LGBT Fans Deserve Better
|Name:||LGBT Fans Deserve Better, Lexa Deserved Better|
|Type of Campaign:||movement|
|Aims:||advocate for positive LGBT representation in media/raise awareness of the "bury your gays" trope, particularly Lexa's death on The 100|
|Participants:||Clexa fandom, LGBT people|
|Date Started:||March 2016|
|Fandom:||The 100, and to a smaller extent other fandoms with sizeable queer female fanbases|
|Campaign Website:||LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com (primary),|
WeDeservedBetter.com, LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com (archived version)
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
LGBT Fans Deserve Better, or Lexa Deserved Better[note 1], is a fan campaign in response to the death of Lexa on the CW television series The 100, as well as the disproportionately large number of queer female characters killed off on television around the same time.
[Lexa's death] shocked the LBGTQ fanbase of the show for two reasons, one industrial and one narrative. First, showrunner Jason Rothenberg and his team queerbaited the audience on social media and forums, making Lexa the poster girl for season 3, and inciting fan debate around the couple. Narratively, killing this character was an example of the common television trope "Bury Your Gays", where homosexual characters are killed for the benefit of heterosexuals, conveying the message that homosexual relations necessarily end tragically.
- - Bourdaa, Cornillon and Wells-Lassagne in "Investigating The CW," published in the International Journal of TV Serial Narratives.
In March 2016, the Clexa fandom's outrage over Lexa's death, sometimes dubbed Lexagate, quickly turned into a call for action. The goal of the resulting fan campaign was to advocate for positive LGBT representation in media. Fans raised money for charity, arranged boycotts, advertised their cause on billboards, created the Lexa Pledge, started a non-profit organization, and helped organize the sapphic fandom convention ClexaCon. They also took to social media to voice their grievances en masse to the show's network and sponsors.
LGBT Fans Deserve Better garnered widespread media and industry attention, and propelled the "Bury Your Gays" trope into a national talking point. It has since become the subject of much academic scrutiny.
Acafan Dr. Elizabeth Bridges said of the movement:
I've never seen a more widespread or more coordinated fandom response to any event, and I've been a fan and observer of the media since the 1990s.
Commander Lexa is a lesbian character from the post-apocalyptic scifi television series The 100. She has a huge following among queer female fans and is also one half of the juggernaut Clexa ship. On March 3, 2016, season 3 episode 7 of The 100 aired in which the character was killed off. Her sudden death left many fans feeling deeply betrayed, angry, and in a few cases, even suicidal.
Fans felt that Lexa's death, particularly the way she died — via a stray bullet shortly after consummating her relationship with her love interest Clarke Griffin — exemplified and perpetuated a toxic trend that has plagued LGBTQ representation: the "Bury Your Gays" trope (also known as "Dead Lesbian Syndrome"). This was further exacerbated by the disproportionately large number of lesbian and bisexual female characters being killed off on television at the time, which The Fandomentals dubbed the "Spring Slaughter".
as of tonight with the lesbian couple from empire dying, here is the list of lesbian and bi women characters killed on tv in the first just over 3 months of 2016:
- zora - the shannara chronicles
- carla - code black
- julie - mao the expanse
- rose - jane the virgin
- ashleigh - janet king
- lexa - the 100
- kira - the magicians
- denise - the walking dead
- nora and mary louise - the vampire diaries
- mimi and camilla - empire
that's 12. in just over 3 months. this report from 2015 says there were 35 lesbian or bi women characters on television. so far in the first quarter of 2016, over one-third of them have been killed off.this is not okay.
By the end of the 2015/16 season, a total of 42 lesbian and bisexual female characters had been killed off, the most ever in a single season of US television.
Moreover, LGBTQ fans of The 100 felt that they had been intentionally baited and exploited by The Powers That Be — particularly the showrunner Jason Rothenberg — for promotion and ratings, only to then be unceremoniously discarded (see We Deserved Better).
Acafan Dr. Elizabeth Bridges said in her review of the episode:
When your actors and crew have to start tweeting links to suicide hotlines, YOU FUCKED UP.
Shame on Jason Rothenberg and everyone else who made the decisions that led to this story and this episode. Shame on all of them for willfully manipulating a vulnerable audience into believing this time it's different. It's not.I can no longer support a show that treats me, my love, my life, and my community like cheap, unworthy bullet fodder. I won't stand for it.
Call to Action
The resulting outpouring of grief and anger from queer female fans soon turned into a call for action. In the days following Lexa's death, posts such as the one below were shared across social media as the fandom began looking for ways to get "justice."
Justice For Heda [Masterpost]
So, yall are messaging me about how to get justice for Lexa so here's a masterpost of what we can do.
1) Unfollow Jason Rothenberg (@JRothenbergTV)
Jason baited the fandom in to getting him above 100k for BTS pics, which he never even gave. His twitter is his main avenue of getting to fans. After each episode, he usually goes on a RT spree and RTs/Tweets all the good reviews for the episode. After 307, his account was radio silent and waited 24 hours before posting reviews.
2) Direct all your angry tweets to Jason, and JASON ONLY.
The writers are employees of Jason. Yes, they do have some influence. No, they aren't completely innocent in the horrible murder of Lexa but they can't do anything. Blame Jason for all of this. It's HIS show (as he always says) so he calls all the shots. His word is law.
3) NEVER use official hashtags
Do not use #The100 or The 100 or The100 on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook. All of it is tagged and tallied. The/100 has been a trending topic (#1-#3) every single episode of S3 on Tumblr and it's about damn time we make it drop.
4) Do NOT watch live on official platforms
Streaming websites: [redacted links] Livestream: [redacted links]
Downloads: message me for links
Bonus: trend #FTWDSeason2 every Thursday 9/8c :)
This isn't vengeance, this is justice.
decalexas reblogged and added:
5) Go give 3x07 a lower rating on IMDB, because I'm petty. (It was at 9.3 a few hours ago and it's down to 8.2 already...)
commanderoswald reblogged and added:
6) Message The CW directly. Tell them how this is unacceptable and how you feel. Don't be mean or rude. Be thoughtful about your message. Let them know how negative of an impact this has had on yourself and the community.
7) Tweet/Facebook the show's advertisers and do the same. Networks care more about the people who directly give them money than us and if people who pay for commercials during the show start calling them up about the negative things they're hearing and how it could impact their business it will have so much weight.
the100theories reblogged and added:
Make sure we're heard.
gaywxnders reblogged and added:
Jus drein jus daun
While many Clexa fans supported taking action, not everyone was onboard and there were concerns early on that the fandom was taking it too far. Responding to a fellow Clexa fan, two organizers made the case for a more aggressive approach:
Cancelling the show should not be the aim and I will fight anyone who wants to disagree with that.
Turn your location on then because I couldn't disagree more. It's about sending a message. You mistreat the queer community, an already oppressed and damaged community, you lose queer viewers. You lose queer viewers, your ratings drop, your show gets cancelled. It's too easy to mistreat queer characters because we are minorities. Let's make it a little harder for them. There is rarely outrage to this level, but there should be. We sure as hell aren’t going to have our voices heard by sitting back and taking it.
The 1OO hurt me, and so I won't be watching it anymore, and that's where I leave it and look to the future and say "Please don't hurt me this badly again"
That's fine, but don't you dare tell others to leave it and take this passive approach, not after we've been burned this many times. Don't you dare tell us to stop fighting for what we believe in, not after how much oppression we've been through for simply existing. Not when straight people have every god damned thing in the world and we can't even get one decently written lesbian character to live.
commanderoswald reblogged and added:
This isn't the time to be passive. Who has ever brought change by letting things slide? There is no lesson if we don't go the extra mile. Unless a ton of LGBT+ people have Nilesen boxes their fake numbers won't really show any change and it won't look like there was any backlash. I talked about this here already, but ratings are basically made up numbers tallied with some random algorithm from data taken from a very small pool of people. We might not be represented properly in that focus group. This is why we need to bring the fight to social media and make it overt. Nothing will change if we don't. Ask for the cancellation! It's the loudest stand we can ever take. We either draw a very deep line in the sand or this changes nothing.
By March 13, 2016, LGBT Fans Deserve Better had settled on its name and a press release was issued calling on others to join the movement. This post by Tumblr user killcommander gives a rundown of the tumultuous early days in March and April as the movement took off.
The campaign's goal was to advocate for better LGBT representation in media by raising awareness of harmful tropes such as "Bury Your Gays".
From the "About" page on LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com:
LGBT Fans Deserve Better is a movement aiming to educate people on the importance of positive LGBT representation in the media.
...LGBT characters are not expendable, they are not only tertiary characters, and LGBT relationships are not stepping stones for heterosexual relationships. These tropes, so often encountered in media, reinforce decades-old censorship meant to show that LGBT people do not deserve happiness, and should be immediately "punished" for it.
There was also a great desire among fans to target The 100, showrunner Jason Rothenberg, and The CW network, so as to hold them accountable for Lexa's death.
From the "Background" page on We Deserved Better:
In assigning accountability, which The CW, the show, nor Rothenberg has yet to acknowledge, and in making visible the deep sense of betrayal felt by the fandom, we aim to advocate for positive change in media engagement and representation, to give voice and hope to an underserved community that can no longer withstand being manipulated and marginalized for others benefit.
The campaign congregated around three online platforms early on: Tumblr, Twitter, and The 100 sub-forums on The L Chat (a lesbian web forum frequented by Clexa fans). Organizers disseminated information and plans through these platforms and later — as the campaign became more organized — through their websites.
The movement had no official leadership and could be quite chaotic at times, with various factions doing their own thing. For example, multiple separate websites with titles similar to "LGBT Fans Deserve Better" spawned from this campaign:
- LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com (archived version, blog).
Of these websites, the first two served to provide information, statistics and resources on the state of LGBT representation on television, as well as educate people on the harmful effects negative representation can have on the LGBT community. The third, WeDeservedBetter.com, served to chronicle the particular grievances of the Clexa fandom against Jason Rothenberg and other members of The 100 staff, thereby helping readers understand the source of the fandom's anger. LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com was set up as a one-stop shop for updates on all campaign projects.
Lexa's death gave rise to a flurry of fannish projects made under the umbrella of the LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement. This section covers the four main projects that fans coalesced around. Examples of smaller projects include the #IAmLexa video project and a campaign to send postcards to The CW.
Trevor Project Fundraiser
On March 6, 2016, the campaign launched its first major project with the Leskru WW fundraiser for The Trevor Project, a charity that provides suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth in crisis. The term "Leskru" originally meant "Lesbian Clan" in The 100's conlang, but was used as a catchall by the campaign to mean "The united clan of LGBTQ/supporters/allies".
Gina Tass, a behavioral therapist, had set up the fundraiser on behalf of the then-burgeoning movement as a way for the young Clexa fans "to process their feelings in a healthy way," "voice their opinions, make an impact together, and not feel alone." By the end of March 2016, Leskru WW had raised over $100,000. It has raised over $175,000 as of December 2020, and is the charity's top fundraiser.
The Tumblr blog leskru101 collected messages left by donors, examples include:
For my heartbroken teenager. We live in a small town and she knows nobody like herself — media is the only place where she can find herself and it's tragically not a safe space at all. Sweetheart, I'm sorry I can't be the kind of role model you need in this instance but I do promise you that beautiful people like you get a happy ending, even if the world often tries to tell you otherwise. I hope one day the media takes their responsibility to kids like mine seriously. Maybe one day we will live in a world where we truly don't see black, white, gay, straight, etc, but contrary to what some naive people like to believe, that world is still a while away. Until then, when you make a character a minority it is your responsibility to treat them and the kids who look up to them with respect. You don't take a starving child's only bite of food and expect her to be ok. I understand that storytelling is important, but when your audience are young people their feelings need to be considered too.
The industry needs to wake up. It's 2016. It's clearly possible to have great minority characters as Lexa and to have her without the damaging tropes that plague writers of privilege. Sadly those in charge in this case threw their best character away in a shocking random death specifically connected to the fact she had just decided to love and be loved in return. By the hand of her father figure on top of it. What is more shocking is that the show claimed to be progressive, had reached out to the LGBTQ community, enjoyed the praise of critics, and then turned out to have earned none of the trust from the fans that believed them. Baiting and exploiting minority groups is wrong. Do better. Don't be lazy. And when you mess up don't dismiss people's reactions and feelings. Stories and TV is escapism for *everyone* but for minorities representation in them comes few and far between and sadly end similarly. It doesn't have to be that way. Lexa came so close. Maybe someday.
The Lexa Pledge
The campaign collaborated with several writers and producers from the Canadian drama series Saving Hope to launch "The Lexa Pledge" in April 2016. The Pledge called on the television industry to make the following seven commitments:
1. We will ensure that any significant or recurring LGBTQ characters we introduce, to a new or pre-existing series, will have significant storylines with meaningful arcs.
2. When creating arcs for these significant or recurring characters we will consult with sources within the LGBTQ community, like queer writers or producers on staff, or members of queer advocacy groups like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, It Gets Better, Egale, The 519, etc.
3. We recognise that the LGBTQ community is underrepresented on television and, as such, that the deaths of queer characters have deep psychosocial ramifications.
4. We refuse to kill a queer character solely to further the plot of a straight one.
5. We acknowledge that the Bury Your Gays trope is harmful to the greater LGBTQ community, especially to queer youth. As such, we will avoid making story choices that perpetuate that toxic trope.
6. We promise never to bait or mislead fans via social media or any other outlet.
7. We know there is a long road ahead of us to ensure that the queer community is properly and fairly represented on TV. We pledge to begin that journey today.
Several screenwriters and producers signed the Lexa Pledge, promising to treat LGBTQ characters with consideration of their emotional and cultural impact. However, others in the industry raised concerns about the Pledge. Krista Vernoff, executive producer on Grey's Anatomy, said:
It is to sign a pledge that I will limit my storytelling, I promise I won't kill an LGBT character is going to limit my ability. There's been huge progress and if we say, in the name of progress, we're going to sign a pledge and limit our storytelling, we're going to limit our progress.
In the spring of 2016, billboards advertising the movement were put up around Los Angeles, specifically near the CW headquarters in Burbank. A Tumblr user recalled:
Y'all remember when the 100 killed Lexa and the fandom crowd funded to put BILLBOARDS all over LA basically calling the writers out for the bury your gays trope???? Iconic
The idea had been pitched to fans by the organizers behind LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com and quickly took off:
There's more than a few billboards near the CW offices. There's a 12x5ft one available for $2500 and a 14x48ft one for $4500. Both are in LA, about 6 miles from the actual offices. I'm about 4 hours away from LA, otherwise I'd set up a GoFundMe or a Kickstarter for one. It's a brilliant idea.
Can you imagine Judas' (Jason Rothenberg) face if he knew we put a billboard with the name of the show and the network on it that said "LGBT Fans Deserve Better"? I would die.
nepheron reblogged and added:
I would totally chip in money for this.
leksa-kom-clarkes-kru reblogged and added:
We raised over $100,000 for the Trevor project in a couple of weeks. I think with enough explanation and reason to the community around this idea, we'll be able to raise that money in no time at all!!
oddly-gay-totally-encouraging reblogged and added:
Definitely, a simple 'LGBT fans deserve better' would be brilliant. I would donate to this.
queerbaitedagain reblogged and added:
Me too! keep it simple with some kickass artwork by one of our talented members, I'd totally donate!
Theoretically this is a grand plan, but you have a fundamental misunderstanding of LA if you think 6 miles is REMOTELY AT ALL CLOSE BY or will be seen by people there. Like... ah LA.
Im in, we would probably get even more media attention
With the fandom's support and designs by yikes-im-clexatrash, the organizers went ahead and raised around $15,000 for the billboards.
Clexa Fanart Book
The Clexa Fanart Book is a print book collection of Clexa fanart contributed by over 20 fanartists. It was created by the people behind LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com as part of the LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement. Proceeds from the book were donated to the Leskru WW fundraiser (see Trevor Project Fundraiser).
To fund the project, the organizers set up a GoFundMe page on May 29, 2016, which raised over $40,000 by the June 8 deadline. A second print run was crowdfunded through an Indiegogo campaign, raising nearly $5,000.
From the start, organizers felt that there would be no real change in the television industry if there were no overt consequences for The Powers That Be, hence the need for direct action.
The day after Lexa died, "Lexa Deserved Better" trended worldwide on Twitter all day with 400K tweets/100 million impressions. In the following months, fans were able to get another 55 protest hashtags trending worldwide on Twitter (full list), often timed to coincide with the airing of The 100. Some of the trending hashtags amassed well over 100K tweets, examples include: "LGBT FANS DESERVE BETTER" (>280K tweets), "CW stop JASON ROTHENBERG", "CW used lgbt fans", and "Bury tropes not us".
Fans were instructed to direct their tweets to Jason Rothenberg, The CW, and The 100's sponsors (see Sponsors and CW Affiliates) during these hashtag campaigns. Although organizers tried to dissuade participants from being rude or threatening, the multitude of hate tweets Rothenberg received forced him to abandon his Twitter account for nearly two years.
Other fandoms[note 2] helped with the Twitter trends and the aforementioned fundraiser, for which one fan expressed the following gratitude:
To any fandom affected, to anyone who tweeted, to anyone who donated to the cause, to anyone who can't but has spread the word...to anyone who's been of any support: thank you. To the inspirational creator of this fundraiser: thank you. Let’s hope this sparks a much-needed change. Let's hope you inspire future writers to think before they blab. Let's hope this reminds LGBT fans they matter, and let's hope this saves lives. From the tweets I've seen, I can say you certainly have. Fandoms can be messy, but this is honestly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is not exclusive to just one fandom or the LGBT community. It's open to anyone who wants to help, anyone who wants to learn or understand. LGBT fans: you do matter and you do deserve better, and if anything proved that, it's this fundraiser. You brilliant, intelligent, creative, kind people...you've saved a life today and perhaps for days to come. You've honored the memories of those who were gone too soon. And you united masses of underrepresented minorities and gave hope and love, and I don’t think anybody can take that from you.
The relentless Twitter trends caught the attention of mainstream news outlets like BBC News early on, and were a key reason the movement took off in the way that it did.
Real World "Trend"
As the movement gathered momentum, "Lexa Deserved Better" became the rallying cry for many fans who were then inspired to take it a step further. Pat Shafer explained:
One hashtag, #LexaDeservedBetter, successfully popularized the trend of taking photos of the same statement written in places all over the world.
The idea to "trend" the phrase in the real world, not just on Twitter, originated from a Tumblr post made by rin-says on March 10, 2016:
So many shows have disappointed me over the years, but I've never felt like that was it for me. That is what The 100 has done. Sure, I'll continue to watch stuff that I like, but it feels like nothing will be the same, nothing can compare to everything Lexa and Clarke were, everything they represented.
I hate that they've done this to me, I hate even more that they've done this to so many other people.
So I was sitting on that bus, feeling the urge to do something. I always have a sharpie in my bag, I took it out and wrote the sentiment that I know all of us have said or felt at some point. And I felt a little better.
It didn't make sense to me that the only places Lexa exists is on our TVs, our computers, our phones... I want her to exist in our real world. I want to make her as real as she was to all of us, to remember her, to celebrate her.We're all over the world. Get a sharpie, go outside, find a place that represents home, and write LEXA DESERVED BETTER. A real world trend. Tag it, share it, tweet it at Jason, tweet it at everyone. Don't let the world forget.
Fans graffitied the phrase on outdoor surfaces (or sometimes just held up signs) and shared pictures of their work. The Tumblr blog LexaDeservedBetter-WW compiled over 300 of such pictures that were sent in to them from around the world. Some examples:
The campaign called for a "blackout" of The 100 so as to hurt the show in terms of ratings and social media metrics. Fans were told to stop using the official #The100 hashtag on Twitter and Tumblr so that the show would not benefit from fan engagement. Alternative tags like #theloo and #TheFlopdred were used to discuss the show instead. Fans were asked to stop following The 100 and the CW's official social media accounts. Jason Rothenberg lost 15,000 of his then 121,000 Twitter followers in the four days after Lexa's death.
Fans were also encouraged to stop watching The 100 completely. Those who still wanted to watch the show were urged to do so only through illegal streams, and links to illegal streaming sites were shared among fans before each episode. The campaign also urged fans to downvote the show on various platforms such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.
One of the organizers explained the reasoning behind the blackout:
... With the invention of DVR, online streaming, globalization of viewership, and social media paired with how unreliable Nielsen's tracking actually is the networks have been forced to measure a show's success in other ways. Yes, they will still look at overnight numbers but more often than not (specially for smaller networks who are primarily focused on the 18-24 demographic like ABC Family and The CW) social media presence is almost as important. You might get a show like The 100 that consistently gets a 0.5-0.6 in US ratings but trends on Twitter every week for hours with fans from around the world pitching in to the conversation and that matters to the network. If that same show is then watched two days later on DVR that matters. If people go on their website, or Hulu, and Netflix and streamings hundreds of thousands more times then that makes a massive difference. If the show constantly trends on Tumblr's fandometrics that shows they have an engaged fanbase. None of this was possible five or ten years ago and that's why shows like The 100 are still on the air. Because even though their Nielsen numbers may be dismal even for a small network, the people making decisions know their success goes beyond that because of fan engagement. The reason showrunners like Jason insist on watching live is because he knows his fan base is active and social media engagement during the times the show is on the air is being tracked. That's why he cares if people watch live. Not because it counts for the ratings, but because he knows social media boosts his overall numbers.
Jason going down from the 121,000 followers he had when the episode started to the continuously decreasing 108,500 he has now is a statement, one the network can't ignore. That's him losing 11% of his followers overnight. Let's for a second be hypothetical here and imagine these numbers as the Nielsen numbers where Jason's twitter followers are the focus group. Even after all the hype, according to Nielsen the ratings for Thursday were already a tenth lower than they were last week. On it's best weeks the show pulls about 1,500,000 million viewers based on Nielsen numbers so losing at least 11% of your viewership means the show would have about 165,000 less viewers watching and engaging. When your show is barely pulling a 0.5 in ratings that loss is almost catastrophic. If Jason's twitter numbers keep dropping and we do our best to stay off social media on Thursday so the show doesn't trend anywhere and if the views of streams on The CW/Hulu/Netflix drop as dramatically as I think they will then I can almost guarantee you there are going to be meetings and calls happening about avoiding the disaster they now have on their hands. Any network executive would be paying attention to the fact that on Friday afternoon — 24hrs after the episode had aired — there were still worldwide trends like "Lexa Deserved Better" that had 400k tweets and 102 million impressions. Any showrunner would be losing sleep if a big part of the reason he's still on the air is social media and he logs on to twitter to this:
Pat Shafer attributed the show's decline in ratings after Lexa's death to the movement:
Most notably, the show's views and ratings have been declining ever since season 3, undoubtedly in part because of upset fans. One of the reasons views dropped was because upset fans — or, "anti-fans," who ousted the show — watched the rest of the season through illegal streams rather than on TV or the CW website, so the network could not capitalize off of their views. In fact, the episode following Lexa’s death received the worst ratings in the show's history.
Sponsors and CW Affiliates
The campaign targeted sponsors who had advertisements that aired during The 100's commercial breaks. Fans would send these sponsors tweets, emails and/or phone calls urging them to withdraw their support of the show. To make it easy for fans to participate, organizers compiled lists of sponsors and their contact information, and created templates that others could use as reference in their own letter-writing efforts. Companies who marketed to women between the ages of 16-35 and/or were known for their pro-LGBT+ stances were identified by organizers as the campaign's main targets.
From a post on LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com titled "SPONSORS TO CONTACT":
THE 1OO ADVERTISERS LIST
The message: This isn't about a ship. This isn't about a single character. This is about a pattern of behavior. Tell them you're not okay with them supporting a network, a show, and a showrunner that have a long history of mistreating their LGBT+ and POC characters. Make it about the overall impact, but also give it a personal touch. Let them know you can't in good conscience continue to be the customer of a company who supports this. DO NOT BE RUDE. Be eloquent. Be thoughtful. Be smart. This will make all the difference in the world.
The purpose: Advertisers are what keep any network afloat. If they won't listen to us, they'll listen to their sponsors. If we can make even two of these advertisers either call the network to ask what is going on or withdraw from the show, we change the game completely.
Please use the following sample letter as a template for any contact with advertisers. We want our efforts to be clear, concise, and ultimately respectful.
As a result of the campaign, the following brands announced that they would no longer advertise on the show: Maybelline, Clorox, Target, Dairy Queen, CoStar Group, Fresh Step, and Colgate; while others like Hershey's promised to look into the situation further. However, some of these companies continued to advertise elsewhere on the CW network.
As one fan recalled years later:
do you remember in 2016 when the clexa fandom made a list of every brand that advertised while the show aired and tweeted at and sent letters to them until we got a bunch of them to stop airing ads during the 100 after 3x07 like the fucking power of that lmfao
They also targeted The CW's parent companies and partners, as well as affiliated television stations and streaming services that aired The 100. Posts such as the one below were shared around on the movement's various platforms:
LESKRU, Canalize your frustration into something productive,
Please explain/ask to be respectful, thoughtful, rational & calm. Ask them NOT TO SUPPORT shows that continue to take advantage of the LGBT young & vulnerable community. You can use this: http://www.fandomfollowing.com/an-open- ... f-the-100/ or THIS post as inspiration in the tone & details of your email.
Contact the following sponsors:
Netflix- firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com - if you can, downvote or talk to somebody, threaten to cancel subscription if they support CWTV.
Hulu - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com -if you can, downvote or talk to somebody, threaten to cancel subscription if they support CWTV.
Amazon - IF you bought the season ASK FOR A REFUND
Apple - IF you bought an episode or season ASK FOR A REFUND
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit all-volunteer organization called LGBT Fans Deserve Better was founded in the spring of 2016. Its stated mission is to "educate people on how harmful negative LGBTQ+ representation in the media can be to our community, as well as advocate for better, more positive representation."
In response to Lexa's death and the growing number of queer female character deaths in 2016, Holly Winebarger, Ashley Arnold, and Danielle Jablonski, with the help of the LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement, started to put together ClexaCon as a multimedia convention for LGBTQ women and allies. ClexaCon was originally conceived as a small fan-run convention for "marginalized groups themselves to speak on what Lexa's death and the Spring Slaughter (though not called that at the con) meant to them and how we can better represent ourselves." It grew into a much bigger procon with thousands of attendees after more interest was shown online. The first ClexaCon was held in March 2017 in Las Vegas.
The Powers That Be
After initial silence, The 100 showrunner Jason Rothenberg issued a lengthy public apology three weeks after Lexa's death, in a blog post titled "The Life and Death of Lexa".
An excerpt from Rothenberg's apology:
The thinking behind having the ultimate tragedy follow the ultimate joy was to heighten the drama and underscore the universal fragility of life. But the end result became something else entirely — the perpetuation of the disturbing "Bury Your Gays" trope. Our aggressive promotion of the episode, and of this relationship, only fueled a feeling of betrayal.
While I now understand why this criticism came our way, it leaves me heartbroken. I promise you burying, baiting or hurting anyone was never our intention. It's not who I am.Despite my reasons, I still write and produce television for the real world where negative and hurtful tropes exist. And I am very sorry for not recognizing this as fully as I should have. Knowing everything I know now, Lexa's death would have played out differently.
He reiterated his apology at WonderCon a few days later. The CW president Mark Pedowitz acknowledged the fan outcry but said the network stood behind Rothenberg and their belief in "letting showrunners tell their stories."
Other members of the show's writing staff also apologized to fans. The 100 producer and writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who wrote the episode that killed off Lexa, acknowledged and applauded the fan advocacy:
There was a huge outpouring of anger directed at us for killing the character and the way we killed her. There continues to be a real fever pitch of advocacy around LGBT representation on TV. I believe eight gay characters have been killed on TV this year. There is something called the lesbian death trope which has deep roots in homophobia. Whether we intended to or not, we played into it. Now we are looking at a community which is mobilized and using social media very productively to move forward an agenda that is saying we do not want to see this anymore.
I am grateful for the tidal wave that came down on me. For the exposure and understanding that I received that people are willing to share stories and sometimes the rage, but also other emotions that come with it...the activism that goes on online is humongously important.
Years later, following the end of The 100, Rothenberg would cite Lexa's death as his biggest regret on the series.
Beyond The 100, many producers, screenwriters and actors in the television industry responded to the movement. Some said the movement helped educate them and their colleagues on the "Bury Your Gays" trope, and the larger issue of harmful LGBTQ representation in media.
The co-creators of the Lexa Pledge, Noelle Carbone, Sonia Hosko, and Michelle Mama, wrote:
As television writers and producers we have been shocked, perplexed and distressed by the epidemic of LGBTQ television characters' deaths.
We admit that it took us a little while to truly understand the outpouring of criticism being directed at the shows in question — series we love that have showrunners we respect. But, after much discussion and much debate, we believe that every writing room can learn something from this extraordinary and revolutionary movement.
We have heard your frustrations, your fears, and your call for a meaningful change. And we intend to honour your call.
In June 2016, the media advocacy organization GLAAD presented a panel on the "Bury Your Gays" trope at the ATX Television Festival; panelists included producers and writers from shows such as Grey's Anatomy and The Originals. At this panel, Carter Covington, showrunner of the LGBT-centered MTV series Faking It, raised concern that the movement could have the unintentional effect of scaring off studios and networks from including LGBTQ characters in their shows.
I'm really worried that it's going to have the opposite effect of what fans want. Networks are terrified. They're completely scared right now. They will look for any reason not to do something. ... I would hate for us to lose opportunities because of fear.
A Writers Guild of America panel had also taken place in the previous month, Vox's Caroline Framke reported:
In May, I attended a Writers Guild panel on LGBTQ characters on TV. During the event, the panelists were asked whether they'd heard about The 100's controversial death and its ensuing maelstrom of fan fury as series creator Jason Rothenberg made some stumbling attempts at damage control. The participating writers — who work on shows ranging from American Crime to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — said they had. They also said that in drawing attention to the "bury your gays" concept, the uproar made them aware of a trope they hadn't fully understood before.
But for as much as they sympathized with fans who felt hurt or offended by what had happened on the show, they firmly rejected the idea that they had to listen to those fans when writing stories. Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman urged people to keep watching the show beyond a single moment they might not agree with. Carter Covington, the creator of MTV's recently canceled Faking It, praised his passionate fans as inspiring but dismissed the idea that he was obligated to give them a happy ending just because they wanted it so badly.
It wasn't the first time I'd heard television writers struggle to balance their appreciation of fans with their concern that fans sometimes ask — or demand — too much. And they weren't merely defiant; they were scared.
In the face of mounting criticism over the "Bury Your Gays" trope, some showrunners defended their decisions to kill off queer female characters. Illene Chaiken, showrunner of Empire, said that she had been following the backlash to other shows "very closely," but insisted that the deaths of two queer female characters, Mimi and Camilla, on Empire did not fall into the "Bury Your Gays" category. In anticipation of backlash, another showrunner, Julie Plec, published a column in Entertainment Weekly in which she spoiled the forthcoming deaths of the lesbian couple Nora and Mary Louise on The Vampire Diaries. According to Plec, she and her writers were unfamiliar with the trope until the uproar over Lexa's death, and she thanked the fan community for starting a dialogue and educating her.
The movement was covered extensively by the media, even drawing the attention of international press[note 3]. These news outlets were largely sympathetic to the movement and its grievances.
In a 2017 editorial on queer female fandom for the Transformative Works and Cultures, Dr. Eve Ng and Dr. Julie Levin Russo wrote:
In response [to Lexa's death], enraged fans leveled criticism and demands not just at the show's writers and producers but at the representational system that puts queer women perpetually in the crosshairs. This outcry that originated in fandom led to articles condemning the "Bury Your Gays" trope (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BuryYourGays) in cultural news outlets like the Washington Post (Butler 2016), Wired (Watercutter 2016), AV Club (McNutt 2016), Variety (Ryan 2016), the Hollywood Reporter (Stanhope 2016), and Vox (Framke 2016). Many of these journalists emphasized fans' direct interaction with The 100 show runner Jason Rothenberg and producer/writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and, in a broader sense, the industry's growing responsibility to understand and respect slash fans' expectations.
This attention and support from the mainstream media was crucial to legitimizing the movement, as the lesbian media website Autostraddle noted a few weeks after Lexa's death:
What The 100's queer fandom has accomplished in these last three weeks is pretty miraculous. By relentlessly compelling mainstream media to acknowledge the existence and danger of Bury Your Gays and to admonish TV writers to do better, fandom has added a level of legitimacy to this issue that we've never had before, which has ensured that no person working in TV can hide behind feigned ignorance about this trope anymore. I'm not delusional enough to think mainstream pop culture sites are going to become powerhouse allies for queer female representation, but in this moment their help has been revolutionary. It feels like we're not just talking to ourselves anymore; the conversation has finally been amplified. In 2013, a series creator called me "infantile" for pushing back against his decision to kill a beloved lesbian character. The days of white male showrunners being able to talk to queer female fans and critics like that are over.
Dead Lesbian Stats
The movement prompted some journalists to investigate the claims of the "Bury Your Gays" trope, specifically with regards to queer female characters. Autostraddle compiled a list of all 212 lesbian and bisexual female characters who died on a television show, compared to their list of all 29 lesbian and bisexual female characters who got happy endings. Vox charted all the character deaths of the 2015-2016 television season and concluded:
... the statistics do back up those who cry foul on television killing off too many queer women. Unless we're talking about Orange Is the New Black, shows aren't likely to have more than one or two queer women characters recurring throughout a season; that certainly doesn't hold true for straight white men, who still dominate cast breakdowns. So if this graph were to reflect the actual ratio of straight white male characters to queer women characters, that difference would almost definitely be far greater. A full 10 percent of deaths being queer women is astonishing given how few of them recur on shows in general.
In its annual report on LGBTQ inclusion in television, the media advocacy group GLAAD found that it had been "a very deadly year for queer female characters," particularly lesbian representation which fell by 16%. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, wrote:
For all the advancement made, many LGBTQ characters still fall into outdated stereotypes or harmful tropes. Since the beginning of 2016, more than 25 queer female characters have died on scripted television and streaming series. Most of these deaths served no other purpose than to further the narrative of a more central (and often straight, cisgender) character. When there are so few lesbian and bisexual women on television, the decision to kill these characters in droves sends a toxic message about the worth of queer female stories.
Lessons to Be Learned
Other journalists offered their takeaways from The 100's mishandling of Lexagate.
In a March 14, 2016 article titled "What TV Can Learn From 'The 100' Mess," Maureen Ryan, chief TV critic for Variety, wrote:
If you wanted to come up with a playbook for how to handle TV promotion and publicity in the age of social media, a few of the major rules might look like this:
- Don't mislead fans or raise their hopes unrealistically.
- Don't promote your show as an ideal proponent of a certain kind of storytelling, and then drop the ball in a major way with that very element of your show.
- When things go south, don't pretend nothing happened.
- Understand that in this day and age, promotion is a two-way street: The fans that flock to your show and help raise its profile can just as easily walk away if they are disappointed or feel they've been manipulated.
Lisa Steinberg offered the following advice in the HuffPost on March 25, 2016:
As the lesbian death toll continues to rise in 2016, I hope that showrunners learn from this very instance. Never underestimate the power of a fandom, and more importantly, admit and learn from your mistakes. What may seem as something groundbreaking may only be breaking the ground for another dead lesbian character's burial. TV viewers deserve better, LGBT fans deserve better, and yes, Lexa deserved better. A call to action has been made: Stop burying your gays.
Syfy Wire's Dany Roth, who felt that Rothenberg's apology "wasn't enough", wrote on March 29, 2016:
There's no hiding it -- The 100's reputation is irreparably tarnished because they misused and misled the queer community both in their marketing and in their storytelling. Fans and professionals worked together to ensure they wouldn't get away with it. And they haven't. And what other show staff will hear is that they won't get away with it anymore either.
The lesson for fans of Lexa is "keep talking". If you speak, you will be heard. And the lesson to storytellers is just as simple:
You better be listening.
Bellarke/Other The 100 Fans
Many other fans of The 100, particularly those who shipped Bellarke — a popular pairing involved in a ship war with Clexa — either mocked the movement or were upset by the attempts to get the show canceled.
In a Tumblr post addressing "The Lexa fandom", a fan pleaded:
Look, I get why your mad over lexa's death. She was someone you could relate too. Someone to look up to, plus she was part of the lgbtq community. We the fandom support you. We get it okay?. But trying to get the 100 cancelled? That's going to far. What about all the other characters? The actors? The actresses? The writer's? The show is about more then lexa. The show is about the 100. If you don't want to watch the 100 anymore by all means go you don't have, if you want to leave the fandom by all means do. You can go we support your decision. If you want to come back then that's fine. But at least leave with some dignity and pride. Don't try and get the show cancelled because you are angry. Think about what your doing to the fandom. Some of us still love the show. Yes maybe this season isn't the best. But that's why you gotta let it get better in season 4. So please let us be. We support you. But if you continue I'll lose my respect for the Lexa fandom. But this is just my opinion and thoughts. Thanks for reading. 🍁
#Reblog to save the 100.
Some fans tried to trend counter-hashtags such as "RENEW THE 100" and "CW THANKS FOR THE 100", but these attempts did not gain much traction. A group of Bellarke fans, hoping to counter the negativity surrounding the show, penned a letter to The CW president Mark Pedowitz praising the "diverse representation" on the show.
An excerpt from the letter by Bellarke fans to Pedowitz:
We are a group of fans dedicated to spreading positivity about The 100 — a show that is truly extraordinary, and a one of a kind.
Unfortunately, the show has been subjected to unnecessary hate due to some of the plot choices made by the producers, but we want to let you know that The 100 is still loved and appreciated by many. We want our passion to be seen, to be heard, and to be felt; so we poured it out into this letter, hoping to share with you our perspective on why The 100 is so important to us.
Furthermore, the show is set in a universe where all people are equal, no matter the race, gender, and sexuality; where love is love and LGBT+ relationships are not considered unusual, so much that nobody even comments on them.
On the other hand, some Bellarke/non-Clexa fans helped the campaign, either by donating to the Leskru WW fundraiser or by joining the Twitter hashtag drives.
Examples of donor comments from the Leskru WW fundraiser:
Anna Elizabeth donated $10.00
I admit, I am a diehard bellarke fan, but I am willing to make a small contribution because i believe that lgbt fans deserve better. Good luck!
$100.00 was donated anonymously
I didn't actually like Lexa, I thought she was a boring character. But after seeing how the LGBT fans have been treated - the exploitation was blatant and disturbing. I have to side with the LGBT community on this one. I won't be watching or supporting The 100 or CW network anymore.
As a whole, the campaign worsened the already vicious Bellarke vs Clexa ship war and further divided The 100 fandom, leading one Bellarke fan to call out the other side:
To the bullies, the cowards and the trolls. You lose. #RenewThe100
You. Yes you. A bully determined to perpetuate hate.
I am looking at you. Right now. I am responding to you.
What are you doing, bully, to be different to those who you say bully you in what they have created?
Do not pretend that because the greater cause you champion is noble, that you — and how you behave, when you are a bully — are noble.
Some Bellarke fans would later blame Lexagate as the reason their ship did not happen:
This is why Bellarke didn't happen or any other romantic relationship for Clarke. Jason wouldn't allow Clarke to move on simply because he didn't want to piss of CLs more than he already did.
I heard that early on Bellarke was in the cards but after the clusterf*ck that happened after s3 with the CL fandom [Jason] changed his mind. Also I heard that it was nasty (I wasn't around in the fandom at that time) and I think that all these mentions of [Lexa] throughout the seasons was to keep the CL fans happy. It's like he was scared of them. It doesn't matter that he baited, mocked the Bellarke fandom as long as the CL were happy.
Shortly after Lexagate started, Snapchat released a new filter suspiciously resembling Lexa's war paint which became known as the "Lexa Snapchat filter."
Aftermath and Impact
The movement resulted in an unprecedented industry-wide conversation about the "Bury Your Gays" trope, though this was not without its limitations.
Gretchen Jones, Managing Editor of The Fandomentals, wrote in a June 2017 article:
It's safe to say the death of Alycia Debnam-Carey's character Lexa kom Trikru on The 100 changed the media landscape forever. Occurring as it did amidst the dozens of deaths of other queer female characters we have dubbed the Spring Slaughter, her death became both a climax and a turning point in the discussion of the treatment of queer female characters in media. The average household TV watcher may never had heard of Lexa or The 100, but anyone in the tv and film industry would have to be either very ignorant or very sheltered not to have heard of her. ATX and the Writer's Guild each hosted a panel on the 'Bury Your Gays' trope almost exactly one year ago.
Showrunners are now more aware of the trope—which can be summarized as the death, suffering, and all around not-positive treatment of LGBT+ characters—and profess a desire to avoid it. Yet the conversation has mostly centered around how this or that instance defies the trope rather than on constructive ways to avoid the suffering and death of wlw characters. Moreover, the intra-industry conversations that we're privy to have mostly taken place between non-LGBT+ women, the group most affected by Lexa's death.
While the movement undeniably raised awareness of harmful LGBT tropes as it had set out to do, it is impossible to determine how much this increased awareness actually affected change in the television industry. With that said, the 2016/17 television season that followed did appear to show significant improvements in purely quantitative terms. Based on data provided by the movement, the LGBT online newspaper PinkNews noted that there was a sharp fall to a four-year low in the number of queer female character deaths on US television in 2016/17. On the CW network in particular, LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com found that the number of queer female character deaths fell from 5 out of 12 in 2015/16 to 0 out of 13 in 2016/17.
LGBT Fans Deserve Better brought mainstream visibility to the often-overshadowed femslash fandom. The website io9 ran an article detailing the history of femslash fandom in the wake of outcry over Lexa's death and the "Bury Your Gays" trope, concluding:
And this conversation, which is coming to dominate the TV criticism conversation, is happening because of the tiny migratory fandom that didn't shut up, and instead got smarter and savvier with their complaints. Femslash has come a long way from The Facts of Life.
Writing about the movement in an editorial for the Transformative Works and Cultures, Dr. Eve Ng and Dr. Julie Levin Russo noted the "powerful platform" femslash fandom has compared to its slash counterpart:
Male slashers have made similar interventions, for example regarding characters Derek and Stiles on the show Teen Wolf (MTV, 2011–), but they are less typical and arguably less effective than instances from femslash communities. The fusion that femslash presumes between fans and characters in terms of sexual and gender identities affords it this powerful platform for literal campaigns of resistance to heteronormative structures.
Over the next few years, after much of the initial fervor had died down, fans shifted their focus to more long-term initiatives such as ClexaCon and the non-profit organization (NPO). Most of the campaign's websites were no longer being updated by 2018, with only the NPO's LGBTFansDB.com still active. The 100's series finale aired on September 30, 2020, bringing back Alycia Debnam-Carey as "Lexa" — technically a godlike being who takes on the form of Lexa because she is Clarke's greatest love — giving Clexa fans some closure.
Ultimately, the movement created a strong sense of community among Clexa fans, likely contributing to the longevity of the fandom.
The creators of WeDeservedBetter.com explained:
There is a special type of bond that can only form when you've been through something particularly rough with someone or have fought at their side. This is something we all shared and that was unique to us. It has fostered camaraderie and sisterhood between people who prior to this may not have directly been interacting with one another and were mostly active in their respective corners of the fandom.
The campaign remains a big source of pride for the Clexa fandom.
Asked why she was still invested in the fandom a year after Lexa's death, a fan wrote:
This is all from a fandom that had our ship for 2 years.
It's more than a fandom, it's the lgbtq community. Multiple full size billboards were put up, bringing attention to the "Bury your gays" trope. Unlike others who only think about themselves, we actually did something positive in the real world to benefit the lgbtq community, we helped raise over $162,500 in charity for the Trevor Project. We got the television industry to recognize their use of tropes and inspired The Lexa Pledge by showrunners to do right by their LGBT audience. We got "LGBT Fans Deserve Better" trending worldwide, staying in the top 10 for hours with over 276K tweets.
Things like that are why I'm so into this fandom and always will be. I have other wlw ships, some of them I really love and have shipped for years, some more recently. But none of them mean more to me than Clexa, I'll always be Clexakru, because it's about so much more than just a ship or a show.
#ClexaIsLegendary #We'reStillHere #NoOtherFandomCouldEver
Two fans, Rachel Ward and Margot van der Bie, founded The Clexa Project to produce an upcoming feature length documentary about the movement titled "Love Me Bait Me".
While documenting the 2016 fandom backlash and this season's lasting effects on representation, we will also turn that lens inward and offer a constructive critique of the movement.
Examples of fanworks created in support of the campaign.
- Our Fight Is Just Beginning by PapurrCat for LGBTFansDB.com
- Our Fight Is Not Over by PapurrCat for WeDeservedBetter.com
- LGBT Fans Deserve Better by alyciaswink for LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com
- LGBT fans deserve better. Lexa deserved better. Our community deserved better. by alyciaswink
- 100K for the Trevor Project by MaryneeLahaye
- We Deserve Better by MaryneeLahaye
- We Deserve Better by queerdellini
- Don't give up. Our fight isn't over. by the100art
- LEXA DESERVED BETTER (Thank you fandom!) by rophydoes
- #LexasLegacy At Clexacon 2017 by LGBTFansDB.com
- We Are Lexa's Legacy @ ClexaCon 2018 by LGBTFansDB.com
- #IAmLexa by LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com
- "THE 100: WHY LEXA AND THE FANS DESERVE MORE" by The TV Wrap, published on Tumblr. March 4, 2016.
- "The 100 let down a great character and a vulnerable queer audience" by Steph, published on Medium. March 4, 2016.
- "LGBT Fans Deserve Better" by Choi, published on Talk Nerdy With Us. March 11, 2016.
- "Why The 100's Showrunner Jason Rothenberg's Silence Sparked Backlash From His LGBTQ Fans" by Leah Mythical, published on Screencritics. March 15, 2016.
- "Minority? Entitlement? Bullies? I Think It's Just Called Life-Saving" by Choi, published on Talk Nerdy With Us. March 20, 2016.
- "The life, rise and death of a commander or how The 100 made Lexa the icon of the Dead Lesbian trope" by beyondpopcorn on Tumblr. March 31, 2016.
- "Lexa Still Deserves Better: A Fan-Led Movement Carries On Two Years Later" by Cassidy, published on That's Normal. March 9, 2018.
The LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement has been written about extensively in the media. It is also the subject of much scrutiny in academia.
Below is a selection of additional reading to provide further context and understanding of the movement.
- "Why The 100's Showrunner Just Lost 15K Followers, And Why It Matters" by Dany Roth, Syfy. March 7, 2016.
- "An Open Letter To Jason Rothenberg Of The 100" by Kylie, The Fandomentals. March 8, 2016.
- "'The 100', Lexa, And What Happens Next" by Megan Logan, Inverse. March 11, 2016.
- "Here's How 'The 100' Sparked An LGBTQ Revolution" by Jasmine Hu, Buzzfeed. March 18, 2016.
- "Bury Your Gays: Why 'The 100,' 'Walking Dead' Deaths Are Problematic" by Dorothy Snarker, The Hollywood Reporter. March 21, 2016.
- "Queer women have been killed on television for decades. Now The 100's fans are fighting back." by Caroline Framke, Vox. March 25, 2016.
- "Autostraddle's Ultimate Infographic Guide to Dead Lesbian Characters on TV" by Heather Hogan, Autostraddle. March 25, 2016.
- "Why Imaginary Deaths Matter To Real-World Queer Women" by Dorothy Snarker, Women and Hollywood. March 28, 2016.
- "What Led to Lexa: A Look at the History of Media Burying Its Gays" by James McConnaughy, The Mary Sue. March 29, 2016.
- "TV keeps killing off lesbian characters. The fans of one show have revolted." by Bethonie Butler, The Washington Post. April 5, 2016.
- "It's Harder to Kill Off Gay Characters When They're Trending" by Angela Watercutter, Wired. April 14, 2016.
- "More Queer Women Are Being Killed Off On Television Series Than Ever Before — Study" by Liz Calvario, IndieWire. June 1, 2016.
- "'Bury Your Gays': Why Are So Many Lesbian TV Characters Dying Off?" by Alamin Yohannes, NBC News. November 4, 2016.
- "There are more LGBTQ characters on television than ever, but GLAAD says TV 'failed queer women'" by Bethonie Butler, The Washington Post. November 4, 2016.
- "TV Writers Need to Stop Killing Their Gay Characters" by Emma Dibdin, Marie Claire. August 9, 2017.
- "How 'Lexa Deserved Better' Became A Rallying Cry For Positive LGBT Representation" by Sarah Karlan, Buzzfeed. September 21, 2017.
- Killing Off the Lesbians: A Symbolic Annihilation on Film and Television by Millward, Dodd and Fubara-Manuel. Published by McFarland (2017).
- Not another dead lesbian: the Bury Your Gays trope, queer grief, and The 100, honors thesis by Kira Deshler, Whitman College, Washington (2017).
- "Lexa was me": A case study of Clexa fandom grieving by Nanna Dam Petersen and Line Boye Danielsen, Aalborg University, Denmark (2017).
- Bang Bang! I Shot You Down With A Straight Bullet: A Qualitative Study of the Lexa Case and Lesbian Fan Activism Online (in Swedish), honors thesis by Sofie Lundblad, Malmö University, Sweden (2017).
- Bury Your Gays and Social Media Fan Response: Television, LGBTQ Representation, and Communitarian Ethics by Erin B. Waggoner, University of Connecticut. Published in the Journal of Homosexuality (2017).
- Bury Your Gays: History, Usage, and Context by Haley Hulan. Published in the McNair Scholars Journal (2017).
- "May We Meet Again": Social Bonds, Activities, and Identities in the #Clexa Fandom by Mélanie Bourdaa. Published in A Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies (2018).
- "We Shouldn't Have to Trend to Make You Listen": Queer Fan Hashtag Campaigns as Production Interventions by Annemarie Navar-Gill and Mel Stanfill. Published in the Journal of Film and Video (2018).
- Toxic regulation: From TV's code of practices to '#Bury Your Gays' by Kelsey Cameron, University of Pittsburgh. Published in the Journal of Audience & Reception Studies (2018).
- Killing off Lexa: 'Dead lesbian syndrome' and intra-fandom management of toxic fan practices in an online queer community by Guerrero-Pico, Establés and Ventura, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. Published in the Journal of Audience & Reception Studies (2018).
- "The 100" and the social contract of social TV by Myles McNutt, Old Dominion University. Published in Transformative Works and Cultures (2018).
- "We Deserve Better": Tumblr Fandoms and the Fan Activists' Fight for Better Representation of Queer Characters on TV by Lea Le Cudennec. Published in Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies (2018).
- 'Perpetuate, Defy, Subvert - An Analysis of 'Burying Your Gays' on Television', honors thesis by Nicola Taghizadeh, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (2018).
- A genealogy of queerbaiting: Legal codes, production codes, 'bury your gays' and 'The 100 mess' by Elizabeth Bridges. Published in The Journal of Fandom Studies (2018).
- « LGBT Fans Deserve Better » : la contre-offensive des fans (in French), chapter 2 of Fan culture: resistance and memetics on social media, PhD thesis by Morgane Brucelle, Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III, France (2018).
- ^ Fans initially rallied under the Lexa Deserved Better hashtag before moving to the all-encompassing LGBT Fans Deserve Better as the scope of the movement expanded.
- ^ Two outside fandoms that were noticeably involved were the Fannibals and the Arrow fandom. As a guest on The L Chat explained here: "Hannibal fandom has been posting to elizajanesface and commanderoswald. I think it has to do with BF's tweet showing support [for the movement]. The arrow people are pissed about Laurel." Another guest chimed in here: "Arrow (CW show) because their stupid ass showrunners killed off Laurel in order to prop up Olicity(it's a rival ship, and Laurel's last words were literally about them) and to give Oliver manpain. So their fandom is pissed, and it's not just fangirls but fanboys who were fans of the comics and believe Olicity has ruined the show. Hannibal because their crazy"
- ^ Examples of international media coverage include: BBC (UK), The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), The Straits Times (Singapore), El Colombiano (Colombia), Aktuellt (Sweden).
- ^ "Investigating The CW", by Bourdaa, Cornillon and Wells-Lassagne. Published in the International Journal of TV Serial Narratives (2018).
- ^ a b c d e "Bury Your Gays: TV Writers Tackle Trope, the Lexa Pledge and Offer Advice to Showrunners", by The Hollywood Reporter.
- ^ Exploiting Fandom: How the Media Industry Seeks to Manipulate Fans. Chapter: Introduction. University of Iowa Press (2019)
- ^ a b "Why the best episode of The 100's third season has also thrown its fandom into chaos", by Vox.com.
- ^ "Why the Controversial Death on 'The 100' Matters", by Variety.
- ^ a b c "Shining A Light On LGBT+ Representation With The Clexa Project", by The Fandomentals.
- ^ Tumblr post by girlfriendluvr-remade. Archived version.
- ^ a b "More lesbian and bisexual characters on TV have been killed off than ever before", by PinkNews. Archived version.
- ^ Someday. Maybe. But not today. – The 100 – 3×07, "Thirteen", by Elizabeth Bridges, The Uncanny Valley.
- ^ Justice for Heda [Masterpost], Tumblr post by fortwicejeongyeon. Archived version.
- ^ Tumblr post by gaywxnders. Archived version.
- ^ a b Tumblr post by commanderoswald (archived).
- ^ a b Mission page on LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com. Archived version.
- ^ About The 100 and its Controversy on WeDeservedBetter.com. Archived version.
- ^ a b c d e Outside Campaign Analysis: #LGBTFansDeserveBetter and the Power of Fandom Fervor, by Pat Shafer, Florida State University (2018). Archived version
- ^ a b About Us page on lgbtfansdb.com. Archived version.
- ^ Introductory post on WeDeservedBetter.com. Archived version.
- ^ Leskru WW fundraiser page on lgbtfansdeservebetter.com
- ^ "Young People Find Community on a Fundraising Page for Trevor", by The Trevor Project. Archived version.
- ^ The Trevor Project: Top Individuals. Archived Version.
- ^ Tumblr post by leskru101. Archived version.
- ^ a b "The Lexa Pledge Gains Traction, Urging TV Writers To Be More Considerate When Killing LGBT Characters", by IndieWire.
- ^ "The 100" Fans Once Again Remind The World That LGBT Viewers Deserve Better by Autostraddle.
- ^ Tumblr post by jojosaltzmans. Archived version.
- ^ Tumblr post by sleepyandfreckled. Archived version.
- ^ Tumblr post by queerbaitedagain. Archived version.
- ^ Billboard Locations and Corresponding Designs by lgbtviewersdeservebetter-blog. Archived version.
- ^ [billboards] update 05/06 by lgbtviewersdeservebetter-blog. Archived version.
- ^ THE RATINGS ISSUE, Tumblr post clarabelacqua. Archived version.
- ^ Tumblr post by blinktumble. Archived version.
- ^ Comment by Kate213 on the PRIMETIMER forum thread "S03.E07: Thirteen". Archived version
- ^ "Fans revolt after gay TV character killed off" by BBC News.
- ^ a b Someone: Why are you still into that fandom when you don't like that show anymore? - Me: Have a seat, this may take a while..., Tumblr post by dontwantthenextcommanderiwantyou. Archived version.
- ^ a b every day in the Clexa fandom since Thursday, Tumblr post by killcommander. Archived version.
- ^ Thursday Twitter Trends, Tumblr post by commanderoswald (archived).
- ^ Killing off Lexa: 'Dead Lesbian Syndrome' and intra-fandom management of toxic fan practices in an online queer community, by Guerrero-Pico, Establés and Ventura. Published in the Journal of Audience & Reception Studies (2018). Archived version.
- ^ "LGBT Fans Deserve Better" by Choi, Talk Nerdy With Us. March 11, 2016. Archived version.
- ^ Tumblr post by rin-says. Archived version.
- ^ a b Comment #61665 by Guest on The L Chat thread "The 100 - Part VI; Maybe someday is now" (page 2056). March 10, 2016. Archived version.
- ^ Boycott the 1OO on Social Media Masterpost, Tumblr post by barryspivot (archived).
- ^ The 100: Why are the fans so angry with show boss Jason Rothenberg? by DigitalSpy.com.
- ^ The1OO s4 & Clexa, aka Do NOT watch the1OO live, Tumblr post by anddirtyrain. Archived version.
- ^ a b c How You Can Help by lgbtviewersdeservebetter-blog. Archived version.
- ^ "Master Post of: Sites to rate the 1oo down", Tumblr post by squidcoon. Archived version.
- ^ a b SPONSORS TO CONTACT: THE 1OO ADVERTISERS LIST and UPDATED LIST OF SPONSORS (FROM EPISODES 312 AND 313) on LGBTViewersDeserveBetter.com (archived); The 1OO Advertisers Masterpost on lgbtviewersdeservebetter-blog.tumblr.com.
- ^ a b Comment #18361 by Guest on The L Chat thread "The 100 - Part VII; Maybe someday is now" (page 613). March 14, 2016. Archived version.
- ^ #sponsorlist: p1 (comment #14524), p2 (comment #14559), p3 (comment #14281). Posted by Guest(s) on The L Chat thread "The 100 - Part X; Our fight is not over". May 7, 2016. Individual examples: Maybelline, Target, CoStar Group, Dairy Queen, Clorox, Fresh Step, Colgate, Hershey's.
- ^ Maybelline Downplays Protest Against CW's 'The 100', by Variety.
- ^ Tumblr post by killcommander.
- ^ [IMPT] Email Brigade to Tribune (The CW's Distributor Affiliate) by lgbtviewersdeservebetter-blog. Archived version.
- ^ "Generations, migrations, and the future of fandom's private spaces", by Brianna Dym and Casey Fiesler. Published in Transformative Works and Cultures (2018).
- ^ 'The 100' Showrunner Apologizes for Controversial Character Death, by Variety.
- ^ 'The 100' Creator Pens Apology Over Controversial Season 3 Death, by The Hollywood Reporter.
- ^ "'The 100' Creator on Lexa Controversy: 'I Would've Done Some Things Differently'", by Variety. March 27, 2016.
- ^ "CW boss addresses The 100 controversies", by Entertainment Weekly. August 11, 2016.
- ^ "'The 100' LGBT Controversy: Screenwriter Acknowledges The Hurt", by Forbes. April 12, 2016.
- ^ "'The 100' Producer Applauds Social Impact of Lexa's Death: 'I Am Grateful for the Tidal Wave That Came Down on Me'", by Variety. June 11, 2016.
- ^ "'The 100' left fans outraged and in tears. Why they're still as devoted as ever", by Los Angeles Times. September 30, 2020.
- ^ "#TheLexaPledge Could Change the Future of Lesbian and Bisexual Representation on TV", by The Mary Sue. April 26, 2016.
- ^ "A Pledge to the LGBTQ Fandom" on LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com. Archived version.
- ^ "Creators of popular media are becoming increasingly wary of their fans. That's a problem for everyone." by Vox. June 8, 2016. Archived version.
- ^ "We Are Not A Part Of That Conversation" on LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com. Archived version.
- ^ "'Empire' Showrunner Ilene Chaiken Responds to TV's Lesbian Death Trope", by Variety.
- ^ "Vampire Diaries: Ian Somerhalder blogs 'Days of Future Past'", by Entertainment Weekly.
- ^ a b "The History of Femslash, the Tiny Fandom That's Taking Over the Universe", by io9.
- ^ a b "Envisioning queer female fandom", by Eve Ng and Julie Levin Russo. Published in Transformative Works and Cultures (2017).
- ^ "Pop Culture Fix: Is Lexa's Death on "The 100" the Beginning of a Lesbian TV Revolution?", by Autostraddle.
- ^ "All 212 Dead Lesbian and Bisexual Characters On TV, And How They Died" by Riese, Autostraddle. March 11, 2016.
- ^ "All 29 Lesbian and Bisexual TV Characters Who Got Happy Endings" by Heather Hogan, Autostraddle. March 15, 2016.
- ^ All the TV character deaths of 2015-'16, in one chart, by Vox.
- ^ Where We Are On TV '16-'17, by GLAAD.
- ^ "What TV Can Learn From 'The 100' Mess" by Maureen Ryan, Variety. March 14, 2016.
- ^ Life After Death, by HuffPost. March 25, 2016.
- ^ "Why Jason Rothenberg's Apology Fell Flat With The 100's Fans And The Real Lessons To Learn", by Syfy. March 29, 2016.
- ^ a b jus souda nou don jus, Blood must not have blood. To The Lexa fandom!, Tumblr post by octaviakomskaikrugona.
- ^ Tumblr posts by perpetualbbps.
- ^ a b This is the letter that was delivered to Mark Pedowitz when we sent him #The100 themed cookies. #The100Season4 #Bellarke, tweet by @LifeIsBellarke. Archived version.
- ^ Tweet by @1nanyca
- ^ To the bullies, the cowards and the trolls. You lose. #RenewThe100, tweet by @speedmouse. Archived version.
- ^ Tweet by @jessskally. Archived version.
- ^ Tweet by @starfir31 (1/2). Archived version.
- ^ Tweet by @starfir31 (2/2). Archived version.
- ^ elycia + lexa snapchat filter, Tumblr post by barryspivot.
- ^ Tweet by @DebnamCarey.
- ^ The CW Breakdown 2015-2016 on LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com. Archived version.
- ^ TV: 2016-2017 Season on LGBTFansDeserveBetter.com. Select Network: The CW, Select between Endgame: All and Endgame: Dead. Archived version.
- ^ "May We Meet Again": Social Bonds, Activities, and Identities in the #Clexa Fandom by Mélanie Bourdaa. Published in A Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies (2018). Archived version.
- ^ Someone posted this on twitter and it just makes me so damn proud, Tumblr post by pillowprincesslexa. Archived version.
- ^ Anyone that's new to Clexakru, welcome to the extra af fandom, Tumblr post by dontwantthenextcommanderiwantyou. Archived version.
- ^ Documentary page on TheClexaProject.com.