documentary with genuine affection and respect for the fans.”
A spokesman for Ofcom confirmed that the media regulator had received a “small number” of complaints about the show.