On a balmy Monday evening at Inglewood’s SoFi stadium, as Beyoncé performed in front of screaming fans clad in all shades of silver, two people shared a kiss. The couple in question was Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet and beauty mogul Kylie Jenner. Rumors had been swirling around the couple for weeks, and the photos and videos of them at the Beyoncé show essentially served as confirmation of the news. But they also prompted an impassioned rebuke from some of Chalamet’s stans, who were upset at the actor for dating the reality star.
Most of the discussion surrounding Chalamet and Jenner’s relationship has been attached to one fan account in particular: Club Chalamet. The account, whose owner identifies herself as a 57-year-old film buff, has profiles on both X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram, and made dozens of posts demonizing Jenner, alleging she was a stalker and that she and her family had orchestrated the public appearance with Chalamet. Her posts seemed to indicate the Chalamet/Jenner pairing was causing the fandom extreme psychic tumult. “If you’re feeling distressed by the video [with Kylie Jenner], it’s OK. But please take care of yourself. Step away from social media for a couple of days,” Club Chalamet wrote in one overly earnest Instagram post.
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The next day, Club Chalamet also hosted a Twitter Spaces, where the account owner spoke for over 52 minutes, insinuating that Chalamet was being blackmailed by a shadowy entity into being seen publicly with Jenner. “We’ve never even seen them go to Olive Garden,” Club Chalamet said in a now-viral moment, when discussing why the two are ill-suited as a couple. “He loves Italian food. I mean, why not just go to Olive Garden?”
A fan account run by a Gen-Xer, coupled with a reference to a beloved fast-casual Italian eatery chain, was more than enough to make Club Chalamet go viral. The drama has obviously reignited a long-running internet discussion on parasocial relationships, a term used to describe fans investing immense emotional time and energy into a famous or fictional person without the other person even knowing they exist. But what most people have failed to address is the real problem in the room: stan culture’s intimate relationship with misogyny, and how it bleeds into real life.
Club Chalamet has become an easy target for mockery, but there’s nothing particularly unique about the fan account. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of groups online devoted to posting photos of their favorite stars and talking about them. I myself had the distinct pleasure of being an active user of Tumblr during its 2012 heyday, and saw shit so wild it would probably make today’s celebs file restraining orders. (Take, for instance, the week One Direction was touring in Australia and a fan claimed they had hacked into the Melbourne Airport security cameras just to watch them.) In comparison, an Instagram account like Club Chalamet is tame.
It’s also common for fandom accounts that interact with each other to discuss various theories, which can become so complex that fandoms will build years-long lore around them, even sometimes breaking off into subsets with different belief systems. (One example of this is Gaylor, the fan theory that promotes a queer interpretation of Taylor Swift’s lyrics.) In fact, Club Chalamet isn’t even particularly popular within its own fandom. Prior to its viral moment, the account had less than 3,000 followers between X and Instagram; even now, it hasn’t managed to crack 5,000. In comparison, an account just dedicated to Chilean Chalamet fans has more than 50,000 followers on Instagram alone.
Fandom starts to get messy, however, when misogyny plays into it, especially when it comes to celebrity relationships. Stans are upset with Chalamet for dating Jenner, but their vitriol is aimed firmly at her. They think he’s a serious actor, and Jenner is a vapid Instagram model. “Kylie doesnt have anything to offer Timothee on an intellectual level,” reads a now-deleted tweet from a stan account,” while a Club Chalamet post wrote, “[Kylie] attracts a certain crowd that has very low IQs.” How could these two equally famous 27 and 26-year-olds, respectively, possibly enjoy each other’s company? She must be the problem. Some fans, Club Chalamet included, have even referred to the social media star as “Slurpee,” because they believe that like the drink, she is “artificial” and “unhealthy” for their favorite actor.
The person behind the Club Chalamet account did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment. But in an Instagram post on Thursday, the owner of the account suggested that potential negative attention from the media was somehow orchestrated by Jenner and her family, the Kardashians. “This is what happens when a mere fan account expresses an unpopular opinion about a powerful media family,” Club Chalamet wrote.
The Chalamet/Jenner relationship isn’t the only one getting this type of treatment. When pop star Harry Styles began a drama-filled relationship with director Olivia Wilde, his fandom reacted viscerally, targeting Wilde for her age, hair, past relationships, even sometimes for simply dancing at his concerts. Even with Styles’ new rumored girlfriend, Taylor Russell, some fans have accused her outright of “using” Styles as publicity for her new play. And in November 2022, when Chris Evans revealed he was in a long term-relationship with his girlfriend Alba Baptista, fans tore down the actress, even writing scathing letters directed at Evans accusing him of betrayal.
There’s a real-life consequence to this narrative. Once it becomes acceptable for misogyny to be weaponized against celebrities’ new partners, it’s easier for those views to become mainstream in the court of public opinion. Most infamously, that is exactly what happened last year, when fans of the actor Johnny Depp started attacking his ex Amber Heard during her defamation trial against him, which she described as “humiliating and horrible.” Ironically, fellow Chalamet stans have even been misogynistic toward the woman who runs Club Chalamet, attacking her for her age rather than critiquing her seemingly unhealthy obsession with the actor’s personal life.
Unfortunately for Chalamet stans, this probably won’t be the last time the star does something you won’t agree with. He’s a person, who makes choices, who doesn’t know you or owe you anything. It’s OK if he dates a Kardashian. It’s also OK if you want to discuss it, as it is major celebrity news. But the glaring issue lies in what comes after the viral post, the Instagram story updates, the Twitter Space.
Stan culture at its best is a celebration of niche, specific interests, and it didn’t create the misogynistic society we recognize today. But by allowing hatred to seep into what should be a place of acceptance, respect, and unlimited imagination, stans are slowly echoing the worst parts of the internet— and keeping it a place where women can’t win.
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