Why Diehard 'Fansons' Are Starting to Walk Away

Vice reports on accusations of bigotry against the brotherly band Hanson
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2020 11:01 AM CST
In Close-Knit World of Hanson Fans, Controversy Brews
From left, brothers Isaac, Zac, and Taylor Hanson perform the national anthem before an NCAA game in Syracuse, NY, in 2013.   (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

Those familiar with the music of Hanson might fall into three groups: People who remember "MMMBop" from the 1990s and figure the trio of brothers Zac, Isaac, and Taylor Hanson were a one-hit wonder. More casual fans might know they've stayed together as a group but mostly under the radar on the indie circuit, thanks to innovative touring and marketing. And then there are the diehards—the "Fansons"—who continue to closely follow the band, writes Ashley Spencer at Vice. The brothers are in their 30s now and parents (with 14 kids among them), and so are most of the Fansons. Witness the branded baby bibs and literal cookie cookie cutters on the Hanson website. But Spencer's story is not a feel-good story of fan loyalty. Just the opposite. She writes that many Fansons are "walking away for good" over allegations of bigotry on the part of the band.

First came the brothers' slow response to George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter movement. Then a since-deleted Pinterest account belonging to Zac surfaced, featuring racist, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist memes. He tells Vice the page "provided a distorted view of the issues surrounding race and social justice, which do not reflect my personal beliefs," and apologized. That might not cut it. "They always presented themselves as supportive of people who are outsiders or who are marginalized in any way," says a 35-year-old white fan in Utah. "I’m OK if they have different views on taxes or guns, but I can’t support bigotry.” The "Hansongate" controversy is now being tracked on reddit threads, including this one. It's not clear whether all this will do real damage, though Spencer notes that a niche band can ill afford to lose anyone. (Read the full story.)

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