The Internet is mourning. No, not because of the horrific situation in Egypt, but rather because One Direction fans believe 42 fans killed themselves in response to a British documentary, Crazy About One Direction, that portrayed fans of the boy band as being crazy. Right now on Twitter, the hashtag #Riplarryshippers is trending, with various people tweeting out condolences and pledges to stay strong:
People are in a state of such acute social media anguish because they heard a rumor (likely via Twitter, where it appears to have originated last night) that 42 One Direction fans reportedly killed themselves after being portrayed in the aforementioned documentary as "crazy," "insane," and "psychos." The Huffington Post's UK arm explains that the rumor started at 14 deaths, then rose to 28, and is now around 42. That even made a member of the band voice his concerns:
Not really sure what's going on right now I just hope everyone's ok xxx— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) August 16, 2013
So far, there are no confirmations of mass suicide: no names, no outcry from parents, statements from authorities. Further, the television station airing the documentary could find no evidence of the suicides. That all suggests there is a 99.99 percent probability that this story of One Direction fans going Jonestown is just like the story of Justin Bieber fans cutting themselves or Justin Bieber fans shaving their heads. That is, it's fake.
Mourning the (probably) imagined death of 42 fans is not exactly helpful in proving the fan base isn't crazy. But the more fascinating part of this is exactly what a "Larry Shipper" is. For the uninitiated, that's not a member of the band. Let's take it slowly here. Within the One Direction fanbase are some who fantasize that the young men are actually in gay relationships with one another. Thus a Zayn and Niall pairing become "Ziall," Niall and Liam turn into "Niam," and Zayn and Harry morph into "Zarry." And so on and so forth.
Accordingly, Larry is the pairing of Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. "Thanks to the pair’s close friendship and European approach to man-on-man PDA, Larry has emerged as the band’s sturdiest ship—a fantasy vessel so formidable its fans refer to it as the “S.S. Stylingson," wrote Amanda Hess for Tomorrow magazine. Hence the hashtag. Get it? Good.
So the imaginary fans who died aren't just any One Direction fans. Nope. The imaginary fans who died are a particular subset of One Direction fans who believe in the specific queer pairing of Styles and Tomlinson. Why did they supposedly kill themselves? We have no idea. Meanwhile...in Egypt.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.