Freeform takes a huge misstep calling out Shadowhunters fans during 25 Days of Christmas popup screening.
Update (December 16, 4:05 p.m.): Freeform has issued an apology on their official Twitter account citing the pop-up during Toy Story as a “mistake.”
This was a mistake. We never intended to disrespect the Shadowhunters fandom. We apologize for this. https://t.co/CNz7Tv6FQ1
— Freeform (@FreeformTV) December 16, 2018
While the network as acknowledged its mistake, the question still lingers — How did this happen in the first place?
Original (December 16): Shadowhunters fans have been through the wringer in 2018. After the show’s untimely cancellation following the season 3A finale, Freeform has been rather quiet surrounding the show. In adverts for their online streaming options, Shadowhunters was noticeably absent. For a show that has a fan base that has grown exponentially since the series’ premiere, it was an odd feeling to have the network seemingly erase the series from its narrative almost overnight.
However, the official network-associated Twitter account saw an uptick in action around the end of summer and now, for the month of December, as it “promotes” 3B with some behind-the-scenes footage for 25 Days of Shadowhunters.
One of the series’ regulars, Isaiah Mustafa, is serving as the MC of the network’s legacy 25 Days of Christmas program as Freeform Santa. So why, in the midst of the program, would the network choose to air the following:
.@FreeformTV what is this? I have not watched Shadowhunters myself but this… this is absolutely horrible. You need to fix this. #Shadowhunters I am sorry you are having to deal with this. #Timeless fam can you help? Horrible. pic.twitter.com/l6QDVnctfJ
— Mary McMillin-Koski 🎄🐧❄Timeless 12/20 8p/7c❄🐧🎄 (@missmary88) December 15, 2018
Needless to say, fans are furious.
Earlier in the summer, the official word of the future of the series was issued by Constantin Film, a production company responsible for bringing the show to life, and seemed to end discussion of the series carrying forward.
“We’re so grateful to have gone on this journey with you. Regrettably for all involved, Shadowhunters must come to an end. While we are trying to figure out new ways and new incarnations in which to bring the Shadow World to fans worldwide, we are sad to say that after many efforts by all parties involved, it’s not possible for this version of Shadowhunters to continue.”
But fans remained optimistic that the future of the series was not over yet. They made their voices heard by not only earning a write-in nomination for Harry Shum Jr., but also voting for the series to bring home four People’s Choice Awards. This is in addition to plane banners, billboards, and thousands upon thousands of dollars raised for charity. How was any of this possible? Largely by passion, but also with the aid of Twitter.
This wasn’t a slip-up of someone being logged into an account and accidentally hitting send on a draft tweet. This isn’t an intern who hates the series. This was a conscious effort by someone employed by Freeform to poke fun at a passionate fanbase for fighting for a show that meant something to them. And it’s not three or four people. It’s thousands of fans all over the world who are connected by the stories that are told on the network each and every week.
The network needs to reconcile what their messaging is going to be across their platforms. The series still has an entire back half of a season to air on the network. And the message that Freeform is sending ahead of the premiere is, “We know you need to come here to get what you need, but we’re going to make it as difficult as possible for you to do so.”
When people say social media is toxic. pic.twitter.com/rNckaccX73
— Freeform Santa (@FreeformSanta) December 8, 2018
This is not a good look, Freeform.