BlackWoman Bitmoji with short afro sitting in tea cup labeled EastEnders Tea, T.Lanette

Are Toxic Fans Ruining EastEnders?

…there is a difference between sharing an opinion and purposely going after an EP because of something you don’t like on the show. That’s when it becomes a personal attack.

T.Lanette

Here we are again saying goodbye to an EastEnders (EE) Executive Producer (EP) and saying hello to a new EP with a new vision for the show. This time our EP, Jon Sen, stayed for three years. He came after John Yorke (2017-2018, 2nd tenure) and Sean O’Connor (2016-2017). During Sen’s tenure, EE has had high points and low points, but overall the show has improved. (Check out Duncan Lindsay’s article.) What hasn’t changed is how some fans respond to the show and the EPs.

EE fans have always been vocal on social media. Fans have an opinion about the storylines, characters, actors, and even the executive producers. Everyone has a right to share their opinions. In fact, I’m sure these opinions have helped to guide the show in some way. However, there is a difference between sharing an opinion and purposely going after an EP because of something you don’t like on the show. That’s when it becomes a personal attack.

Beginning with O’Connor a vocal minority of fans started spending their time complaining specifically about the EP. Some fans were upset about Ronnie & Roxy (The Mitchell Sisters) being killed off the show. “The Bin” storyline that followed added salt to their wound.

It was a very mundane storyline that happens daily in real life. That storyline became the talking point for O’Connor being fired. There were some social media posts that called for O’Connor’s death. (Yeah, it went that far.) Just to be clear, some EE fans were calling for the firing and/or death of another human being because of a hated storyline.

Do these fans not realize that their posts on social media (especially Twitter) were seen by O’Connor and his family? Their comments quickly changed from being constructive about the show to personally attacking a representative of the show.

These fans are saying they hate what their boss produces. That means they are hating what the actors are presenting in these episodes. These working actors aren’t to blame for your need to go after the EP.

T.Lanette

So we are back here again. This time it’s Sen who’s the target. This vocal minority of fans have spent months chanting for his firing. They didn’t like the sound effects (fair point). They didn’t like how the original character returns were acting. (Janine Butcher is older and has a daughter. Of course, she would change.) Some even picked at the scenes like they were hired as scene editors. (How does that one sign of an overpriced item on the Cafe wall make you miss all of the lines the actors said in that scene? ) They’ve also attacked other EE fans who’ve been positive about the show.

What about the actors? The EE actors have put in a tremendous effort especially with Covid19 restrictions. How do you think they feel when they see their fans calling for their boss to be fired for frivolous reasons? These fans are saying they hate what their boss produces. That means they are hating what the actors are presenting in these episodes. These working actors aren’t to blame for your need to go after the EP. I can’t imagine how the actors maintain a positive attitude as they are performing after seeing these fans’ venomous complaints. How would you feel if a group of people dismissed your efforts at work because they hated your boss?

Now we have reached the point where this vocal minority is viewed as representing the typical EE fan because they are loud and constant. Their personal attacks on Sen and previous EPs are seen on Twitter and on other EE fan chat sites. They don’t represent true EastEnders fans. (Yes, I said it.) These posts are not constructive criticism.

True EastEnders fans don’t launch personal attacks on EPs, writers, or actors from the show. We comment on the pacing and drama of storylines. We try to predict the direction of storyline events. We share our thoughts about the characters we like and dislike. We hold the show accountable with comments that are fair and impersonal.

As EastEnders fans, we need to hold that vocal minority accountable. We shouldn’t accept or tolerate their personal attacks on the show’s EP, cast, and crew. That’s negative energy the show doesn’t need. Everyone works hard on EE to give us a show we can enjoy. We can do our part by drowning out toxic fans.


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TLanette

Teacher, writer, web designer, friend, and traveler... I try to experience everything and let go of all that I cannot control.

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