Nicole Crowther, who appears in this week's episode of "The Internet Ruined My Life," explains how one tweet almost ruined hers.
To fellow Gleeks, from a Gleek... Some of you may have heard of me, some of you haven't. It depends on how much you keep up with the social interactions of fandom online. I'm Nicole Crowther, the one-time extra on the television show Glee who tweeted out the spoiler for the prom episode of the series in 2011.
What most people tend to forget is that I am a Gleek. I'm one of you. I always was. As a young girl struggling with accepting my sexual orientation, Glee immediately grasped my attention for its progressive, revolutionary depiction of LGBT's on prime time network television. It was one of the first shows that said, "It's okay to be who you are and proud of it" and that's why, in my opinion, it was so hugely successful. It spoke to a wide variety of people, people like you and me, people who struggled through high school trying to fit in and be 'normal.'
And really, what is normal? If we're all honest, none of us fit the idealized vision of what normal is anyway. I know because I tried and failed miserably. My point though is that this show helped me accept myself for who I am. The show was inclusive, empathetic, compassionate and everything anyone struggling to feel accepted ever wanted in a show. It was leaps and bounds ahead of any others with its representation of minorities and it was praised for its bold storylines, complex and dynamic characters, and positive message. It broke down barriers and impossibilities left and right and it gained the success it rightly deserved.
My obsession with the show was probably borderline unhealthy, I literally lived and breathed
every episode. It dominated most conversations I had with family and friends to the point that they even became annoyed with me. That is why I turned to Twitter in the first place, to find other fans who felt as strongly as I did about the show. I laughed with you all, I cried with you all, and I absolutely felt everything that you felt. That’s what was great about Glee, it had a way of making you feel. I let my feelings and my love for the show blind me and made an error in judgement when I posted a rumor I had overheard at a dinner party. In my defense, I did not work on that episode, in fact I only worked on one episode six months prior to when this all happened, and therefore didn’t truly know what I was getting myself into.
The moment I read Producer Brad Falchuk’s tweet, my heart shattered into a million pieces and my world collapsed in an instant. It became increasingly difficult to breathe, as though someone
had placed a plastic bag over my head and refused to remove it. I couldn’t stop the tears that came streaming down my face as I read hateful after hateful comment, most of which wished me dead, and for awhile I wished for the same thing. Once you hear something enough times--how worthless and awful you are as a human being--it starts to resonate with you and you begin to believe it. I’m a highly emotional person and I pick up on every single vibration and emotion around me. So, at that time, I absorbed every single hateful message and internalized it to the point that it changed how I viewed myself. I suffered from extreme depression and anxiety, I had to seek out professional help because I was having suicidal thoughts. I was put on a variety of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to help me cope and learn how to compartmentalize.
Let me be clear, this isn't about me playing a victim or even asking for pity or sympathy, it’s about bringing awareness to a very real and serious issue. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for people ages 15-25 according to a study released by the CDC in 2013--I'm sure the numbers are even higher now. So if sharing my story helps speak for those who feel like they have no voice, then I will bear that burden for them. If it brings about a long overdue conversation on this topic, I’m in. That's what this is about.
I'm happy, this incident did not "ruin my life" as the title claims (I'm sure you all know how Hollywood loves to dramatize things), but rather provided a challenge that I overcame. I became a stronger person because of it.
I will continue to fight false accusations made against me and share my truth with whoever is willing to listen. I will continue to fight for those who feel victimized and bullied, because they’re not alone. Please try to understand what happened to me and remember that behind every post, every comment, every profile, every name is a living, breathing, human being with complex thoughts, emotions, and feelings. No one should have to be subjected to incessant hatred or fear for their life over a mistake. Please tune in to Syfy’s The Internet Ruined My Life on Wednesday, April 6th at 10pm PST to hear more and join us on Blab and Cyberwise.org the following day to chat with us live about social media and the dangers that surround it.
Nicole Crowther, 26, was born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida. She is a graduate of LA Feature Film Academy, Actress (Desecrated, Awol-72), Producer (American Federale, Key), Social Media Marketing Coordinator at Crowther Roofing and Sheet Metal of Florida and anti-bullying activist.