Melanie Martinez, a top six contestant from The Voice Season 3 now signed to Atlantic Records with a top 10 album to her credit, is one of the most popular Voice contestants – especially on social media, with 227,000 Twitter followers and 560,000 YouTube subscribers. Her avid online following comprises mostly well-meaning and supportive fans, but after the disturbing way some of her followers treated her this weekend, she’s speaking out about the dark side of social fandom.
Melanie played a gig at the Vinyl venue in Atlanta last night (Saturday, Aug. 29), and afterwards, she realized that her purse had been stolen. She took to Twitter to ask fans for help tracking down the culprit, or even hoping that the thief might see her tweet and have a change of heart.
Whoever stole my purse tonight I’m still at the venue, you have time to be a good person and give it back. I will drive to you and get it.— melanie martinez (@MelanieLBBH)August 30, 2015
But instead, she received a disheartening reaction that prompted her to post the following must-read Tumblr post:
“I’m so disappointed. Tonight I got my purse stolen from backstage. I had my passport in there, my card, personal s— from my parents, etc. not only is this illegal, but the fact that whoever took it, did it because they look at it as some sort of twisted ‘souvenir,’ makes me SICK. I hate this Internet age we live in too, because I reach out on Twitter trying to find who took my purse and all you write is ‘mom,’ 'Queen,’ 'follow me.’ How is that normal?! How is that okay? How do you sleep at night?
“My friend gives his number out for anyone who might have any info, and people call laughing, asking if they could talk to me, lying saying they have my purse and will give it back if I get their tweet to 2,000 favorites. Really?
"I don’t know how else to say this. I’m sick of artists feeling too scared to speak up on this issue. Just because I make music, doesn’t mean you have the right to dehumanize me. You bully me, you judge me, you call me a bitch if I’m having a bad day, the list goes on and on. I work my ass off for you, I give so much of myself to you, and I go broke to create for you.
"Remember that I am a human. The fact that I was talking to another friend of mine who is an artist and she said that if we were bleeding on the sidewalk, people would probably take a selfie before helping us, is a problem. No human should feel this way. Please understand that I make music to express myself, and if you know anything about me you know that I’m nothing but honest. I love everyone who supports me and my music, and I appreciate it. But after tonight there was no way that I couldn’t speak up about this issue.”
Melanie’s experience is one that’s probably all too common for recording artists of all genres and levels of fame these days – go glance at the Twitter mentions for pretty much any pop star, and you’ll be shocked. Kudos to her for speaking out. As of this writing, she hasn’t gotten her purse back, but she’s kept her dignity… and she’s taught Internet fans a valuable lesson about how to treat the artists they claim to idolize.
UPDATE: Apparently Melanie’s message did not get through to some. A “fan” has now created an Instagram profile called @melaniespurse; while the account is private, it already has more than 2,600 followers.