Social media can be a fantastic thing for celebrities. It brings them closer to fans, allows fans a little glimpse of their lives, and keeps us up to date on all of the film and TV projects that they are working on.
It's also a minefield.
With thousands, if not millions, of fans scrutinizing every post, everything has to be carefully phrased and edited to ensure that it's as inoffensive as possible. Many stars have been raked across the coals for ill-phrased Tweets or a politically incorrect Facebook status. Some even choose to leave these public platforms due to the overwhelming amount of negativity - including king of the nerds, Joss Whedon, who publicly quit twitter earlier this year after a slew of angry fans attacked him over his latest film, Avengers: Age of Ultron. (He later stated that he left to gain a little space for creativity, but many maintain that it was a reaction to angry and negative Tweets.)
That's why I was glad to see social-media-star Stephen Amell bite back at a particularly rude critic this week in a long Facebook post that reminded fans that actors are real people, and that while it's easy to judge from afar, maybe it's time to stop being quite so hyper critical and give celebrities a bit of a break.
He starts off by posting the original comment and, ever the hero, wonderfully makes a point of saying that the person doesn't need to be named, shamed, or attacked by other fans.
This person is taking issue with me ribbing Royals fans and saying they probably did something illegal in my bid to get someone else elected to the ASG. Here you go:
"Ooh! I've got a new flashback scene for you Stephen! It was back to when you used your celebrity status to help deserving charities as a genuine philanthropist. Snap to now, when you use it for a pointless baseball game and to shit all over your Kansas City fanbase. Folks who spent money to support your philanthropic movements that you now flip the bird to. You have failed this fanbase. Great power = great responsibility. Hero 101. Stop using yours like a douchebag."
For those who aren't aware, Amell is currently running a campaign to have Josh Donaldson elected to the All Star Game. It's a fun sports campaign that lets Amell share his passion for baseball, and while some superhero fans are less than thrilled to see it taking over his Facebook page, there are plenty of sports fans who are thrilled to see how much he loves the game.
Clearly, whoever penned the comment that caused all this furor is not one of them. Presumably a Kansas City fan, he takes serious (and foul-mouthed) issue with the star's good-natured ribbing. Hilariously enough, this is baseball we are talking about - a sport where the in-game heckling is world famous!
The Arrow star was quick to point out that trash-talking other teams is a fan tradition, and that it's perfectly possible to diss a team without dissing the city they are from. (And reminding us all that the Maple Leafs do, indeed, suck.)
Part of being a sports fan is making fun of other fan bases. As a matter of fact, I think it might be one of the first rules. You know who I make fun of more than anyone? The Toronto Maple Leafs. Why? Because they're awful. And... I'm FROM Toronto. It's not a commentary on the city (love TO) or the fan base (AWESOME FANS). It's a commentary on management and player personnel decisions. If you can't see the difference, I don't know what to tell you.
He also makes the decision to stand by his statement - clarifying it to make sure that residents of Kansas City know that he has no beef with them, but absolutely refusing to back down on his original opinion.
Hey Kansas City Royals fans? Say it out loud: YOU ALMOSY CERTAINLY CHEATED AND YOU WERE ALMOST CERTAINLY CAUGHT. You all know this. Here's what I haven't said: GREAT EFFING JOB!! I applaud your effort. If it were the Jays, I'd be fiercely defending the ingenuity.
While I'm usually all for people in the public eye rolling out the PR-department-approved apologies for really big gaffes, I was actually really thrilled to see Amell sticking to his guns. His Facebook page has always come across as authentically "him", and I would hate to see that change. So would he, apparently.
This is my page. I run it. Exclusively. If you want generic opinions written by PR companies, there are plenty of those pages available. The upside - or downside if you have the emotional capacity of an overtired toddler - is that I actually say what's on my mind. Here's the best part about that: I'm not always right, but I don't always have to be. They're just opinions. So I can stick by them. Every once and a while, I make a mistake, this was not one of those times.
Some fans may disagree, of course. Clearly, the original commenter didn't feel that this was some good-natured ribbing between sports lovers, and there may have been some offended fans in Kansas City. That said, he has made it clear that this one isn't something he's going to see as a faux pas.
This is probably made somewhat easier by the fact that he is such an avid poster, conveying his overall positive and caring attitude every day. It's much easier to see this kind of posting as a joke when it is clear from past videos, campaigns and statuses that he is truly appreciative of all his fans.
He also gets a little bit of sass going toward the end of his (long) post, as he points out that - as the original comment pointed out - he's done some seriously charitable stuff. He has completed two incredible fundraising campaigns for Fuck Cancer and Sinceriously, as well as encouraging friends to do the same. It's no secret that Paul Blackthorne's Poach Eggs Not Elephants and Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki's Always Keep Fighting campaigns were inspired by the Arrow star.
It's campaigns like this that make him such an inspiration, and there's little doubt in my mind that he has a right to get short-tempered when someone suggests that actually, that's just not good enough.
Over the past 11 months - with no prior experience whatsoever - I have conceived of, organized, initiated and executed five separate charitable campaigns (and numerous smaller campaigns through donating signed items and NP Parties) that have raised in excess of two million dollars. Why? Because I felt like it. So I'm terribly sorry if I felt like dabbling in a new arena. My bad.
He wraps up in defense of his fan community, and with a reminder that Facebook isn't life or death.
If you think I'm failing in this endeavor, you're wrong. We - as a community on Facebook - do not fail. Is it sort of stupid? Sure. Does it actually matter in the grand scheme of things? Nope. Does everyone deserve a break now and then to peruse and pursue things they find entertaining? They do, they do.