Semester Project 2014: A Press Release for Christian Weston Chandler

For Christian

Christian Weston Chandler is not a name many know. Christian Chandler is a 32-year old man born on February 24, 1982 to Robert and Barbara Chandler in the state of Virginia. When Christian failed to speak from the ages of one to seven, he was taken to James Madison University, where he was officially diagnosed with autism. Doctors said it was unlikely Christian would ever speak or even learn to write his name. He was abused as a child by a babysitter and teased by other children. In spite of this, Christian surpassed all expectations and is now a high-functioning autistic adult. He graduated high school and went on to attend community college, graduating with a degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design.

In 2007, Christian entered a contest sponsored by Sony. The contest was based on who could make the best rap video to emulate the style of one of their video game franchises, PaRappa the Rapper. Christian lost the contest and, in a moment of distress, uploaded a video to YouTube (since deleted) expressing his anger over not being chosen as a winner. This video, which shows Christian jumping up and down in a comical show of cartoonish outrage, caught the attention of some mean-spirited commenters. These commenters then posted a video of Christian’s outrage to 4chan’s most infamous board, /b/. The video amused a great number of people, and soon enough Christian’s YouTube channel had a small following of dedicated trolls who would diligently post his videos to 4chan. Eventually, the trolls grew in number and ferocity, and Christian began to notice that his online audience consisted largely of people who ridiculed him. In a rage, he dug his grave—the more people would make fun of him, the more videos he would post ordering them to stop, threatening them, or quite literally showing his teeth.

Using information that Christian willingly gave out in his videos, trolls obtained his home address, home phone number, and several of his e-mail and online accounts. With access to his personal records, they began to read letters of correspondence between Christian and a girl he had feelings for, Megan. The e-mails were leaked and several journal entries and pornographic images written/drawn by Christian were sent to her, ending their friendship and causing Christian despair. In later years, an infamous troll would pose as a woman interested in Christian, leading him on for months to believe she was in love with him before revealing the ruse and breaking his heart.

Perhaps the worst affront came when Christian’s father died. Showing a remarkable amount of insensitivity, Christian was blamed and ridiculed for the death. When his house burned down shortly after, he was sent pictures and drawings of his burnt home.

These events, and many others besides, have been going on for seven years. For seven years, Christian’s life has been scrutinized, taken apart, ridiculed, and ruined. The people who have harassed Christian have never met him, never had a face-to-face conversation with him. They know his voice and personality from videos on YouTube and comments on forums.

Why?

As someone who used to harass Christian on PSN (PlayStation Network) I’ll tell you why. He’s ugly. He’s weird. He’s socially awkward. He has weird hobbies. Draws strange comics. He’s sexist. Racist. Homophobic. He’s a loser. He has a delusional sense of self-importance. He made two gross sex videos. And you know what? He’s autistic. Retarded.

For a lot of people, myself included, that was enough to bully him.

Christian still doesn’t have a very good rap on the internet. While the absolute worst of the trolling has died down, and he has largely passed from the collective memory of dedicated trolls, it doesn’t change the fact that he has an entire wiki dedicated to him, or a huge entry on Encyclopedia Dramatica. His videos have been re-uploaded and archived, including his sex tape. The IRC channel chats have been saved, the e-mails have been saved—every online interaction Christian has engaged in has been saved since 2007.

As a Communication Major and reformed (mostly) troll, I feel like I owe Christian something. I am already thoroughly sorry for what he has endured. But sorry doesn’t fix a whole lot, does it? “Sorry” is a drop in the bucket of Making Things Up to Christian for the Past Seven Years.

That’s why I’m going to combine two things I’ve learned—trolling and Communication Studies—in to one small gesture of goodwill. I took a course in Public Relations and American Culture last year with professor Anthony Rudel. In that class, I learned to write a press release. Press releases usually occur in time to promote or spin an event. So the one I’ve written is about, oh, many years too late. But what Christian needs more than anything is some PR. Instead of focusing on the misery he’s faced for years, I wanted to focus on the good. On the personal victories, big and small. So, more than anything, this one’s for you, Christian.

Contact: Isabella Tangherlini

(203) 570-4812

tangherlinii@student.mville.edu

For Release: December 13, 2014

Christian Weston Chandler Conquers the World

At a glance, he doesn’t look like much—a 32 year-old, homegrown Virginia man like any other. But when it comes to Christian Weston Chandler, there’s more than meets the eye. This quiet, bookish, autistic gentleman is so much more than just another face on the street.

It would be incorrect to call Christian Chandler a “man.” As of 2014, Christian has gathered the enormous courage to come out as a self-identified woman. As such, Christian will be referred to with the proper female pronouns to honor her brave decision. In a state where alternative life styles like Christian’s are frowned upon, living for most of her life with the inability to express her true identity takes an enormous amount of strength. Perhaps more impressive than overcoming her environment, however, is Christian’s ability to overcome herself. Christian used to be a homophobe, expressing her discomfort around members of the LGBT+ community and distaste for their lifestyle. However, now that Christian has finally “come out,” all homophobic resentments have vanished, as Christian’s orientation is homosexual. This event is enormously important for Christian, as it shows she is a brave person worthy of respect. Differently abled and trans* people do not have the loudest voices in American society, but Christian shines as a bright star in the LGBT+ community.

Before Christian found herself in 2014, however, she lived as male-identified Christian Weston Chandler. Christian Chandler caught the eye of his town when he entered a Sonic the Hedgehog sweepstakes contest. Christian handily won and was featured on a local Virginia news segment. Footage of young Christian reveals a bright, eager, sensitive boy with a passion and natural aptitude for his hobbies.

Christian was diagnosed with autism at an early age, and he was expected to never speak or write his name. Unsurprisingly, Christian beat the odds and graduated from high school and community college with a circle of friends who love and care for him. Christian displays a passion for art and storytelling. He drew and wrote a comic book called “Sonichu,” inspired by his love of Pokemon and Sonic the Hedgehog. The fan-comic is set in a fictional, fantasy recreation of his hometown. All panels are drawn and colored by Christian. There are nearly thirty-one comics made by Christian that were released publicly. He displays an incredible level of dedication and work ethic in making these comics. Where others might be dissuaded from pursuing their hobby so far, Christian plowed right on ahead.

Aside from being an artist, Christian was also a popular YouTube personality before he shut down his channel for personal reasons. At its peak, his channel had hundreds of videos and a healthy following of dedicated subscribers. He posted everything from rants and raves, personal opinions, and reviews of games and toys. In his videos he reflected a wide array of interests and hobbies, showing off his impressive collection of Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise and various figurines and replicas from mecha-based TV shows. While some might find his collection “odd” or queer, Christian clearly loved what he did and it made him happy. Few people can claim to derive such happiness from their life, and Christian was one of the lucky few who did.

If you ever find yourself in Charlottesville, Virginia, and happen to run in to the fantastic woman that is Christian Weston Chandler, count yourself lucky. She may not look like much, but she has accomplished some truly great things in her life, and her experiences have made her a star in her own right.

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