Fandom-esque | The ethics of celebrity internet daddies

Fandom-esque is a biweekly blog about the fandoms of the pop culture sphere and their recent ongoing endeavors in TV, film and more.

Pedro Pascal is everywhere these days.

I, for one, have been a card-carrying Pascal stan since his “Game of Thrones” days where he played Oberyn Martell, the Dornish bisexual prince of my dreams. Like many from that show, he was gone too soon, and Jon Snow’s brooding face could not match the fiery Red Viper in my heart.

I’m thirsting a bit, I’ll admit that! But the official internet christened Pascal as the “daddy” of the internet when Pascal participated in Vanity Fair’s lie detector test interview and was asked, “Who is a bigger daddy, you or Oscar Issac?”

His response, which has broken many internet and fandom circles — “I’m a bigger daddy than him. I’m older than him. Although he’s a real daddy, he’s got kids and I don’t. But daddy is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your daddy.”

Here’s the video for convenience purposes. Watch it. Trust me.

Point is, Pascal has got moves — and he knows exactly how to pander to his fans and the wider media to get press. He’s certainly been doing well Hollywood-wise recently. He’s moved from King’s Landing to Tatooine as Din Djarin, the star of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” — and he didn’t even have to take his helmet off to achieve a perfect smolder. Recently he’s been on a press tour promoting HBO’s new series “The Last of Us,” in which he stars as actual daddy, Joel Miller, a smuggler in the zombie apocalypse tasked with transporting a girl named Ellie across the continental United States.

“The Last of Us” is shaping up to be HBO’s biggest cash cow in between the release of “House of the Dragon” seasons, and it has a lot to live up to. The video game of the same name, which the show is based on, is considered one of the best of all time — and Joel is a much-loved and much-thirsted-over character.

Yet, some people aren’t so keen on Pascal’s newfound “daddy” status.

A good amount of Pascal fans have perhaps overanalyzed a video of Pascal at “The Last of Us” premiere where a reporter asks him “if he knows he’s the daddy of the internet.” Pascal responds accordingly, and while he doesn’t seem supremely uncomfortable to me, some fans think the daddy thing has gone too far.

Is Pascal being oversexualized? Yeah. One of the unfortunate realities of being a Latinx actor in Hollywood is that more than half the time they’re boxed into oversexualized roles. Oberyn Martell, for all that I love him, doesn’t escape the “spicy foreigner” stereotype. People in real life, or on the internet are going to do the same to the actor.

It brings up an interesting point, the ethics of the sexualization of celebrities — which I’d like to point out I’ve only seen discussed recently with male actors.

Pascal is a good example. He panders to his “daddy-ness,” most likely to get press for his new shows and movies — but is it something we should really be calling him? We don’t know him, and the hard reality for many obsessed fans is, they’re not having sex with him.

Markiplier, a bastion of all Gen Z childhoods and one of the most prolific gaming streamers/YouTubers out there, actually broke the OnlyFans website last year. He promised to donate the proceeds to charity after fans met his request to rocket his podcast to the top of streaming charts.

I suppose that simply being a content creator is consenting to people saying weird shit in your mentions and DMs on the internet. In all the build-up to Markiplier’s nude release, he certainly got some bold comments from fans. Here’s a TikTok below with an excerpt from one of his live streams, and I’ll concede that in this video Markiplier definitely doesn’t seem comfortable with what’s being said, such as “slap the tip onto the camera.”

@jellitok

♬ original sound – JelliTok

I’m not one to believe in old-time sayings — that “blood is thicker than water” nonsense never made sense to me — but “sex sells” is right about every single time.

BuzzFeed has made a killing off their YouTube series “Celebrity Thirst Tweets” where mostly male celebrities react to thirsty tweets about them. The videos feature Henry Cavill, Ben Barnes, Taron Egerton, Andrew Garfield, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan and dozens more. Some of the videos are funny, and the celebrities seem to take the tweets in good sport, but there are definitely some awkward ones where I’m sure the celebrity featured is wondering just how much longer this interview is going to be.

But like I mentioned earlier, I’ve noticed that fans are only bringing up “boundaries” and “appropriateness” when it’s male celebrities that are under fire from thirsty people on the internet.

According to the PEW research center, 33% of women under 35 have reported being sexually harassed online compared to only 11% of men under 35. I’m sure celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Zendaya, Jenna Ortega, Megan Thee Stallion and more don’t even bother looking at their DMs.

We’re not going to be able to stop people from tweeting weird thirsty things at celebrities, and I’d agree that the price of fame is dealing with uncomfortable things from fans from time to time. If Pascal or Markiplier or whoever explicitly asked for people to stop calling them something — it should be respected.

In general, I advise people to practice the underappreciated art of saying nothing. You can thirst over Pascal in silence, to the many TikTok edits of him in existence. In fact, here’s one for the road, I hope to NOT see your comment on there.

@aexcheck

in my Pedro Pascal era… #fyp #aexcheck #oberynmartell #gameofthrones

♬ original sound – 𝘑 𝘩 𝘰 𝘳 𝘥 𝘺

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