Today’s Occurrence: Don’t Mess With Felicia Day
Social media is such a enigma. You never know what will become big news, or won’t, but something big is always around the corner. So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find out that some Twitter user bashed Felicia Day, and the Twitterverse was all up in a tizzy about the event. The Twitter user in question is Ryan Perez, who at the time of the offending tweets worked for gaming website Destructoid (Perez and Destructoid parted ways shortly after the incident).
Late yesterday night, Perez posed a question to his followers (roughly 50 at that time, according to Perez), “Does Felicia Day matter at all? I mean does she actually contribute anything useful to this industry, besides retaining a geek persona?” Twelve minutes later, he added a similar tweet (this time posing the question to Day herself), “@feliciaday, I keep seeing everywhere. Question: Do you matter at all? Do you even provide anything useful to gaming, besides “personality?” Perez wasn’t finished though, ending this series of tweets with, “@feliciaday, could you be considered nothing more than a glorified booth babe? You don’t seem to add anything creative to the medium.”
Soon after his series of tweets, Day’s friends and fans came to her aid, blasting Perez right back with a bombardment of insults of their own. The most notable insult grenade chucker was Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand By Me), who had no issue telling Perez exactly how he felt, “not only is he a fucking dick, he’s a fucking ignorant dick who doesn’t have his facts straight. Fuck that guy,” and, “that jackass owes @feliciaday a public apology at the very least. He’s an ignorant misogynist.”
Whether or not you agree with Wheaton’s comments, he does make one very good point. As someone that was associated with a business that deals with gaming (Destructoid) , Perez probably should have known better than to go bash a gamer icon (just one of the many hats Day wears). He later tweeted that he “really had no idea who you [Day] are (until now, anyhow),” which was stated in the last of a four part apology.
Day did very little to acknowledge the situation, not directly replying to Perez until after he (rightly) apologized. But she did reply to a few tweets from her friends and fans, who were more outspoken about their feelings toward Perez. As someone that’s neither famous or female (especially not a famous female in the nerd culture), I can’t begin to imagine the misogynist nonsense that Day probably has experienced during her journey to success, but I know it can’t be easy having to still deal with situations like this; overall though, she handled herself with class (something she always tends to do).
As for Perez, it’s safe to say that there are quite a few people that are still quite upset by his comments. While he no longer has a job, at least with Destructoid, the incident has increased his follower count to over 2,600 (and climbing), something he even couldn’t have expected; but, it’s safe to say that every freelance writer should learn a lesson from Perez on what not to do if you want to have a successful career writing about gaming, or nerd culture in general.
I’d like to go on record that I don’t agree with Perez’s comments about Day; in fact, I’m a big fan of her work (I love The Guild and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog). She’s an extremely talented writer, actor and producer, and she’s done a lot for independent productions and game/nerd culture, largely due to the success of The Guild. But, I didn’t write this article to defend Day (it’s not really my place); instead, I’m writing because I was a bit thrown by the amount of backlash Perez received (backlash always seems to amaze me).
It’s true that Perez tweeted some ignorant statements about Day, not fully understanding who he was dealing with. So, when the comments went viral, thanks to a tweet from Day’s friend Veronica Belmont (host of Tekzilla, Revision3 and The Sword and Laser), the backlash came pouring down on him. It’s only natural that when someone talks badly about someone you’re close to or admire, you want to come back at that person harder; but, when you really think about it, was it really necessary?
If Belmont didn’t tweet about Perez’s comments, her 1.6 million-plus followers (maybe even Day herself) more than likely wouldn’t have known they existed (think about how many absurd, racist and ridiculous comments are posted to Twitter everyday); granted, Perez did tweet directly to Day, but I have to guess that she receives so many mentions that she can’t even read through them all. Take away Belmont’s tweet and maybe 50 Twitter users would have seen the comment and simply moved on with their lives.
Again, I don’t agree with Perez (in the slightest), and I’m certainly not defending his actions; but, when push comes to shove, this certainly seems like a mole hill that was turned into a mountain. I understand Belmont’s desire to not let “assholes slip under the radar,” but if that’s a crusade she wants take part in, she’s going to be very busy for quite some time.