The Roy Dotrice "Nay-sayer" Incident

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Event
Event: The Roy Dotrice "Nay-sayer" Incident
Participants:
Date(s): though had its roots a year earlier, July 20-22, 1990
Type:
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast (TV)
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The Roy Dotrice "Nay-sayer" Incident has roots in an editorial in a newsletter called Pipeline and took place during the Beauty and the Beast Wars.

The Timeline

  • In summer or fall of 1989, there was a Pipeline editorial written by Stephanie Wiltse that used the term "nay-sayer" to described fans of Beauty and the Beast who were unhappy about the changes in casting and plotting in the third season of the show
  • At a spring or early summer 1990 Creation Con in San Diego, Roy Dotrice (the actor who portrayed "Father") made comments to fans about how he'd had a private conversation with a fan who did not like third season, one in which he referred to her and others who did not like the third season of the show as "bad seed and people who had to be brought around to a correct way of thinking."
  • During July 20-22, 1990, Roy Dotrice (the actor who portrayed "Father") (a scheduled guest of honor but ultimately not present at Tunnelcon) sent a audio tape to fans in which he makes comments about how fans should return to the fold.

First, Some History

The War

The very controversial third (and last) season had recently ended and fans were embroiled in The Beauty and the Beast Wars.

The Term "Nay-Sayer

One fan traced the origins of the term nay-sayer: "I'd like to touch upon a few things, starting with, specifically, the term "nay-sayer". It was used in a Pipeline editorial written by Stephanie Wiltse and it didn't ask people not to be 'nay-sayers', it had a heading that said: Attention All Nay-Sayers. It got my attention." [1]

A fan in 1996 fan wrote:
"Nay-sayers" goes back to one editorial that appeared in an issue of Pipeline in the summer or Fall of '89. The editor, Stephanie Wiltse was making an effort to calm people down who were ready to storm Witt-Thomas before the series had even returned. She was saying that we shouldn't be nay-sayers and should wait to see what is in store before we condemn. [2]
In 1990, a fan said:
The end of the innocence. That's what we've found. For two beautiful, inspiring years, we were all friends....
 kindred souls. And now? What have we become? Nay-sayers? Dark-siders? The media, that we so impressed with our unwavering dedication last May, has been referring to the "two camps" in fandom: Pro-third season and Anti-third season. [3]

Tunnelcon: July 1990

During July 20-22, 1990, Roy Dotrice (the actor who portrayed "Father"), had been a scheduled guest of honor, was not present at Tunnelcon, but his presence was felt none-the-less, but in recorded form:
We then heard an audio tape of the very sincere message that Roy Dotrice sent the con. He was very sad that "your dear old Dad" couldn't be with us as he was filming a special in England. From what seemed to be a poolside filled with children, he teased his friend Ritch about eating all the food - to which Ritch later replied, "He's remarkably intact for an old guy!" On a more serious note, Roy addressed the differences of opinion over the third season and said he hoped that we could win over dissenters back into our fold. He hoped to be at Tunnel Con 20 by which time, he said, his wife may allow him to play at the roulette tables! A former New York Opera singer then sang "The First Time I Loved Forever". [4]

The San Diego Incident: 1990

Dotrice appeared as a guest of honor at the San Diego Creation Con sometime before August 1990. It seems likely it was before "Tunnelcon" in late July. [5] While there, he spoke about a private conversation he'd had with a fan who did not like the third season of the show.

A fan's comment in August 1990:

The San Diego incident (Eds. note: the incident Helen refers to is a Creation convention last spring where Roy Dotrice spoke about a private conversation he had had with a fan who did not like third season, and where he referred to her and others who did not like it as "bad seed and people who had to be brought around to a correct way of thinking.) has been on my mind since it occurred and it's time to express my opinion, since I can no longer keep silent. If I had been in San Diego to hear Mr. Dotrice's diatribe, I know I would have been mortified. To put it kindly, he was misinformed, and accepted the word of his source as the gospel truth. Unfortunately, it was not. I am sure he did not suddenly pounce on the fan named, proceed to call her when witnesses were present, and upbraid her at home and on stage for her "lack of support" without first receiving incorrect and exaggerated information from this source.

If we as ordinary fans are constantly warned not to spread or believe stories unless we are absolutely sure they are factual, how much more important is it for a respected and well-loved actor to follow this guideline? Oris it that for a "star," rules are suspended? The fan in question, as he would have learned had he consulted other fan leaders, has always been one of the staunchest supporters of B&TB from the beginning through the first two seasons. If she chose not to like the third season, as many of us have, she should not be blasted for it in public by someone who does not know what he is talking about. It would have been more in keeping with the character of "Father" to act as a conciliator, rather than as one who has widened the schism. Even worse is the fact that, as a star, those spoken words carry the weight of believability, while the chastised fan cannot stand before an audience who will pay to hear her side of it. [6]
From a fan in September 1990:

In a letter I wrote earlier, I expressed my frustration and feelings of hurt over what Beauty and the Beast fandom had become. I wrote, "There is no SAFE PLACE for us outcasts of fandom," fans who did not share in the "accepted" view. (Whichever view that was.).Shortly after I sent that letter off, I attended the by now infamous Beauty and the Beast Creation Convention held in San Diego, California, with guest Roy Dotrice. Where, to my utter disbelief, Mr. Dotrice proceeded to go through all those same one-sided opinions that had originally driven me to write my first letter. I felt as if he was striking out at me personally, for I — like those he chastised — was not happy with third season. I wondered if anvone had ever told him the other side of all this. Were those his own opinions, or someone else's filtered through an unknowing pond. Did it even matter?The damage had been done. This "rift" in fandom, this "wound" had just begun to heal. It had calmed down just enough for a thin layer of healing to reconnect the divided halves of fandom. Then came San Diego, and left feeling that the wound had been ripped open all over again. Only now it was worse. For now it was filled with spite, hate and vengeance.

Afterwards, I was left bewildered, hurt and very angry. Hopelessness began to settle in; after all, what was the point? How many more times would fandom reopen that wound, striking out at each other? [7]
A fan in December 1990 said:
I was pleased to see [Helen C] speak out about the infamous "San Diego" incident -- the very incident that, sadly, made me realize that the self-proclaimed "Father" of our fandom was not.[8]

References

  1. comment at volume 3 Of Love and Hope, February 5, 1996
  2. In volume 3 Of Love and Hope, January 20, 1996
  3. fan in the June 1990 Tunneltalk
  4. PILLOWED AND LEID IN LAS VEGAS: A Trip Report on Tunnel Con I, a con report by Sandra Burrows and Anne Simpson
  5. It could be possible that fans' reports confuse the Creation Con with Tunnelcon as they sound like they were roughly the same time, but the locations are different (Las Vegas) and (San Diego), and enough fans comment on the San Diego element that this makes this possibility less likely.
  6. from Tunneltalk v.1 n.6 (August 1990)
  7. from Tunneltalk v.1 n.7 (September 1990)
  8. from Tunneltalk v.1 n.10 (December 1990)