Beyoncé scowled, and her fans are sending the victim death threats

Celebrities at basketball games have a long and storied history of offering content for memes.

Once, it was Selena Gomez paying way more attention to the Los Angeles Lakers than Justin Bieber. Now, it’s Beyoncé looking peeved while her husband chats with the Golden State Warriors’ owner’s wife.

The great thing about viral internet images is that they allow viewers to project their own moods and thoughts onto them. They’re fun, and they’re perfectly harmless — until a group of crazed fans takes them way too far.

In a video from Wednesday, Beyoncé scowls at Nicole Curran as she leans over the pop star to talk to Jay-Z. The clip went viral and, according to ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne, members of the Beyoncé fan base (known as the Beyhive) responded by sending Curran death threats.

Curran told ESPN that she was asking the couple if they wanted her to bring them anything to drink, and she leaned in to hear Jay-Z’s answer.

“There was no hostility,” Curran said. “I was trying to be a good hostess.”

Nevertheless, the look of consternation on Queen Bey’s face was enough to make her fans swarm.

Beyonce’s publicist responded to the overreaction on Thursday, saying simply, “It will bring no joy to the person you love so much if you spew hate in her name.”

But Beyoncé, notably, has stayed silent. You’d think if your fans misinterpreted a viral video of you and started sending death threats to someone, then you’d, I don’t know, tell them to stop?

There’s something deeply wrong with celebrity culture when, firstly, fans are willing to send death threats to assuage a star’s feelings, and secondly, the star says nothing when her fans turn their enthusiasm into hatred. What happened to Curran is no different than any other type of vicious cyberbullying.

“I’ve never experienced cyberbullying like this,” Curran told ESPN. “I can’t believe our players go through this. That kids go through this.”

Beyoncé is a great artist, but she’s no goddess. Fandom is fun, but it’s no religion. And just as viewers have a responsibility to be kind online, Beyoncé has a responsibility, too. It’s time to tell her fans to hold up.

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