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Beyond Anti-Fandom: Cheerleading, Textual Hate and New Media Ethics

Drawing on a case study involving mediated vitriol targeting cheerleaders, this article identifies two potentially problematic aspects of the media studies concept of anti fandom. First, it critiques the classification of vitriolic texts produced by anti fans as belonging primarily to the field of audiences and reception. It argues that this move risks sidelining the fact that antifan discourse also constitutes a set of influential texts authored by a group of powerful textual producers. Second, it questions the designation of the human targets of anti fandom as texts. This risks underplaying the ethical dimensions of the en masse articulation of vitriol towards human targets.