Things in the Teen Wolf fandom are, admittedly, almost always an unbearable shitstorm of hate, with fans doing everything from using offensive slurs against cast members to calling for their rape and murder. This is not representative of everyone in the Teen Wolf fandom, but I will not lie when I say the best advice that I can give to someone new to the fandom is: find a few cool people to follow on Tumblr and then stay the fuck out of the tags. There is nothing but hate there. But while this sort of bullshit tends to be the norm in this fandom, the past few days have been utterly unbearable.
What caused utter anarchy to fall upon the Teen Wolf fandom? Simply this: an interviewer decided to ask Tyler Posey, Tyler Hoechlin, and Holland Roden yet another tiresome question about the Sterek pairing, and Posey gave a honest answer about his feelings toward the ship.
His comment about Sterek begins at 1:29.
Since then, Posey has received a deluge of hate and even death threats from shippers who were hurt by what he said. But what really grinds my gears is that
what started out as a crack ship has gained so much power that the Teen Wolf Powers That Be have chosen to support it over their lead actor, Tyler Posey. And that is so far beyond the pale that I cannot even contain my rage.
First, let’s talk about what Posey said in the video, because we on this site have talked about other celebrities and writers who have said similar things, and we have almost always taken the side of the fandom. Why am I taking Posey’s side here? Well, Posey’s comments are different from, say, Steven Moffat’s queerbaiting, where he has said John and Sherlock are “definitely a love story” but “if [Sherlock were gay] he wouldn’t fancy John”. Tyler Posey doesn’t have the power to make Sterek happen. Nor is this similar to the time when, at a Supernatural convention, a girl who admitted to being bisexual tried to ask about Dean’s potential bisexuality and was booed by the fans. Tyler Posey was not asked about Stiles’s bisexuality; the interview did not start with a question about Sterek in terms of gay representation or any such thing. The interviewer simply asked for Posey’s thoughts on Sterek, and Posey gave an honest answer.
Now let’s address what Posey said:
I think Sterek is a bizarre, weird, twisted thing, and I think that anyone who pays more attention to Sterek than the show, um, isn’t watching the show for the right reasons.
may actually be bizarre, weird, and twisted, but hey, that’s okay if that’s what you want to ship. I think sometimes, as fans, we get way too caught up in our fanon ships and we get so convinced that “our precious babies love each other” that we forget about the actual canon facts surrounding the ship. And while what Posey says shouldn’t affect your shipping Sterek or how you watch the show, there are certainly a lot of problems with the Sterek pairing. When I first heard about the show, people acted like this ship was practically canon, but Stiles and Derek barely share any actual screen time together.
In the current season, Season 3B, Derek and Stiles haven’t even been in the same room together, and yet according to Tumblr, everything from Derek’s shirt color to how Stiles parted his hair was apparently about Sterek, even though in this season Derek has both called Stiles weak and insulted his intelligence. Derek and Stiles have both said they wanted to kill each other in the past. Admittedly, the two have grown up a lot and don’t seem to want to kill each other now, but they aren’t even really allies half the time. Derek also physically abuses Stiles, but it’s played off for laughs.
On top of this, the large age difference brings up the question of consent. And while I normally wouldn’t care too much about these issues in a fanon ship, the fact that fans want Sterek to be a canon ship makes them valid issues. Too many ignorant people equate pedophila/ephebophilia with homosexuality as it is; we don’t need to promote that. It’s important that if Sterek were to become canon that it would grow into a healthy and consensual relationship, not a relationship that would cause Sheriff Stilinski to arrest Derek for statutory rape. We don’t need those kinds of queer relationships to become canon. So as of right now, anyway, I’d say Sterek is pretty twisted. Basically, we need a little more pairings like Cecil/Carlos (from the excellent Welcome to Night Vale) and a little less like Lolita.
Additionally, Posey’s character Scott McCall is constantly marginalized and erased all for the sake of this non-canon, potentially unhealthy “representation”, which probably does come off as twisted to Posey. It’s important to point out the race issue in all of this. And while I can already feel you guys getting ready to type “not liking Posey or Scott doesn’t make me a racist”, the fact is the PoC lead of this show, Tyler Posey, constantly sees his character being passed over for two white dudes.
With constant calls from fans to kill off Scott and make Stiles the main character (since long before this incident), it certainly doesn’t seem like the fans care about representation for people of color like Posey. But when this is pointed out, Sterek fans tend to ignore this and other issues surrounding Posey’s race. Racism doesn’t always present itself in violence and outright bigotry, and constantly passing over Scott for the white characters is a microaggression that shouldn’t be ignored. Add to that the Sterek fandom’s long history of shutting people down when those people call them out on this type of bullshit, and you begin to have a perpetuated pattern of harmful and offensive behavior.
Posey claimed if you watched the show just for Sterek, then you are watching it for the wrong reasons. And while it doesn’t matter if you watch because you like Sterek, watching just for Sterek has certainly seemed to be the source of many of the Teen Wolf fandom’s problems in the past. Fans threatened to boycott one episode of Season 3A because Derek was hooking up with Jennifer Blake in that episode, even though an actual canon queer couple, Danny and Ethan, were going to be in that same episode. Female characters—Heather, Cora, Lydia, and Jennifer Blake, just to name a few—have been the targets of extreme sexism merely because they “got in the way” of Sterek, and I suspect Malia will experience the same issues soon.
On top of this, and probably the reason for Tyler’s comment, Tyler Posey and his character, Scott McCall, receive extreme hate all in the name of Sterek. Scott has been accused of raping Derek, being a bad friend, and being a worthless character who needs to be written off the show and replaced with Stiles. (If you need a source for all these things, you can find all of them, and sadly more, here.) Tyler Posey has been ignored, dismissed, and in some instances downright hated simply for being the lead actor in his own show.
And that’s nothing compared to what Tyler Posey is getting now. Aja Romano, a writer for The Daily Dot and a voice for fandom whom I usually respect, added fuel to the fire when she implied that Posey said all this because he was jealous of Dylan and Sterek. And of course, we have the lovely Sterek fans on Tumblr. Let’s see what they have to say:
Anonymous asked: ill fucking show you awful human beings: posey needs to be raped by hoechlin until he makes a public apology. (not the owner of that blog but i do agree with them) (source)
Fans have also asserted that Tyler Posey is homophobic because he stood up for himself after being constantly put down by Sterek fans. This is despite the fact that, previously, he has talked about Scott/Stiles with Dylan O’Brien, shown nothing but support for Scott/Isaac, and even joked about the fake Twitter child he apparently had with Colton Haynes. So it doesn’t seem at all like Posey hates or is even uncomfortable with slash pairings in general—his reaction was specifically about Sterek.
Fan reactions got so bad that Posey himself was receiving death threats and his mother, who is going through chemo, felt the need to say something about it.
This kind of attitude is utterly disgusting and appalling. To make matters even worse, now Sterek fans are saying that Posey isn’t getting death threats, but rather that these death threats are being “made up” by anti-Sterek people to make Sterek shippers look bad. I guess Posey’s mother is just trying to make Sterek look bad, right, guys? And before you comment on this post and say “not all Sterek fans are like this” and “please stop stereotyping us”, I want to say this—clearly enough of you are like this or things wouldn’t have gotten this bad. Even if this is just an extremely vocal minority, if Sterek fans are worrying more about defending themselves and pointing out how they “aren’t like that”, that attitude isn’t helping. If you want to prove you are a Sterek fan who “isn’t like this”, then defend Posey and keep this vocal minority in check. Don’t stand for this kind of behavior in the fandom.
And to be fair, I have seen plenty of people talk about how they are Sterek fans and have stood up for Tyler Posey and against behavior like this. And to all of you—thank you. You are good people doing the right thing.
Sadly, however, the people in charge of Teen Wolf don’t seem to fully understand how bad this issue has gotten. The official Teen Wolf Tumblr added even more fuel to the fire when they reblogged this post by colethewolf, one of Tumblr’s most well-known Sterek shippers.
This picture was included along with quotes supporting Sterek from almost every member of the cast and Jeff Davis. Tyler Posey was noticeably absent despite the fact that Posey had said nothing unsupportive of Sterek until a few days ago. Whether those in control of the Teen Wolf blog realized it or not, they had just supported a non-canonical ship over their human lead actor. By posting this, The Powers That Be seemed to be saying that Posey was in the wrong, and while it didn’t directly condone the threats he’s getting, it certainly didn’t help.
And if you think this is an isolated incident, think again. This isn’t the first time that the Teen Wolf TPTB has thrown one of their own actors under the bus. During Season 2, #killallison trended worldwide and was retweeted by the official Teen Wolf Twitter, because they were impressed with the fans’ “passion”.
Furthermore, during an interview where Tyler, Dylan, and Crystal were asked to answer questions via Twitter, the question “Why does Allison dress like a slut this season?” was selected as a good question to have Crystal answer. I think Teen Wolf’s TPTB, in their eagerness to be loved, are courting the wrong fucking fans. (Read about these issues in more depth here.)
The Teen Wolf Powers That Be and the fans all hail Teen Wolf as this progressive show for people of color, women, and especially queer people. The phrases “this show is a gift” and “Jeff Davis is a gift” have been thrown around a lot. But Teen Wolf is far from progressive if this is how those in charge, and their fans, behave. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. I’m ashamed to be a part of this fandom.
I stand with Tyler Posey.
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