As it relates to the Internet, trolling is the posting of an unsolicited negative comment with the intent of upsetting others and provoking a response that leads to an argument. Trolling happens frequently across social media outlets. The troll is usually anonymous and oftentimes part of a hate group. Recently public figures, members of fandoms including the royal fandom, British media and even Royal Reporters are engaging in social medial trolling. Though this is not a new method of communicating, trolling has taken on an even darker tone, since the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan) arrived on the royal scene. There has been a marked increased in racist attacks, blatant lies and even death threats. Trolling within the royal fandom became so intense Kensington Palace was forced to issue a statement asking followers of the fandoms to refrain from vile and racist remarks.
Prior to the arrival of Duchess Meghan, royal watching was predominantly a white place. New royal watchers, who many assumed to be black, brought diversity to the conversation. This new group, comprising millions worldwide, represents a mixture of races, cultures, age, social status, education, gender, etc. Duchess Meghan fans were singled out and consistently attacked. Hate groups in the U.S. and U.K. akin to white supremacy were organized for the sole purpose of bashing Duchess Meghan. Even though the critiques and disparaging remarks exchanged between the royal fandoms at times can reach an uncomfortable level of tension, nothing is equivalent to the venom espoused by the organized hate groups.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group. The objective of gaslighting is to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s character ((wikipedia.org/wik/Gaslighting). Lying is the manipulator’s main weapon. They insist their view is true without providing supporting evidence. Hate groups setup solely to spout racist attacks and death threats towards the Duchess and unheard of vitriol coming from news reporters and royal watchers are forms of gaslighting.
Sussex fans justifiably point out the difference in treatment of Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan. For example, Duchess Kate wears a dress with a slit, she’s stunning; Duchess Meghan wears a dress with a slit, she’s vulgar and breaking royal protocol. Renovations performed at the Cambridge 21-room residence and driveway goes unreported while renovations at the Sussex residence brings accusations that the family is abusing taxpayer’s money. There are countless incidents of bias reporting. However, the Duchess Meghan fandom can almost always produce photo receipts and screenshots to support their claim.
In speaking of receipts to support a claim, I turn your attention to a recent fandom rivalry. There are times when a troll has a name, a face, a following, and even a blue check. This can be a bit jarring and alarming, but like the anonymous troll, the identifiable troll’s intention is also to cause chaos and hurt and often there is an ulterior motive – profit. Enter Mr. David Seow, a children’s book author. Many of his books are published through Goodreads and sold on Amazon. He has appeared on U.S. FOX News to promote his material as well as through various social media outlets.
He alleges that a percentage of proceeds from the sales are donated to animal shelters in Singapore. His recent book, The Royal Puppy Pack: Party at the Palace, written in collaboration with another author, has illustrations showing the Cambridge, Sussex, and Brooksbank family with their pets.
David Seow engages with trolls and hate groups labeling her fans as rabid and expressing his dislike of the Duchess. He believes her behaviors create division within the Royal Family, but chooses to use her name or an image of her and her family to lure her fans and promote the sale of his books.
The Royal fandom views this as a double standard and unacceptable; therefore the call for a boycott was initiated. To retaliate, the author chose to go on a blocking spree. Not only has he chosen to block those who dare to challenge his motives but he has decided to block any and everyone who are deemed to be a Duchess Meghan fan – private and personal accounts. He deletes his negative tweets, but as previously stated the Duchess Meghan fandom is noted for receipts. He then reaches out via social media complaining about the criticisms and proposed boycott.
Some Duchess Meghan fans but mostly anti-Duchess fans responded by stating the calls for accountability and a boycott are unwarranted. We disagree.
As of this writing, it has come to my attention that another author has chosen to take the route of David Seow, which means the boycott range may need to be extended. Bottom line – you can’t have it both ways. If you choose to dislike the Duchess, her behavior, her style, her smile, etc. that’s your prerogative. However, you cannot spew hateful messages on one hand and use her name to make money with the other and not expect her fandom to respond.
The bitterness needs to stop. Part of the problem is Royal watching and reporting lacks sufficient diversity for understanding the bi-racial (i.e. half black) Duchess. Hopefully in the future members of the royal fandoms,
British media and Royal Reporters can deeply reflect, embrace empathy and harken more.