Chris Evans Fan Bashed For ‘Scary’ Tweet About Actor’s Rumored Relationship
A Chris Evans fan account has come under fire for writing a « scary » letter about how « disappointed » they are with the actor’s rumored relationship with Alba Baptista.
Team Evans (@TeamEvans_13) posted the letter to Twitter on Monday, part of which read: « [Y]our Fandom is not upset because you’re in a relationship. Rather, it was the reveal of your relationship that made us feel betrayed by you. »
The tweet received over 6,800 quote tweets from stunned social media users, including British author Bolu Babalola and popular content creator Tefi Pessoa, and sparked a viral conversation about parasocial relationships. You can read the full letter here.
What are Parasocial Relationships?
Cynthia Vinney, a psychology writer and scholar specializing in media psychology, told Newsweek that parasocial relationships are « one-sided relationships that a media consumer forms with a media persona. » Media personas include celebrities, live-action or animated film characters, social media influencers or « anyone else someone encounters through media, » Vinney said.
Though parasocial relationships sometimes get a bad rap, Vinney says they’re generally not a « cause for concern. » In fact, she believes they’re « natural and normal. »
« Parasocial relationships operate a lot like real-life relationships. We’re wired to form interpersonal relationships, so even though we know the difference between people we see through media and people we meet in reality, cognitively, media personas still trigger that social impulse, » Vinney said. « So essentially, parasocial relationships are an extension of our normal evolutionary drive to form social connections.
« [They’re] natural and normal, and can even be a source of positive influence (for example, many people who have parasocial relationships with Chris Evans might have been influenced to get involved in causes that he’s championed), » Vinney continued.
Based on the response to @TeamEvans_13’s letter, however, it seems many commenters are still skeptical of parasocial relationships.
« Chris Evans, As a 30-year-old, I’ve basically grown up on your work. From the hot jock, to Captain America, to Lloyd Hansen—it’s been a pleasure seeing your career grow and transform, » the letter began.
« But beyond this, and what makes you stand out from the crowd, you’ve been the most real and genuine person I’ve watched in Hollywood. Your humility, your love for your family, friends, and Dodger, your sense of responsibility to use your voice for good. And so much more, » the letter continued. « So when you speak, we listen. We believe in it. We believe in you. »
@TeamEvans_13 claimed the actor « implied » he was single at various points in the past year, and because he is so « genuine, » they « believed » him. So, when People Magazine said Evans was off the market, @TeamEvans_13 felt « betrayed. »
« This sense of betrayal is not because you are in a relationship, » @TeamEvans_13 said in their letter. « It is the rude awakening that our belief in you is based on nothing but lies that you’ve been selling us…it’s like a kid finding out Santa isn’t real. »
Many commenters said the letter was « terrifying. »
« This is so scary um, » @BeeBabs said.
« This is absolutely terrifying wtf? » @kwamiodoom wrote.
« The parasocial relationship jumped all the way out! Terrifying! » @sankofa_bird added.
@C_GraceT tweeted: « Oh my god I thought I was gonna read he had…actually done something offensive. »
In response, @BeeBabs said: « Same!! But no, just evidence of an unhinged parasocial relationship! »
Vinney, for her part, didn’t offer an opinion about the letter’s contents. However, she did theorize that @TeamEvans_13’s strong connection to the Captain America actor might « go beyond » a « parasocial relationship run amok. »
« I want to be very careful with this because outside of the one letter on Twitter I don’t know anything about this fan. However, it seems to me that this individual may have gone beyond a parasocial relationship to what would be called a parasocial attachment with Evans, » Vinney said.
« A parasocial attachment is a parasocial connection in which a person feels they have a deep bond with a media persona, like they would a parent or romantic partner, and as a result, the media persona becomes a source of comfort and security, » Vinney continued. « And of course, when the person who’s formed the parasocial attachment feels like that’s been broken in some way, it can feel like a betrayal. »
She also suggested the letter could be an example of celebrity worship—an extreme feeling of attachment to a celebrity.
« In general, scholars agree that forming parasocial relationships with media figures is normal and psychologically healthy; however, celebrity worship was conceived to explore the more problematic aspects of attachment to celebrities, » Vinney wrote in an article for Verywell Mind.
Of course, @TeamEvans_13’s relationship with Evans is unknown. Regardless, commenters thought the letter crossed a boundary.
« You are Exhibit A on why he chose to keep his personal life private, » @AshbRenee said.
« Stuff like this is why he and others in the limelight keep a lot of their personal lives to themselves and far away from fandom. Just FYI, » @RabbitHole_BB added.
In response to the negativity, @TeamEvans_13 tweeted: « I’ve always had nothing but love for @ChrisEvans. So it’s rather unfortunate that something intended to be sincere became so hateful. »