As you probably know, there are certain areas on the Internet (mostly Facebook) where many of the most hard-core AXANAR detractors congregate and feed off of one anothers’ obsessive antipathy toward this fan project and its show-runner. Just look at the image to the left. Here’s a detractor who has spent countless hours creating literally dozens and dozens of these faux movie posters…each of them denouncing ALEC PETERS and Axanar, hurling insults and accusations, and mocking Axanar supporters (like good ol’ “Slow” Lane here—they love calling me that for some childish reason).
Most of the time, this “fear and loathing” of all things Axanar remains safely locked away in the echo chambers of these Facebook groups. But last week, I was concerned to read the following message posted on the main Axamonitor Facebook page by SHAWN O’HALLORAN……
It’s been brought to my attention that someone who is apparently an Axanar detractor is using a sock puppet going by the name of Bud Lee to contact and harass not just Alec Peters and his supporters, but the FAMILY MEMBERS (plural) of said supporters.
On behalf of the admins of Axamonitor, let me make our position on this issue crystal clear: that behavior will not be tolerated. There is no excuse for EVER contacting someone’s family member because they’re a vocal supporter of Peters and if it’s discovered that a member of this group is engaged in that behavior, they will be removed from the group and permanently banned.
That said, we have our suspicions on who the perpetrator is and they were banned a couple of months ago. We will continue to investigate it but if you’re in here, understand that you’re on notice and I have a nose for ferreting out sock puppet IDs.
Also, if anyone else has an idea of who Bud Lee is, please contact myself, Carlos, Jody or Johnpaul.
Thanks for you cooperation and I apologize for having to come off as such a dick about this but I’ve been the victim of this before and it’s not something I’d wish on anyone.
Now, you might think you know why I find this troubling. You’d be wrong.
Oh, sure, it deeply concerns me that there’s a person out there creating fake user accounts to send harassing IMs to not only Alec Peters but also to family members of Axanar supporters. These kinds of “sock puppet” accounts have been used before, like when a detractor (who may or may not be Peoria, IL-based Anthony Shuh) stalked the social media accounts of a local Peoria TV newswoman to create the fake identity of Nikky Synder.
And of course, detractors have stalked, mocked, and harassed Alec Peters’ girlfriend CRYSSTAL HUBBARD for nearly two years, and they’ve tried on many occasions to sabotage the Axanar production itself by doing things which include:
1) When Alec was still trying to rent out Industry Studios in Valencia, CA to help pay the rent, detractors posted multiple fake, negative yelp reviews saying things like, “When we filmed there, we could smell rat feces.”
2) After the announcement of OWC Digital sponsoring the new Axanar studio in Lawrenceville, GA, detractors contacted OWC directly via tweet, e-mail, and social media criticizing their association with Alec Peters.
3) One detractor even went up to GARY GRAHAM’s autograph table at a Star Trek convention and tried to talk him OUT of returning to play Soval in the upcoming Axanar 2-part film. Yes, that really happened…as Gary later told Alec about the conversation.
4) And as I covered in a blog interview with former detractor JOE DIAZ, folks in the Axamonitor Facebook group recently tried to sabotage the so-called “garage kitters” by reporting them to CBS simply because one of these hobbyist folks decided to release a customized model of a starship from Prelude to Axanar.
So yes, that’s all very troubling to me and many others…and it certainly makes the detractors look a hundred times worse than anything they accuse Alec Peters of doing.
But what’s even MORE troubling to me is what Shawn O’Halloran did NOT say…
Notice that the catalyst for this message wasn’t the harassing of Alec and/or his supporters but rather the harassment of FAMILY MEMBERS. In other words, it’s okay to harass Alec and his supporters, but the red line is apparently family members. Harassment = okay (just keep it to Alec Peters and his supporters).
You say I’m overreacting? Shawn didn’t really say that? Well, let’s take a look at what he DID say: “There is no excuse for EVER contacting someone’s family member because they’re a vocal supporter of Peters…” Now let’s look at what he did NOT say: anything about harassment of Alec Peters himself or his supporters being inappropriate…only against “family members.” Shawn didn’t mention any problem with cyber-bullying of Alec and his supporters directly.
And that’s because he and the detractors do it…a lot.
Let me tellya, folks, these guys can be pretty cruel. And believe it or not, family members can be targets, too…even if contacting them directly is a “no-no.” Take a look at what was posted to the Axanamonitor Facebook group last week…
Notice how only one person spoke up to say anything to admonish both Terry and Gabe…and it wasNOT group administrator/owner Carlos Pedraza. Nope, Carlos just told folks to Google a picture of Lane’s spouse. So one would assume Carlos was perfectly fine with a conversation that made fun of not only me but also my wife Wendy (who, for the record, is actually quite attractive, very sweet, and also a wonderful mother to our son…and no, Gabe, I don’t have diabetes).
Their Facebook group is usually fine with such things. In fact, they revel in it and cheer each other on…and the more lewd and hurtful, the more they love it.
But if you think about it a little more, you might stop and ask yourself the following profoundly obvious question:
WHAT EXACTLY DID JONATHAN LANE DO TO DESERVE THIS?
Really, think about it.
I never crowd-funded anything, nor did I pay myself a “salary.” At most, my son and I were treated to lunch one day in exchange for spending six hours sorting patches, folding posters, and stuffing envelopes. I’ve never lied about anything (or if I’ve published something wrong, I’ve quickly posted a correction). And for the most part, I try to be polite and civil to the vast majority of folks (even most detractors, who seldom offer me the same courtesy)…and I never call people names or swear at them.
So what did I do to merit the taunts, insults, and harassment of the detractors? I’ll tell you what I did:
I disagreed with them!
I stood by my friend Alec, defended him, and stayed loyal to the project and the people behind Axanar.
And worse than that, I held firm to my convictions despite every argument the detractors could throw at me. (Did you know that GABE KOERNER still e-mails me every few weeks with yet another ridiculous attempt to convince me that Alec is nefarious or incompetent or something similarly nasty…and this has been going on for over a year now? Give it up, man!)
Even worse, I’ve had the audacity to dispute and even correct much of the detractors’ misinformation and to counter their most outrageous accusations with actual facts…again and again and again and again.
And worst of all, I write a blog. I’m not simply defending Alec Peters and Axanar in some quiet out-of-the-way corner of the Internet where no one will ever read my words. My blog posts are getting thousands of views and dozens of comments. I am loud and proud as I stand up for Alec.
And for this, my wife gets compared to a Wookiee. How mature.
To the detractors’ credit, after a couple of days, someone did take those comments down. But I notice that nowhere in Shawn O’Halloran’s “shame on you!” announcement does he say anything about Terry and Gabe’s nasty comments about “Slow” Lane and his wife that were made just days earlier.
Now, I want you to understand that I am NOT suggesting that everyone who has a beef with Alec Peters and/or Axanar acts in morally reprehensible ways. There are many detractors who generally behave themselves and simply disagree with how Alec decided to spend the money donated to the Axanar project.
But these same detractors typically remain silent while the schoolyard bullies gleefully do their dirty work. In the screen cap above, only one person stood up to Terry (thank you, Duane). Another, Edward Darlow (who frequency comments to this blog), almost stood up to Terry but then quickly backed down.
And that’s really the problem, isn’t it? The detractors have created a toxic environment for themselves where standing up to the bullies simply isn’t worth the hassle. No one wants the bullies to suddenly turn on them, as happened recently with the garage kit incident. So the inmates run the asylum, and bad behavior is either ignored, tolerated, or worse yet, often encouraged and cheered on by the other bullies.
So it’s no wonder that one of their own thought it would be okay to set up a fake “sock puppet” account (possibly more than one) and harass Axanar supporters’ family members with crass and unwelcome IMs. Sorry, Shawn, but you detractors have created a monster…and it might indeed be too late to get that monster back under control.
It’s obvious that Shawn posted his “outrage” as a way to make the detractors appear somehow righteous and morally superior. But in reality, the opposite is true…and his own words betray him and his group as he condemns ONLY the direct harassment of “family members” of Axanar supporters while voicing NO such disapproval for the harassment and cyber-bullying behavior being practiced on the Axanar supporters themselves.
Cyber-bullying is NEVER acceptable, folks. Never. I don’t care how the detractors try to justify it by saying that Alec and his supporters somehow deserve this vile treatment. It’s just wrong…period.
So I found Shawn’s pontificating post to be both disingenuous and outright hypocritical. As former detractor Joe Diaz IM’d to me after he read Shawn’s comment: “It’s not harassment when they are going after a group….but oh man…this guy is doing a bad thing so let’s all jump on the ‘for shame’ bandwagon so we make ourselves feel better. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.”
Actually, if you ask me, the pot is much blacker than the kettle when it comes to the detractors’ behavior. Whatever “crimes” they feel were committed by Alec Peters, their own actions are reprehensibly worse by orders of magnitude. They purposefully mock, insult, and bully others. That’s not some vague concept of alleged copyright infringement against a multi-billion dollar corporation. That’s not deciding to build a studio rather than renting one. That’s not being late on delivering perks or buying sushi lunches and new tires. That’s maliciously hurting others…and the detractors are reveling in it.
They applaud these online attacks on individuals. They cheer attempts to sabotage a fan film that thousands of people donated to. (Really, Shawn, trying to talk Gary Graham out of appearing in the upcoming Axanar fan film? Who does that?) They publicly mock, belittle, taunt, accuse, and yes, HARASS people who have chosen to stick with Alec Peters and support him. They only draw the line at directly harassing “family members”…and even then, they seem to be perfectly fine with insulting spouses (well, except for Duane Browning…thanks again, dude).
If you’re a detractor like Duane who ISN’T proud of this kind of cyber-bullying behavior, if you think it cheapens the very cause you signed onto by making your group look a hundred times worse than Alec Peters, then I challenge you to STAND UP to the cyber-bullying when you see it happening. Your silence indicates tacit support and approval…and I think you know that.
My words here today will mean nothing to to the bullies—and I’m sure you’ll see those same kinds of snarky and vitriolic comments posted all over the Axamonitor Facebook page (and likely elsewhere) before the day is even half over.
But YOUR words, stepping forward to say, “Hey, this is NOT okay—cut it out!” have power. And sure, the bullies will probably turn on you just like they did with Joe Diaz when he spoke up. And if it’s only one or two of you, this kind of malicious behavior will surely go on. But that’s why everyone needs to speak up. You DO have the power to overcome the bullies.
And if it’s true that only a few bad seeds are tainting the detractors’ reputation and blunting the impact of your arguments, and if enough members of your detractor community speak up, then you can force these childish and toxic low-lifes to either clean up their acts or slink back under their rocks.
Detractors, it’s your choice.