A competition offering the chance to have a picture taken with Taylor Swift backstage at one of her concerts has been cancelled because online communities 4chan and Reddit conspired to ensure a “fat old guy” named Charles would win.
The ‘Taylor Swift’s Biggest Fan Contest’, was being run by Boston, USA’s Kiss 108 FM. The competition was hijacked when a 4chan user appealed to members of the online community to help Charles – whom he describes as a friend – win the vote.
The anonymous user wrote: “My creepy 39-year-old friend named Charles would like to crush all those girls’ dreams (and then sniff Taylor Swift’s hair cos he’s into that) by winning this instead… Help him crush the dreams of these girls and give him a chance to make a complete ass of himself by blatantly just sniffing her hair with the cameras rolling.”
As a result of the appeal, Charles shot rapidly up the rankings, reports Gawker. Within hours, he was at the top of the leaderboard, reportedly with the help of spam bots. Though it’s not clear if he is even a real person, Charles described his own motivations more innocently: “I’m a 39-year-old man and I love Taylor so much and don’t care that both adults and children mock me for it,” his profile stated.
Yesterday (July 24), the radio station decided that the competition had been compromised, and terminated it. In a statement, it wrote: “Disappointingly, we have determined that the integrity of the ‘Taylor Swift’s Biggest Fan’ contest has been compromised. In accordance with our contest rules, effective immediately, the contest has been terminated. We apologise to all of our loyal listeners who have participated.”
This isn’t the first time an online competition involving Taylor Swift has been hijacked by trolls. Last year, a competition offering a school a chance to have Swift come and perform was won by a school for the deaf, thanks to 4chan.