Fans can be great sometimes. Their passion for the things they love can inspire breathtaking artwork and fiction that reflects how a creator's vision has impacted the lives of his or her audience. But in the age of social media, we have seen the dark, cultish side of fandom become more and more prominent. Creators have become the target of abuse and death threats and debate among fans has become more intense and polarizing. Here's a short history of the things that can happen when fans go too far.
In May 2016, it was announced that the video game "No Man's Sky" would have its release date pushed from June to late July or August. Some gamers responded by tweeting death threats to its director, Sean Murray, as well as Jason Schreier, the Kotaku writer who reported the story.
The lead-up to the release of this summer's all-female "Ghostbusters" remake has been filled with hostility. Original "Ghostbusters" star Dan Aykroyd has received aggressive comments after praising the film on social media, and even Patton Oswalt received taunts on Twitter over the recent death of his wife for defending the film.
After creating a shocking twist in the new Captain America series that revealed Steve Rogers was a HYDRA agent, comic book writer Nick Spencer received death threats on social media as well as accusations that he was turning a character created by the Jewish Jack Kirby and Joe Simon into a Nazi ... though the connection between HYDRA and the Nazis is one that has only been established in detail with recent Marvel movies.
After the release of Beyonce's "Lemonade," her fans -- known as the "Beyhive" -- went on a hunt to find the person Jay-Z alleged cheated on her with who was referred to on the album as "Becky with the good hair." They set their sights on Jay-Z's former business partner, Rachel Roy, and attacked her and her daughter with insults and threats on social media.
In 2012, fans of the "Mass Effect" video games revolted en masse at the third game's disappointing ending, which did not fulfill the promise that player choices would affect the outcome of the story. After the backlash escalated to complaints filed to the Better Business Bureau, game studio BioWare announced that changes would be made to the ending.
George R.R. Martin has had a rocky relationship with "Game of Thrones" fans. Martin has said to the press and on his personal blog that he has been harassed by fans in the past for not releasing new books in the series in what they would consider to be a timely manner. Fortunately, that furor seems to have calmed down, as Martin largely received patience and support when he apologized for missing a January 2016 deadline for the sixth book in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series.
Some DC fans were zealously defensive over "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." After the film received poor reviews from critics, fans lashed out at the negative reception on Twitter. Some even suggested that Marvel Studios paid the critics to sabotage the film's box office hopes.
One Direction member Niall Horan took to Twitter to discuss the abusive messages he has received from supposed 1D fans that came across his personal phone number: "They have been nothing but abusive. Saying things you wouldn’t even believe about me and my family. And saying the worst things ever about my little nephew."
Directioners have also gone after actress Rebel Wilson after a video of her goofing around with the boy band and jumping all over Harry Styles went viral. On "Ellen," Wilson talked about how the fans sent hundreds of tweets accusing her of assaulting Styles.
In 2012, Jennifer Hepler, a writer for BioWare's "Dragon Age" series, was harassed on Twitter after an interview she did six years prior was posted on Reddit. In the interview, Hepler said that she prefers games with a strong narrative and wished that more games gave the option to skip long combat sequences.
Following a patch update for "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," fans attacked Treyarch multiplayer division member David Vonderhaar on social media after the patch made minor tweaks to the damage and firing rate of three weapons in the game.
Game studio Beamdog received attacks after adding a transgender character to their game "Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear." Vitriol was especially targeted towards writer Amber Scott, who designed the character and also added a joke against the cultural movement GamerGate into the game.