We recently got a free trial for Now TV movies, meaning that as well as hitting the flicks to use our Cineworld Unlimited card we also are making the most of watching films on TV. On Friday, the film Trainwreck was added, which I was really happy about, as I wanted to see it when it came out but missed it at the cinema. When I saw it had been added though, it reminded me of a story, which I thought would make an interesting blog.
Trainwreck was released in July 2015. It its opening weekend, John Russell Houser walked into a movie theatre (the Grand) in Louisiana, entered a screening of Trainwreck, and opened fire. He shot dead two women and injured 9 others before turning the gun on himself. Now, I didn’t know much about the film’s writer and star Amy Schumer before this, but I knew she was a funny lady (similar to my heroines Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling) and that her first movie outing had been marked by such a horrific event. ‘She must be so upset!’ I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to tweet her to show my support.’ When I arrived at Schumer’s twitter page she had (of course) tweeted about the event.
Now, I’m going to paraphrase how the conversation I witnessed went, because part of it has since been deleted…
Amy Schumer tweeted “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.” and the first response said “It’s your fault.”
“It’s your fault.”
I was shocked. A nasty event had hit the news and the very first reply on the writer/star’s twitter – a comment she would almost certainly see – was this cold, simple accusation. But that wasn’t the comment that inspired this blog. The Schumer fans went to town on this moron. They took this guy to pieces about his disgraceful comment. An he replied. He said (paraphrasing, sorry) “Chill out, I was just trying to get her attention.”
He blamed the woman for the murder of two women and the injury of 9 people, carried out by a random psycho TO GET HER ATTENTION. What the holy flip?! Well, it certainly would get her attention, but what good will that do? What was his end game? So, theory one: he wanted her to tweet back something volatile so he could publish it in a “oooh look at me! I wound Amy Schumer up so much she lost the plot!” type of way. Theory two: he thought she might be so devastated she’d message him and say “yeah you’re right; will you come to my penthouse and comfort me?” The only other theory I’ve got, we’ll I’m not sharing that, because it’s horrible and I’m not writing it down.
“Not all stupid comments become a Dave Gorman found poem, to be laughed at and ridiculed.”
And the reason I’m telling this story is this sort of behaviour is all too common, particularly in the comments sections of the internet. People use this area to vent nasty bile at celebrities, or just at random strangers who have committed some crime (disagreeing with their political opinion, not liking the same film as them, being in possession of ovaries – heinous activity!) It makes me angry – not all stupid comments become a Dave Gorman found poem, to be laughed at and ridiculed. Some are hurtful, targeted and just plain nasty. I myself once had a comment aimed at me after I discussed my opinion on a particular comic book front cover and a bloke said he wished he could ‘drill a hole in [my] skull and rape it’. Because I didn’t like the cover of an issue of Teen Titans. I have to say, I feel this was an overreaction…
The other issue I have is that the ‘blame’ when people get upset or angry at these types of comments tends to fall into the lap of the victim. I have read that Amy Schumer ‘deserved’ these types of comments, because she put herself out there on social media. My good friend Anna Sugar’s health was deeply affected by dickheads making comments about her online, and when the story was featured in the Daily Fail, many of the comments essentially said she deserved it for having a public profile. However, surely the sane thing to say would be “don’t be a dick.” Not to the victim, of course, but to the person who makes the nasty comment. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t disagree with anything that people say online, but what I am saying is that if you’re going to (a) blame someone for a murder; (b) wish death on someone; (c) threaten to rape someone (or any part of them); or (d) anything on a par with a,b or c – don’t do it, because you’re being a dick.
And if you’re being a dick, it’s no one’s fault but yours.