Before ‘Star Wars’ And ‘Snyder Cuts,’ Sherlock Holmes Created Toxic Fans

Conan Doyle likely regretted having Holmes tumble off of a waterfall rather than, say, getting unambiguously disemboweled by a grizzly bear because fans immediately demanded that the writer bring Holmes back. They wore black armbands as if a real person had died, and The Strand Magazine, in which Holmes’ adventures were published, “lost 20,000 subscribers.”

Conan Doyle was essentially bullied into writing more Holmes stories; he was “verbally abused, and fans “denounced him as a brute and demanded that he resuscitate their hero.” He also received “death threats” from “outraged readers,” and there was even a report of a woman attacking Conan Doyle on the street with an umbrella. 

So really, our current technological landscape has just amplified something that’s always been present; when a work of fiction is overwhelmingly popular, a certain segment of fans will feel self-entitled and emboldened to be raging assholes if the stories they get don’t align with their expectations. And at least Sherlock Holmes died battling his arch-enemy and didn’t, say, burn Westeros to the ground

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Thumbnail: BBC 

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