On July 4th, Odd Future band member and 2011 breakout star Frank Ocean posted a grainy screengrab of his new album’s liner notes on Tumblr. In the “thank you’s” section, he described falling in love with a man, and the heart-wrenching experience of being rejected. His story wasn’t really about sexuality so much as love—falling into it, accepting it, and requiting it. Those subtleties didn’t seem to matter on Twitter, where the 24-year-old was barraged with homophobic slurs and hateful messages—despite statements of support from Beyonce, Russell Simmons, and even (arguably homophobic) Odd Future frontman Tyler the Creator. Weirdly, the media portrayed Ocean’s story as a triumph for an industry where homosexuality is taboo. But a cursory look at Twitter told another, uglier story.
But what is the Internet, if not a vehicle for vigilante justice? After seeing the outpouring of hate on Twitter, five young Swedish designers decided to build a website that would leverage the power of the Interweb to defend Ocean.
Using Twitter To Troll Frank Ocean’s Homophobic Haters
It took the team less than a day to develop and launch Hate Tweets of Frank Ocean, which went live yesterday. The site collects dozens of homophobic Tweets, framing them above a pink heart-shaped button that generates an @reply to each individual message. The auto response? “It’s not who you love – it’s *that* you love that truly matters.” The group hopes they’ll show online bigots that “this kind of behavior just isn’t acceptable,” explains Åström, who says the response has been “inspiring.” Yep—the livestream of responses is pretty wonderful.
Really neat execution, but does that really educate those people? That might not be the point - Twitter isn’t the place for a thoughtful dialogue.
Good on them for coming up with the idea and getting it done, though.