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Editorials

Not All Zack Snyder Fans Are Toxic

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As you might have recently heard, Diane Nelson, former President of DC Entertainment, has deleted her Twitter account due to a strong backlash to her tweet supporting Todd Phillips’ new Joker film. The resentment did not spur from her support, but rather from her follow up sentence. Here’s her tweet: “LOVE IT! Great story, great actor, specific and strong vision from talented director. What DC should have been doing since Nolan. Even if die hard fans struggle with his vision.”

At first glance, it appears to be a slight dig at director Zack Snyder and his DC films since he took over directing duties after Christopher Nolan finished The Dark Knight Rises (and was an Executive Producer on Man of Steel). Even so, she replied to a comment when pressed about it with the following: “I happen to count Zack Snyder among those things, if you are insinuating otherwise. No snake here.”

I’m not here to pinpoint blame on one person or another, since plenty of blame is going around anyway. Instead, there are people out there – true fans – that need support and deserve be heard.

In case you have been living in a Batcave for the past five years, many people in both media and fandom have been disappointed in Snyder’s films and have been quite vocal about it. On the other hand, when it comes to the others out there that have enjoyed his films (with me being one of them), there has been a public misrepresentation of a fan base based solely on a rebellious, anger-filled minority within the fan base itself that sheds a dark light on the entire fan community.

Whether or not you believe the “Snyder Zealots” were out of line with their backlash to Nelson’s tweets, there have been other numerous incidents in which this small corner of the DC fan base have caused media controversy. But let’s not also forget to point out that this kind of behavior has not been exclusively expressed by fans of DC. Hardcore fans of Star Wars have chased both Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie-Tran off of social media. In addition, Spider-Man: Homecoming actor Tony Revolori, portraying a Flash Thompson of different ethnicity than traditionally known for in the comics or on-screen adaptations, was sent death threats by hardcore Marvel fans and Millie Bobby Brown of Netflix’s Stranger Things has endured similar cyber hate as well.

Enough with the bad apples. Let us turn our attention to the good apples – specifically with fans of Zack Snyder. Yes, believe it or not, there are fans of Snyder that are not filled with rage and can show passion with compassion.

If you are also not aware, the negative behaviors of film critics and fans toward Snyder and his films led to him abandoning his Twitter account some time ago. However, this may have been the best thing possible for him. Snyder, along with legendary film photographer and good friend, Clay Enos, decided to jump over to Vero, the ad-free, photography-based social media app.

Since joining Vero, they have both been proactive about sharing insight into the films they have worked on as well as a look into their personal lives. Some examples include: sitting in coffee shops, getting an occasional glance into the fascinating Office of Snyder, and behind-the-scenes photos and storyboards of their films.

One of the best parts about this is that it allows Snyder a place to interact with his fans. Allow me to amend myself: true fans. Many fans ask him thousands of bizarre questions and express support with each new post. Thankfully for his fans, he has been interactive and replies to a number of comments. This often leads to headlines from other news outlets reporting about his replies – like the newest one about Batman potentially dying at the end of Snyder’s intended run with the DCEU – which is only a testament to his films’ iconography as well as his own.

Some of the great ways Snyder’s true fans have expressed themselves on Vero – and also Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for that matter – have involved tributes, articles, podcasts, rallying for more creative control for filmmakers with the “Release the Snyder Cut” campaign, and even a competition to dissect the potential Easter eggs and references within Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with 10 lucky winners receiving prizes from Snyder himself. One of them our boy John Garza.

Snyder is surely one of the most well-known and iconic film directors in Hollywood for his unique style to visual filmmaking. He has been met with harsh, unwarranted hate towards his films, particularly his DC films, but has conducted himself with class and integrity. He refuses to get involved with “haters” and has inspired the majority of his fans to do the same.

Yes, sometimes our heroes need us to stand up and support them, but the majority of fans know not to cross that fine line. Unfortunately, a minor amount of fans backed into a corner came out swinging with everything they have. They appear to be extremely vocal and have no rationality for their actions and the impact they have on others. It makes all DC fans look bad, but I implore you to look a little further. Dive in just a little deeper into the depths of Atlantis. It is not all that dark.

Did you know that there was a fundraiser campaign led by Sheraz Farooqi, founder of Comic Book Debate and passionate DC fan, to raise funds for kids attending an inner-city school in the Bronx to see Marvel’s Black Panther? Did you know that well-respected comic book fan, Jesabel, has endured unfair and unacceptable treatment not only from a well-known film scooper, but also the company of Twitter and even recently from the Washington Post? Did I also forget to mention the critically-acclaimed filmmaker Jay Oliva and everything he has contributed to the DC fan community in terms of honesty, courage, and rationality (in addition to the poor treatment he has received from Twitter folks and even the Washington Post)?

Look, it is acceptable for fans to express their emotions and opinions. No question about it. That goes both ways. What is not acceptable, however, is to categorize an entire fandom as toxic because of a few bad apples. Did Diane Nelson deserve the strong backlash from her tweet? Absolutely not, even if she had not sent out the tweet in support of Zack Snyder. Everyone is entitled to sharing their own opinions as long as they are respectful and civil about it. At the same time, one aspect that gets overlooked quite often is the toxic treatment of DC fans from people that are not fans and have a strong disliking of Snyder’s DC films. In fact, I would put money on the basis that there are more people of that camp than in the “Snyder Zealot” camp.

Nevertheless, there has been a public misrepresentation of DC and Snyder fans that needs to be addressed. I even wrote about it last year from the aspect of strictly DCEU fans over at Cinema Cure, titled “In Defense of DCEU Fans: The Misguided Notion and View of DC Fandom.” If someone enjoys a film, even if it is not “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, what is the harm in letting that person enjoy that film? Simultaneously, if someone does have criticism of a particular filmmaker or film, why can’t that person be allowed to feel that particular way if they are respectful about it? It is a topic that should be given more thought not only by fans, but everyone. It is the only way to move forward towards a better overall film community.