Niall Horan Shines Light on Online Harassment

“But I just think it’s crazy how we let people away with things like this”

Usually, Niall Horan is soft-spoken and easy-going, he isn’t a guy that let’s too much get him down, but on May 24th he took to Twitter to address an issue that too many celebrities are being confronted with daily.  Harassment.

Celebrities from athletes to actors and musicians alike are no different from people we see in our day to day lives.  They go to the market, they hang out with their friends, they have families that they love and care about – they’re human.  The only difference between a celebrity and your best friend (in most cases) is their career.

Actors star in film and television, musicians sing, play, and write music, athletes play sport for a living, artists paint, draw, sculpt, photograph, write, etc. These are the career paths chosen by said professionals – it’s how they make their money, it’s how they provide for themselves and their loved ones – it’s their passion, it’s what they’re proud of, but it doesn’t determine their worth as human beings.

It seems that, in the digital age where everything is seemingly at our fingertips, some fans have become more demanding of the ‘famous people’ that they look up to.  While the entitled fans, in most cases, are small in number – they are loud in presence and they demand to be noticed.  In fact, they demand it almost as much as they demand that their favorite celebrities fit the mold in which they feel they should exist.

They’ve also become more critical of the actions and words spoken by their “favorite celebrities” – everything a famous person says or does it put under a microscope and if one “flaw” is found (several times the flaw is made up in the minds of the interpreter) then they are ridiculed publicly or judged harshly without compassion or understanding.

The latest instance of a small but loud group being vile and disturbing when it comes to celebrities involved Niall, and even more unfortunately, his family.  For the last two weeks, Niall received a number of messages from people he still had the decency to call “fans” that targeted not only himself but his family, which is what he had the most trouble swallowing.

The nature of what was said goes beyond our realm of understanding, and it’s not appropriate to give it attention, but there were disturbing comments made about people Niall loves, specifically his young cousin Theo, who he’s shared photos and love of through his career with One Direction.  What some people forget is that once the boys are off stage, they’re no longer required to give anything to their fans and this rings true with any famous person.  However, since they are so loving and giving – Niall, Liam, Louis, and Harry have invited fans into their personal lives and stories without demanding respect in return.  Maybe it’s because they hoped fans would appreciate them enough to know where boundaries lie and not make it a point to cross them.

While what happened today was awful, the positive for the boys of One Direction is that the majority of their fan base is fiercely protective.  Niall isn’t the first member, nor the last, to deal with harassment, and this harassment also carries over to their families.  From threatening phone calls and hacks to stalking and vile social media comments – they’ve all experienced their share of negativity, but fans work hard to counteract it with kindness.

After Niall’s tweets, and how kind he was in spite of what he received, fans tweeted #RespectNiall and those with a Niall follow on Twitter offered to put kind things onto his TL so he’d see all the support and love that exists for him.  While that doesn’t erase the awful things he had to read, it does show him that there are respectful fans – and they’re large in number.

The lads of One Direction aren’t the only ones who deal with this disrespect, the guys of 5SOS deal with it, the ladies of Little Mix and Fifth Harmony and sadly, we’d be here all day if we named everyone, the list goes on and on.  While the degree of the harassment varies the sad fact remains that it happens daily, and the celebrities we look up to deserve better, as fans, we deserve better too – we should stand up and say that kindness and respect matter, you can only get back what you first give out.

So to Niall, we hope you see the kindness more than the harassment, and we hope that on days where the unkindness seems to prevail, you know you’ve got a world of fans rooting for you and only wanting the best things to cross your path.  If you ever need a reminder please just glance at the #RespectNiall hashtag, and know how many people are in your corner.

You’re the first guy to congratulate a friend when they’ve done something incredible, you support the people you love, and you are never afraid to talk about the things that bring you joy – you’re an inspiration to all of us, and you deserve to know that every single day.  Thank you for bringing light to One Direction fans, for assuring us that there’s a future with you, for showing kindness instead of retaliating with hate when that’s what you’re given, and thanks for being an example of someone we should all strive to be more like.

If you want to spread some positivity to Niall, or any of the lads, tweet us at @CelebMix1D and we’ll retweet you!

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.