How Reddit and 4Chan completely derailed a Taylor Swift photo-op contest

Grae Stafford Freelance Photographer
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Taylor Swift fans are dedicated — some would say obsessed — and meeting their idol is probably pretty high up their list of life goals, but those dreams have been crushed under the weight of “The Internet.”

It all started innocently enough when Boston’s KISS 108 had the bright idea of giving away two tickets and a back stage photo-op to the serial man-eater’s “Biggest Fan.” It was intended to generate publicity for the station and would get all sorts of attention from avid “Swifties.”

Well, as Oscar Wilde put it: “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” KISS 108 got considerably more than they bargained for.

The internet communities of Reddit and 4Chan got wind of the contest and propelled a 39-year-old man by the name of “Charles Z” to the top of the list. Charles, who was originally suggested by a user with the statement,”My creepy 39-year-old friend named Charles would like to crush all those girls’ dreams (and then sniff Taylor Swift’s hair cuz he’s into that),” even spawning his own hashtag, #VOTECHARLES, as the web communities ramped up their efforts.

KISS 108, like a rodeo clown atop a bull they can no longer control, did the only thing they could think of: They bailed. The station pulled the plug on the contest, leading to legions of disappointed “Swifties” and some very aggrieved internet “Anons.”

The hashtag #JUSTICEFORCHARLES sprang up as users argued that Charles deserved his prize. A petition has started on change.org calling for “True Justice,” claiming that the only reason Charles didn’t win was because “he wasn’t the expected demographic to win.”

Anons have continued to push Charles Z as a candidate for other “Biggest Fan” competitions, including Selena Gomez and Swift’s ex-boyfriend Joe’s band The Jonas Brothers.

Meeting one’s idols can always be a let down, but at least Charles Z and Joe Jonas can bond over their shared rejection by  Swift.

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