Bullshit 1.0

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Synonyms: Bullshit, I Ship Bullshit
See also: Larry Is Real, Larry Stylinson, Larrie, Bullshit 2.0
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On September 16, 2012, Louis Tomlinson posted a tweet calling the Larry Is Real theory "the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard." For One Direction fans who believe this theory (that Harry and Louis are in a secret relationship in real life), this tweet was a seminal event within the fandom. However, it did not stop them from believing.

These fans, who would later be known as larries, originally referred to this event as the bullshit tweet, but renamed it to Bullshit 1.0 after a 2014 series of tweets they felt was related enough to call Bullshit 2.0.

Sequence of Events

The Original Tweet

Screen Shot 2012-09-16 at 3.34.48 PM.png

It began with:

Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson):

Still months on reading ridiculous conspiracy theories.It's upsetting that I have to read them daily.Thank god for the lovely people on here[1]

The tweet received a number of supportive replies from fans telling Louis to ignore the "haters". It also received a number of replies from fans who chose (whether seriously or jokingly) to interpret "ridiculous conspiracy theories" as referring to the notion that Louis was straight, or to his relationship with Eleanor.

tina (@talkingtitty):

@Louis_Tomlinson I know right? I can't believe people actually think you're dating Eleanor haha[2]

c (@sadbootyful):

@kristyleaa Lou & Harry love each other. Not saying that Lou & El dont but Larry is just as real as Elounor. Sorry you cant fucking see that[3]

gem (@UglyEmos):

@Louis_Tomlinson i know. it'd suck to have people think you're straight.[4]

The Bullshit Tweet

the infamous bullshit tweet

Someone who believed in the Larry is Real conspiracy theory then tweeted, "funny that no matter what happens they will never deny Larry". This tweet had not tagged @Louis_Tomlinson[note 1] and has since been deleted.

Louis then replied to the fan's tweet. This is the "bullshit tweet":

Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson):
@skyleridk Hows this , Larry is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard. I'm happy why can't you accept that.[5]

Subsequent Tweets

Louis posted several followup tweets, including:

Fan Responses

One Direction fans who did not believe in Larry (non-larries) took Louis's tweets at face value: Louis's girlfriend and family had been receiving harassing messages from the fans who believed that Larry was real, and Louis was angry with those fans, did not consider them real fans, and wanted them to stop engaging in their conspiracy theories.

Larries, who may not have been aware of what Louis was reacting to, felt that the tweets were intended to show that they were no longer welcome in the fandom. However, they also believed that the tweets were not written by Louis[6] and started referring to "@Louis_Tomlinson" as a separate entity.

The issue was heavily covered in the mainstream media in the following days, with a Vice article[7] seeming to capture the prevailing sentiment: "Then there are the Larry Stylinson fans, who seem at war with reality itself."

Many people outside the fandom agreed.[note 2]

Some larries threatened self-harm. Some deleted their social media accounts. From larries' point of view, the bullying of Larries within in the fandom grew more intense. (From non-larries' point of view, it was the larries who had been bullying people. A look at old social media posts suggests there was plenty of dickish behavior on all sides and no assumption of good faith on any side.[note 3]) One Tumblr larrie expressed the view that non-larries may have been just as much victims as larries because One Direction's management had tricked them into it: "they’ve been bullied into bullying us, they’re not really the enemy - they’re just another kind of victim (they’ve played with these people: with their naiveté, their wish to please the boys and their goal of being 'true fans')."[8]

As one Larry fan recounted:

The fallout from this first event was immediate and fierce. Prominent “Larry” fans on Tumblr and Twitter were attacked. Louis and others took to Twitter in the days and months after the initial tweet to repeat the same message: Larry isn’t real and anyone who thinks that way is not a real fan of Louis’. .”

bulletprooflarry, 8 Aug 2018[9]

And also said:

No, [Bullshit 1.0] didn’t make me change my mind because I saw it for what it was, even in the moment. It made me question the longevity of the fandom, though. It was the first big shock event, so it was like any other shock event we’ve had: the weed video[note 4], babygate. Just silence, followed by tears, screaming at each other. That’s the whole point of it. To divide us and make us turn in on each other.

A lot of people changed their minds, but there were a lot more of us back then, a lot more active blogs and Twitters, so it didn’t feel like an Infinity War experience. It was just an unexpected blow that we never really recovered from.

bulletprooflarry, 9 Aug 2018[10]

This moment represented not just the most definitive rejection of Larries to date, but for many was also the event that broke their already waning belief in the authenticity of the public representations of the band's members. (See #Academic_Response below.)

I Ship Bullshit

fan edit of an "I ship bullshit" balloon at a signing
#ishipbullshit Twitter hashtag, September 2012

One effect of the tweet was the hashtag and meme I Ship Bullshit. The hashtag started the same day as the tweet in 2012 and was tweeted occasionally as late as 2021.[11]

As documented in photos and video taken by fans present for the event, a fan gave a balloon with the words "I ship bullshit" written on it to Louis at a signing shortly after the bullshit tweet. One video clip, memorialized in gifs, showed Harry, who was sitting next to Louis, turn to Louis and ask him something; larries reported that he asked what the balloon said and Louis responded 'I ship bullshit'.[12] Like many 1D moments caught on film, it was turned into popular gifsets that circulated on Tumblr: Louis gets given a balloon with ’I ship Bullshit’ on it., Archived version[13]

The balloon incident can be described as a fourth wall violation, and was discussed by larries and other 1D fans, who had various interpretations of how Louis reacted based on the available fan video footage of the event. Some larries thought Harry and Louis looked happy[14], while some anti-larries thought they didn't.[15] Immediately after the event some 1D fans on twitter said they thought Louis looked like he wanted to punch the fan.[16][17][18] From the vantage point of 2021, skepticalarrie on Tumblr commented that people would see what they wanted to see in Harry and Louis' facial expressions, but instead the clue was the fact that they seemed far too friendly with one another for "what is expected after Louis calling it 'bullshit'."[19] In 2013 one anti-larrie, analyzing the video footage, argued that Harry and Louis looked uncomfortable with the gift:

You can’t really see much of Louis until 0:13, but you do catch glimpses of him smiling/laughing and having fun at the signing. Suddenly he gets an ‘I ship bullshit’ balloon. You cannot say you don’t see a different facial expression. He pauses and just stares at the girl awkwardly and just seems uncomfortable. You cannot say it doesn’t affect him in some way (not shipping Larry, the way Larry fans press it on him). Then the fan moves on and Louis and Harry begin to interact. I think he was talking about the bullshit balloon because Harry says something to him and then he signals to it, almost as if Harry were asking him what did it say. At around 0:23 you see Louis mouth/say to Harry “I ship bullshit” as if it were answering his question. Then at 0:25, although it’s hard to tell you can see that Harry doesn’t have a wide smile on his face anymore, and in a way he looks slightly pissed off. How can you even say this has nothing to do with the balloon whatsoever? You can see the drastic changes between Louis’ facial expression and even Harry’s (especially Louis’). How can you say it doesn’t affect them in some way? They literally go from happy and content to awkward and slightly pissed off.[20]

Effect on Larrie Beliefs

In 2016, Tumblr larrie srslycris, citing worshippedlove, argued that at the time of the tweet no one was harassing Eleanor and Larry shipping was "casual", that is, people didn't tinhat the ship.[21] Anti-larries objected to these claims, pointing to available tweets showing harassment of Eleanor.[22] (See Larry Is Real for examples of fans harassing Eleanor on twitter.) However, the state of tinhatting in 2012 was less clear. One larrie reblogging worshippedlove's original post added the tags, "#i got into the fandom in 2011 or 2012 #and i totally believed they were together from the beginning"[23] lrambling, an anti-larrie, said,

It’s frustratingly difficult to pin down this sort of thing, allowing Larries free reign to make whatever claims they want about the past, but I believe it’s absolutely true that Larry used to be less intense than they later became, with a smaller portion of “true believers.” But they were still voluminous, loud, and disrespectful. And Louis and Harry didn’t IMMEDIATELY shut down all contact. It was relatively fast, but there was still a progression. Because Eleanor dating Louis, Eleanor’s “deluded” tweet on May 30th[note 5], Harry and Louis gradually starting to interact less, and ultimately bullshit 1.0 in September all served to intensify Larry feelings, as shock and defensiveness caused Larries to either move on or grow more intense (as with Freddie’s birth). So everything that disproved Larry caused Larries themselves to become more passionate, which I believed forced further separation between Louis and Harry, as every interaction was met with more extreme reactions.  I’ve also heard from people who were in fandom at the time that a lot of current Larries actually STARTED shipping it as soon as it started to look like they were being “forced” apart, which Cris actually confirms. So not only did Larries generally get more intense, but eventually the people who just enjoyed the ship actually got taken over by people who were more interested in the tragic secret conspiracy narrative.[22]

If larries didn't know that that fans on twitter were harassing Eleanor, Louis's tweets would seem extremely aggressive and baffling. As thelarrative, an anti-larrie and former larrie, commented,

# as a larrie i had no idea for example that louis called out someone trashing his mother over larrie # at the same time he posted the bullshit tweet # revisionist history has meant they have erased the entire context # and replaced it with their narrative # and only after not being a larrie # did i ever see what the context was # and that's why their whole treatise and blah blah's are all full of shit # they conveniently erase everything # rewrite people's lives # and brainwash people into believing it's what happened"[21]

Anniversaries, etc.

larries and other 1D fans tweeting about the one-year anniversary of the bullshit tweet

The date became an anniversary of sorts. On the first anniversary, some fans tried to get the hashtag #1YearOfBullshitAndWereStillHere trending.[24] On the second anniversary, Harry made a few social media posts that got larries very excited. He tweeted "Actually, tell everyone"[25] and posted a picture on his Instagram of two men wearing colorful flowered shirts, with the one-word caption "Strong"[note 6], which happens to be the title of a 1D song that larries think is about Larry. (Note that this predates Twitter's threading functionality. Harry's previous tweet was "It's impossible to listen to @KaceyMusgraves too much. Don't tell anyone."[26])

Some responses from Tumblr larries:

suitsdirection: Basically Harry decided the 16th of September (THE DAY EVERY SINGLE FAN REMEMBER FOR DIFFERENT REASONS) to post a pic on IG with two men and the caption “Strong.”.

Is he saying they’re still strong after 4 years? IS HE SAYING TODAY THE 16TH OF SEPTEMBER THEY ARE STILL STRONG?

lululawrence: YES. YES TO ALL OF IT.

16 Sep 2014 tumblr thread[27]

Listen. I just want everyone to know who wasn’t here 2 years ago today what a fucking ugly and confusing time it was. Real feelings were hurt and real tears were cried and nobody knew what to do or what came next.

And 2 years later, here we are. Still going strong, you might say. And Harry’s picture just means a very much a lot to me because of that.

bulletprooflarry, 16 Sep 2014[28]

On the fourth anniversary, Louis's Instagram account banned mentions of "Larry"[29] because Larries had been posting large volumes of Larry-related comments on every Instagram post by Louis (and that of anyone else in his circle who had an instagram). Sometimes just the word "Larry", sometimes messages implying they thought they were speaking to management. After the "Larry" ban there were various workarounds. One that can still be seen as of 2019 is posting green and blue heart emojis (a larrie symbol for Harry/Louis).

Larries were unimpressed by the ban:

How twisted is it that they used this instagram ban tool to do their level best to construct another round of bullshit for this year ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACTUAL BULLSHIT 1.0?? Literally using it as an excuse to dredge it up and state that Louis is making that same statement again. It’s just incredible to me that they’d be brazen enough as to attack fans on the very same day, four years later. Isn’t it incredibly transparent that this is orchestrated to anyone paying attention?? They didn’t even pick a different day in September??

obviouslymeandyou, 17 Sep 2016[30]

On the ten-year anniversary, twitter larries thought it significant that Louis Tomlinson was photographed at an event wearing a blue and green jacket.[31][32]

Academic Response

At least one academic wrote a paper specifically commenting on fan responses to Louis Tomlinson's 2012 bullshit tweet; Helena Louise Dare-Edwards, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Anglia's School of Film, Television, and Media, published a paper in the Forum section of the peer-reviewed journal Celebrity Studies entitled "‘Shipping bullshit’: Twitter rumours, fan/celebrity interaction and questions of authenticity."

Dare-Edwards describes larries' reading of the tweets:

If, as Duits and van Romondt (2009) contend, authenticity involves stability, then to Larry fans the ‘bullshit tweet’ was inconsistent with Louis’ previous online behaviour, and thus ruptured their sense of authenticity. The 12-part series itself oscillated wildly in tone as @Louis_Tomlinson exposed fans’ (mis)behaviour, apologised and expressed gratitude to the ‘REAL’ fans ... who were distinguished from the shamed Larry fans.[33][note 7]

Dare-Edwards also reports on larries' analysis that the bullshit tweet was premeditated and therefore suspect; Louis replying to a fan who hadn't @ mentioned him indicated that he "deliberately sought out a Tweeter in order to issue a premeditated denial and make an example of a Larry fan by way of warning to others."[33]

Dare-Edwards is cited by Scott Interrante for his musicology masters' thesis posted to the tumblr account onedirectionthesis between June and August 2016.

Notes and References


  1. ^ Some larries have pointed out that this means it had to have been intentionally searched for and so may indicate that the denial was pre-planned. It also represents an example of the complicated nature of the fourth wall in the age of social media, as some fans consider tweets that do not tag the celebrities they are talking about to exist in a private fandom space. See also: Larry Stylinson & The Fourth Wall - The Fourth Wall is an Illusion and One Direction Fandom Wars - Twitter Fans vs Tumblr Fans.
  2. ^
    As an outsider at the time, I understood this in simple terms: this was clear confirmation that the Larry Stylinson rumor was, in fact, false. I came to this conclusion for three basic reasons: 1) the assumption that celebrities have (sole) control over their twitter accounts, 2) the seeming authenticity of the tweet due to its grammatical error, explicit language, and addressing of a specific fan, and 3) a lack of knowledge of any other evidence to support the Larry Stylinson theory. Many Larry supporters, though, have done well to challenge these reasons.

    Scott Interrante, "But I'm In A Cool Boy Band" - Part 12 - Everyone Else In The Room Can See It, Archived version from a graduate thesis reposted to Tumblr on 22 Aug 2016. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)

  3. ^ For example, this tumblr post by a larrie seems to suggest that bullying includes "reblogging my posts with insulting comments/tags" along with more seriously out of line behavior like sending death threats. Non-larries are inclined to be skeptical about claims by larries of bullying and often assume that what they really mean is "disagreed with me about Larry".
  4. ^ A video of Louis and Zayn smoking weed was leaked in May 2014. Louis may or may not have said the n-word.[1][2][3]
  5. ^ Sorry to be blunt but I hope you can take a step back and realise that you are completely deluded., Archived version, tweet by EleanorJCalder, 30 May 2012. (Replying to someone who tweeted that they hoped her "contract" was ending soon.)
  6. ^ The original instagram post appears to have been deleted, but 1D fans reposted it on twitter and tumblr. Here is a tumblr example with ten thousand notes: post by mr-styles. Here is a twitter example comparing Harry's tweet and instagram post side by side: tweet by donnyslwt, Archived version. (Accessed 21 January 2023.)
  7. ^ According to tumblr larrie rougeandtonic, Bullshit 2.0 arguably took this even further.


  1. ^ Tweet by Louis Tomlinson, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  2. ^ Tweet by talkingtitty, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  3. ^ Tweet by sadbootyful, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  4. ^ Tweet by UglyEmos, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  5. ^ Reply to @skyleridk, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  6. ^ What makes you 100 percent sure that Louis didn't tweet the bullshit 1 and 2.0 tweet apart from the fact that management have access to his twitter?, Archived version, anon ask answered by kindathoughtprovoking, tumblr post, May 30, 2015. As of 22 December 2021, this tumblr post has 1179 notes.
  7. ^ The "No Homo" Fantasy that is One Direction - VICE, Archived version 26 Sep 2012. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)
  8. ^ Tumblr post by sundy, Archived version, 9 March 2015. (Accessed 8 Sep 2019.)
  9. ^ BULLSHIT 1.0: THE FIRST SHOCK EVENT, Archived version posted on Tumblr on 8 Aug 2018 (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)
  10. ^ "Did the bs 1.0 tweet made you question Larry", Archived version posted on Tumblr on 9 Aug 2018. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)
  11. ^ Twitter Search for the hashtag #ishipbullshit, 12 January 2023: https://twitter***.com/search?q=%23ishipbullshit%20&src=typed_query&f=live
  12. ^ "Then, Harry asked Louis what did the balloon say on it and Louis whispered "I ship bullshit" http://t.co/AnnOb2v6qV", Archived version Tweet by larry_evidences, 22 Aug 2015. (Accessed 16 Sep 2019)
  13. ^ Posted to tumblr by harryandnick on 23 September 2012. 23395 notes as of 12 January 2023.
  14. ^ For example: I just watched the video they looked happy Harry was beaming omg, Archived version, tweet by bouywithluv, 22 September 2012
  15. ^ anon ask answered by back-to-louis, Archived version, reblogged by lrambling, 16 September 2017.
  16. ^ Judging Louis' reaction, he defo wanted to punch the girl who gave him the balloon in the vagina lol, Archived version, tweet by chaandaniya, 22 September 2012.
  17. ^ but louis' face when he got that balloon he was like is there a way to punch you in the face with out getting arrested?, Archived version, tweet by niallbubby, 22 September 2012.
  18. ^ louis' reaction to the 'i ship bullshit' ballon lmfao. i thought he was going to punch the girl right there hbu, Archived version, tweet by MalikInspired, 22 September 2012.
  19. ^ anon ask answered by skepticalarrie, Archived version, 8 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Oh you can definitely tell it bothers them...", Archived version posted on Tumblr by larryisnotreals, 7 May 2013. (Accessed 16 Sep 2019)
  21. ^ a b tumblr thread of anti-larries screencapping and discussing srslycris's post, which references worshippedlove, Archived version, reblogged by thelarrative-blog, 12 September 2016.
  22. ^ a b reblog by lrambling, Archived version, 12 September 2016.
  23. ^ ask answered by worshippedlove, Archived version, reblog by twitteranti, 26 April 2016.
  24. ^ #1yearofbullshitandwerestillhere TWEET THIS AND GET IT TRENDING GUYS, Archived version, tweet by louistops__, 15 September 2013.
  25. ^ tweet by Harry_Styles, Archived version, 16 September 2014.
  26. ^ tweet by Harry_Styles, Archived version, 16 September 2013.
  27. ^ Tumblr reblog by lululawrence from a post by suitsdirection, 16 September 2014.
  28. ^ "Listen. I just want everyone to know who wasn’t here 2 years ago today...", posted on Tumblr on 16 Sep 2014. (Accessed 7 Sep 2019)
  29. ^ Or at least it was reported in the media on September 16: E! News: Louis Tomlinson Bans Larry From His Instagram & Gets Trolled Hard, Archived version, Teen Vogue: Louis Tomlinson Reportedly Blocks “Larry” From Instagram Comments, Archived version
  30. ^ posted on Tumblr, Archived version on 17 Sep 2016. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)
  31. ^ And on the 10 year anniversary of the Larry is Bullshit tweet too, tweet by 28satellitelou, 16 September 2022.
  32. ^ On the anniversary of saying Larry is the biggest load of bullshit, he is bluegreening. YEAH OKAY LOUIS YOU AREN'T FOOLING ANYONE., Archived version, tweet by signofthtimes28, 16 September 2022.
  33. ^ a b Helena Louise Dare-Edwards (2014) ‘Shipping bullshit’: Twitter rumours, fan/celebrity interaction and questions of authenticity, Celebrity Studies, 5:4, 521-524, DOI:10.1080/19392397.2014.981370