One Direction Fandom Wars

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See also: One Direction, Larry Is Real, Larrie, Het Girl, Anti-Larrie
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OT4 vs OT5

A derivative of OTP but rather than referring to a ship connotates whether a fan considers the true band to still include Zayn Malik, who left in early 2015.

My Fave vs Your Fave

The conflict between fans of specific band members has existed since the beginning but may have become more pronounced after One Direction went on hiatus in 2015.

As arguably the most prominent member, these often involve Harry. He had been rumored to be going solo for years prior to them going on hiatus and some fans have viewed him as getting preferential treatment.

The debates can be particularly heated between fans sometimes referred to as Solo Harries and Rad Louies. This may be rooted in concerns that 1DHQ's PR damage control over the highly public theory that Larry Is Real resulted in Louis's career being sabotaged for the sake of Harry's.

Solo Harries that are perceived as wanting him to be straight or to only ship him with females, are sometimes called Solo Het Harries.

These terms are often used derogatively, though some fans have claimed them for themselves.

Fans vs Stalkers

There has been backlash against what some see as stalker fans[1], who are thought to follow (stalk) the band members and may also get preferential treatment from the band, including information about their locations and access to listening parties.

Twitter Fans vs Tumblr Fans

One Direction's exposive rise in the early 2010s coincided with the rise of Twitter. Their social media marketing strategy involved frequent personal interactions with fans and has been suggested as the major factor behind their rapid spread worldwide.

One fan studies scholar wrote:

The narrative about Directioners as “a new breed of fan” is principally about computer-mediated communication—in particular, the rise of social media, and especially Twitter. As one fan remarks, “Twitter is obviously a big part of it … can’t really be in a fandom if you don’t have Twitter.” Other comments—“I’m always on it,” “I’m on it all-day,” “you can’t not check Twitter”—and one fan’s claim that she tweeted the band 182 times in one day strengthens the self-narrative of the “real” fan—demonstrating the importance of social media in affirming and maintaining the fan identity. Twitter is “like a prayer place. When you go to a prayer place you feel like you’re connected to God. When you’re on Twitter, it’s like you’re connected to One Direction,” explains one fan.

To be sure, there has been a general and marked shift: the proliferation of new media technologies, especially the Internet, has led to the so-called mainstreaming of fandom precisely because it renders previously marginalized voices visible and accessible. But this has also had a detrimental effect on the way fandom is represented in the media as commentators frequently mine available and accessible information—which they see as extreme—without acknowledging, or understanding, how such behaviors are not reflections of psychologically unhinged individuals, but cathected modes of communication and performance. Interactive modes certainly broaden and diversify opportunities for fan cultures (Scodari 2007), but also allows for moral judgment and scorn of such behaviors from those on the “outside” peering in from different social and cultural contexts.[2]

Band members and their friends and families responding to and even seeking out fans on social media may have created a perception of accessibility that complicates the question of where the fandom's fourth wall is located for both fandom works and discussions of the band.

Directioners on Twitter often want to interact directly with the band members and their entourage, but Tumblrites resent Twitter fans for bringing their activities to the attention of the band members.[3]

Many fans consider Tumblr a fandom space, while they consider Twitter to be more public as the band members themselves are on there.[note 1] Instagram allows comments directly on a user's photos and the posts of people associated with the band regularly get flooded with comments.[4]

However, none of the social media sites may be genuinely private. Band members have been known to respond to tweets they haven't been tagged in[note 2], Harry has mentioned searching Twitter for criticisms of his performance[note 3], and the band members have shown awareness of activities on Tumblr.[note 4]

The Fourth Wall is a frequent and often complicated topic of debate, particularly Larry Stylinson & The Fourth Wall.

Online Harassment

See also: Larry Stylinson & The Fourth Wall - Social Media

Only a small minority of fans engage in harassment, but they are often the ones who get the most attention and end up being the public face of the fandom.

Band members and their friends, family and romantic partners are frequent targets of harassment.

Public figures, radio DJs and journalists who have been critical of One Direction, its band members or specific segments of the fandom have reported being targets of rapid online retribution.

This behavior has been met with harsh criticism from other segments of the fandom, with concerns that this behavior has had negative real-world consequences.

Larries vs Non-Larries

See also: Larrie - View of Larries

Larries are fans who believe Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are a real-life couple (see Larry Is Real). Other fans refer to them as tinhats, since they fit the definition of that fannish term. For many Larry believers, the use of the phrase "tinhat' is considered objectionable.[5]

While some have considered this the equivalent of ship wars in other fandoms, that is not an accurate comparison. While Larries believe that Harry and Louis are a real couple, Larry shippers understand that the ship is fictional. The ship itself, Harry/Louis, is not being contended, but the reality of it. Therefore, it's not a traditional ship war, where one group of fans is arguing the superiority of their ship over another ship.

Larries vs Elounor Shippers may be the most prominent ship war, but it is followed closely by Larries vs Het Harries[note 5] and Larries vs Larry shippers.[6][note 6]

Conflicts heated up in 2012 after the rumors that Larry ruined Harry and Louis's friendship and the implication from the band that Larries were not welcome as fans (see also Bullshit 1.0).

Larries have been reported to claim that anyone who disagrees with them is stupid.[citation needed] To be fair, here's an anonymous Elounor shipper in 2013 making a weak argument against Larry based on their astrological signs: Untitled eleanorcalderconfessions, Archived version reblogged by wholelotofhislarrie on 3 Jul 2013. Other Larries claim non-Larry believers are homophobic or have been hired by Modest! to spout the party line.[citation needed]

Some Larry shippers have complained that Larries have ruined their enjoyment of the ship, both in depriving the fandom of cute canon material when Harry and Louis cut down on their public interactions and from the stigma that developed around Larry Stylinson.

One fan said:

I’ve never been in a fandom that’s shamed me so hard for shipping something before and it’s getting old.[7]

Other fans assert that Larry shippers who do not believe that Larry Is Real are rare, though this is debatable.

This is the kind of shit that used to identify you as a crazy tinhatter, but now it seems to be the majority view of the fandom. The baseline is that they’re together until proven otherwise. The backlash against Harry/Louis tinhatters doesn’t come from other Harry/Louis shippers, the way it would in other RPF fandoms; it comes from Louis/Eleanor shippers because tinhatting and shipping are essentially the same thing in this fandom. There’s no real space in fandom for people who ship Harry/Louis in the fictional sense.
anonymous fan quoted in The Daily Dot - One Direction fans have trouble separating their "Larry Stylinson" fantasy from reality, Archived version (Posted 22 Aug 2012, accessed 9 Sep 2019)</ref>

The earliest conflicts may have originated from the Larry vs Elounor ship war (which began as soon as Louis publicly started dating Eleanor during the promo of their first album in 2011) and some have noted a large overlap between Anti-Larrie blogging and Elounor shipping: Well, I almost got sucked into the Elounor group on tumblr. You know, anti-larry blogs, debunking all the larry "proof" and arguing with people.[8]

Facebook screencap of hate circulating among Larries in 2013

Fans on all sides have expressed being victims of harassment. In 2013 a fan commented on Deviantart: So some elounor shippers have started hacking larry shippers and telling them they should kill themselves for shipping it like #1 GET THE F*CK OVER YOURSELF. Telling people to die because you have problems with what they believe you need help. #2 hacking people and saying I hope you die if you ship them isn't going to help you. [9]

Sorting out the truth after the fact is difficult as the tale may have grown in the telling. For example, claims of fans being driven to suicide by other fans:

many larry shippers have killed themselves because of elounor shippers. [10]
11 of my Larry Stylinson family has died because of the hate her existence breeds, two of which committed suicide last night. I just want her to leave my family and friends and the boys I love alone." [11]
These claims could easily have had their origin in 2013 tumblr posts circulating among Larries. [12] Meanwhile, other fans, remembering incidents of faked evidence and making up stories whole cloth, were less likely to believe that the reported events had actually occurred. (See Crazy About One Direction.)

Some people have suggested that a sense of persecution may have led to increased sensitivity and insularity to the point where Larries might overreact with anyone who said that Larry was not real.[citation needed]

Beliefs and perceptions aside, the level of hostility between the two groups is real. In response to the 2014 Larries' call for an album boycott based on the belief that Louis's tweets were written by a homophobic management, one anti-Larry responded:

Larries vs Antis

Antis, or Anti-Larries, attempt to disprove the theory that Larry Is Real and may seek out Larries in attempts to change their minds or discredit them.[note 7]

In many ways Larry anti-fans position themselves along the same lines as One Direction anti-fans. They pathologize and stereotype Larry shippers, arguing that they are unable to differentiate reality from fiction, bring the fandom into disrepute and are not true fans.[14]

Antis may intentionally seek Larries out and many Larries have reported experiencing abuse.[note 8]

Larries on Tumblr have reported having to choose an approach for dealing with Antis. A number report going out of their way to avoid the attention[note 9], some simply "block and report" any abusive asks while others respond mockingly.

One user encouraged tolerance and open discussion:

Anonymous: Respecting the anti-larries is a beautiful idea but really hard to do when you see the things they say about us

I want to start reminding you that just because someone doesn’t believe Harry and Louis are together doesn’t mean they’re an anti-Larrie, not everybody who think they’re straight has declared a war on us. I think the real sentiment behind this is respecting the “het side” (for lack of a better name) as a whole and anti-Larries are just a small part of it (very noisy but most non-Larries don’t have blogs dedicated to make fun of us).

I understand it’s not an easy task: I’m a target, I know perfectly well how nasty they can be because they make sure to remind me by sending me messages, talking about me on their blogs and reblogging my posts with insulting comments/tags (in other languages too!). Sometimes I just feel like saying ‘you know what, go to hell, I’ve done nothing to deserve this’ and blocking them but I don’t, you know why? Because over the past 3 or 4 months I’ve gotten a lot of ashamed people who have come around to ask for advice, people who admitted to be one of those haters who sent me messages literally telling me I deserved to die. So, yeah, it’s not easy and I get it but I don’t think the answer is to become one of them.

⁠— posted on Tumblr on 9 Mar 2015; the post goes on to discourage bullying of Antis in return

Antis have reported being recipients of bullying from Larries as well:

One Direction fandom. Where you can't argue, having differing opinions, or debunk tinhats without being told to kill yourself.

Some Larries have argued this is not common, however, and have expressed frustration that Antis may be targeting the wrong people:

Dude, there are no Larrie blogs with more than 3 followers (if any) that create blogs with “anti-larrie” URL’s and spend their day talking about how mentally ill antis are. Sure there are a few that get fed up and waste some time being publicly frustrated at the hate they get, but YOU are not the main topic of conversation day in and day out. Harry, Louis, and the band are.

The Twitter Larries that answer “Larry Is Real” on every tweet by anyone associated with 1D? They annoy us too. The people that comment “Freddie is fake” on all IG photos? Not us and we frequently bemoan the intrusive and counter-productive nature of that behavior. The people that do that are not the same people that get hate in their Tumblr asks.

posted on Tumblr on 5 Apr 2016 in response to an anonymous ask from a self-identified anti

Notes and References


  1. ^ While Harry's sister has had a Tumblr account on which she interacted with fans, few other people associated with the band have been known to be on Tumblr.
  2. ^ A famous example of this is Bullshit 1.0, but Niall's Twitter frequently drags fans who are discussing him whether he's been tagged or not.
  3. ^ Harry Styles mentioned that following their first performance of What Makes You Beautiful in 2011, he searched Twitter for criticisms of his own performance.
  4. ^ In 2019, when Louis was asked in an interview about a blog on Tumblr that finds and documents the clothes he wears, he already knew who they were.
  5. ^ Among them Haylor shippers, though some Larries have also suggested that Hets prefer to ignore evidence that Harry and Louis are together in order to ship them with themselves.
  6. ^ Larry shippers are sometimes also called Larries and the groups are frequently conflated outside the fandom, likely due to the crossover between them with Larries also shipping Larry.
  7. ^ Some Antis have opposed both Larry shippers and Larries, but a number Antis oppose only fans believe that Larry is real and may even identify as shippers themselves.
  8. ^ Jones, B (2016) documented the following tweets sent in the wake of Crazy of One Direction. Some Larries agree these are typical representations of message they receive on Tumblr as well.
    “‘Larry shippers’ I will throw you off your ‘ship’ and you will drown and die”.
    I think larry shippers are mentally and psichologic ill
    and still larry shippers can’t see how pathetic they look oh dear
  9. ^ This may include turning off anonymous asks, blocking Anti blogs to prevent them from reblogging their posts, or not publicly identifying themselves as Larries.


  1. ^ "When this stalker fan showed up on my dash again" posted by plaidshirtsandheadscarves on Tumblr on 7 Jul 2015. (Accessed 8 Sep 2019)
  2. ^ Proctor, W. (2016). A New Breed of Fan?: Regimes of Truth, One Direction Fans, and Representations of Enfreakment. In L. Bennett & P. Booth (Eds.), Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture (Ch 6, pp. 67-77). Bloomsbury Academic & Professional.
  3. ^ "One Direction Fans: How Directioners Deal With Online Harassment" by Aja Romano. Huffpost. Accessed 6 Sep 2019.
  4. ^ Some consider this to be most prominent in regards to Larry Is Real and, in 2016, Louis's Instagram blocked the word "Larry". (Louis Tomlinson Bans "Larry" From His Instagram & Gets Trolled Hard, E! Online, 16 Sep 2016. Accessed 6 Sep 2019.)
  5. ^ See Fandom and abelist language, Archived version and the counter-responses Tinhat is not abelist, Archived version and The only people saying it’s ableist are Larries, Archived version
  6. ^ tumblr post, archived, by im-on-fire-now, posted September 15, 2015.
  7. ^ See checkthemargins's reblog of a reblog by glitterbootsandyellowshorts, June 4, 2014.
  8. ^ From Fail_fandomanon, 2015-01-01
  9. ^ Elounor x Larry rant by Emily99723, Jun 23, 2013).
  10. ^ (tumblr post by literalbullshit, reblogged by the-counter-narrative, Archived version, 29 Dec 2014.)
  11. ^ Why I Calmly And Rationally Despise Eleanor Calder, blog post by sexualsofas, 1 Aug 2013. Reposted to tumblr a few days later: : Why I Calmly And Rationally Despise Eleanor Calder, Archived version
  12. ^ like this one showing a screencap of alleged Elounor shippers on Facebook saying Larries should kill themselves. (Reasons why I don’t go on One Direction Facebook pages., Archived version, reblogged by the founder of Rainbow Direction on 18 Jul 2013. Originally posted on 17 Jul 2013 by wholelotofhislarrie).
  13. ^ YALL ARE SO EMBERASSING, Archived version
  14. ^ Jones, B. (2016). "I Will Throw You Off Your Ship and You Will Drown and Die": Death Threats, Intrafrandom Hate, and the Performance of Fangirling. In L. Bennett & P. Booth (Eds.), Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture (Ch 5, pp. 53-65). Bloomsbury Academic & Professional.