Online Bullying & Criss Angel’s “Loyal” Fan Base
I know, sitting here writing this piece is probably not worthy of my time. However, I know I must write it properly, and do it justice, in order to put it to rest. I always hoped that my words might mean something to someone, or that I could possibly change the course that a situation was taking, and move it in a more positive direction. One thing you cannot do, in this life, is control other people. You can try to appeal to their sensibilities, but if they are condoning wrong behavior or being ignorant to what is going on, there comes a point you must release it if your warnings are not heeded.
I will spare you the details of why or how I became a Criss Angel fan. If you have been or are currently a fan, your reasons will probably be similar to mine. I can say that I have been a fan for several years and that I considered myself a die-hard. I can tell you that, while I have not been able to pour money into buying tickets to see his live Las Vegas show, Believe, I have offered my monetary support in countless other ways. Emotionally, I have been invested just as much as the next “Loyal” (the name he calls his fans).
I will pause a bit in the story to tell you that, from all outward appearances, Criss Angel is a very fan-friendly guy. With only a little bit of digging, you can find evidence of him posing for pictures with fans, hugging them & interacting with them. I think, for the most part, Criss is a really personable guy. He seems to have a big heart. I would say that, besides his talent, this is one of the reasons I had gravitated towards him. I think, because of the way he appears to be is what makes this so difficult to write.
I was diagnosed at a young age (before the age of 40) with Breast Cancer back in 2010. This is not going to be a story about that; my personal story regarding that road that I am still traveling down is yet to be told by me. I will touch on the subject because Criss Angel was the ONLY celebrity that I felt a connection to while I was scared out of my mind fighting cancer. His father had passed from cancer back in 1998, and I think the loss of his father played a big transformation in Criss. He is also well-known for his kindnesses towards Make A Wish Kids who are terminally ill. Criss Angel has always been these kids’ Knight In Shining Armor who has provided them with comfort, joy and encouragement. I felt a kinship with him. Since he has always been a very personable and active presence on Twitter, I tried to get his attention. Too many nights I was suffering from the effects if chemo, or shaking with terror in the middle of the night, not able to sleep. We get our comfort and inspiration where we can find it, and I sought it from him. At the time, I had many people championing to get his attention. Because the tumor was so large, my doctors opted to shrink it with chemo prior to surgery. We were trying to save my breast😢. As a result, I did not know what stage I was.
I did finally get his attention after a year of trying - with the help of many. It was so difficult because I had to watch him answer people with trivial questions and birthday wishes & whatnot. I felt ignored & like I did not matter. I certainly did not think I was more deserving and I knew he had a lot of followers & was busy. I just could not understand why he did not see me or anyone else who was in my corner helping me. One of the things he said to me, besides good wishes, was for me not to hold it against him; that he answered people randomly. While this MIGHT have been plausible back then, this changed when he picked out one German fan to do his promotion online & she received all kinds of special privileges. What happened was some chronic type of favoritism that has pretty much divided his fan base, and caused people, including me, to stop following him on Twitter (& other social media).
This girl would get her tweets answered on a consistent basis. She got followed by him once in the past and now he is following her again (there are very few fans Criss Angel follows). It appears he is taking turns following people, but to give someone another chance when so many have not had a single chance? He used to do a Saturday where he connected once a month with his fans called Loyal Saturday. The first time he did this was on a Sunday, as a Skype-like chat in which I actually got to talk to him. That is the closest I came to meeting him. The format and day was then changed to a Saturday after technical difficulties and it became a situation where this girl got a shout-out every week, by either Criss or his team. Words describing her as the “best” were being thrown around. She got her video questions answered constantly and even won a contest to meet Criss & his team. If that was not enough, she mysteriously ended up going to Vegas last summer and getting comp tickets for shows and backstage access to Criss. It was becoming as though Criss had His Fan and then Everyone Else. I am a very sensitive person by nature, and I have dealt with favoritism in every aspect of my life: family, friends, school, the work place - and now this. I was seeing other people posting their hurt and pain. One of his Make A Wish Kids even wondered if he had forgotten about her.
Things started to get ugly behind the scenes. Anytime anyone would speak out and try to respectfully tell Criss how unfair this was, that person would get some kind of boomerang effect that resembled someone trying to control a group of people. This girl had HER own fan pages and followers and had people make fake accounts and spy on people, as well as being told who not to talk to. So, if you spoke up you were ostracized or bullied. I would have people ignore me when I tried to start a conversation with people or pay a compliment. Then, the bullying came. Just today, I had someone tell me to shut the f***k up or she would make me. A few months ago I had someone threaten to “kick my ass”. I watched the deplorable way my best friend was treated by this girl, publicly on Twitter for all to see. I saw her dump her best friend cruelly. Another friend of mine was told she should die & was accused of faking her very real family problems for attention by a follower (this only days ago). People have been HURT by these actions and no one is supposed to say anything.
Well, I have had enough. I reached my breaking point today. I filled out a report via Twitter to report the bullying & abuse & locked up my account to prevent “spies” from following me. I have removed my support of Criss Angel from any social media outlet that I was previously supporting him on. This chronic behavior has been going on since I was being treated for cancer & I am a 3 1/2 year Survivor. I have had countless people approach me PRIVATELY but very few will stand by me PUBLICLY due to FEAR OF BEING BULLIED & ABUSED. I cannot support someone who stays ignorant & condones this behavior. It breaks my heart. I am not jealous - nor do I need to grow up. I have faced monsters & fears people do not even know about. I have had loss and grief that have been unrelenting.
I would NEVER want to take this girl’s place; I would never allow myself to be in that position because I would not want to hurt people that much. I WOULD speak up and say - I am flattered but I have had my turn with you, Mr. Criss Angel. I have had experiences some get only once, if ever, in a lifetime with you. I will cherish these forever & I thank you from the bottom of my heart for these experiences. You, however, are only one man with only so much time in a day. Please make someone else’s heart sing and give them a chance. Maybe someone lost a loved one. Maybe there is someone dealing with severe financial ruin. Maybe someone is battling a life-threatening disease. Maybe another feels suicidal and you would be that beam of light that saves them. Your fan base is filled with heroes who deserve to be celebrated. Everyone shows their support in their own unique ways. Someone who hijacks your time line with promo, sucking all the personable quality out of your page that used to be there - that is not the “only” way to show your support. We are all special; yet none of us are special. THAT is what I would say to him. No man or woman is an island & what started as a Loyal Family has been fractured & people have been left to feel hurt & distrustful.
So - I must say goodbye to you at this time, Criss. You meant a lot to me - as you have to many. I just cannot hurt anymore & I cannot have this negative influence on my health. One day, if things change & I am still alive in this world breathing, I may come back - but only if things are different. If Equality, Love, Humor, and Peace become the theme of Loyal Kingdom, then I shall return. One, or even a small group of fans can not support your career alone - it’s the team of all of those unique people whom you call Loyal who makes the difference.
Facebook Status & Needing Prayers
I have stepped away from all Social Media recently. I have not wanted to share my pain & worries, for one. Sometimes I feel very alone in what I am going through. The fight does not seem to end - there is always some ignorance to overcome and red tape that has to be slashed. There is always some competition, mistrust or unfairness somewhere.
I found some upsetting news greeting me this morning as I was perusing my accounts. One of these nuggets of news is that a CEO of a Breast Cancer Charity makes six figures. So, we have an individual who is getting rich off cancer. Yet, someone like me, who had to deal with kicking cancer’s ass personally, has been rewarded with poverty. Breast cancer ruined me financially, and I am swimming in worry on a daily basis. My body & health never bounced back either; making it just about impossible to work at this time.
I think it is coming close to telling my own personal story. Life after cancer is not always a return to your Former Awesome Self. I need a good forum to write this story because I deserve to be heard. I need a really good blogging site that has a high flow of traffic. I do not think Tumblr is going to do it for me. If anyone knows a good, popular blogging site - or even to run a story by someone who would publish it …
I am going to end this post with asking for your prayers. I desperately need them at this time for the catastrophic financial issues I have been facing and for the health/post traumatic stress issues my body and mind have been fighting against.