Director Eli Roth is mostly semi-famous for his ventures into torture porn with the Hostel series and Cabin Fever. He’s also ventured a bit into acting with mostly uncredited parts, but in 2009 Roth played Sgt. Donny Donowitz (a.k.a. the Bear Jew) in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. And as fate would have it, his suspenders-wearing, baseball bat-wielding badass stirred the loins of Oh No They Didn’t, LiveJournal’s gossip community.
After X-Rated Bear Jew fanfic found its way into Roth’s hands, he tweeted about showing his parents and Basterds co-star Christoph Waltz (a wealth of thirst in his own right) the S&M laden fanfic. From there, Roth did what any reasonable celebrity would do—he fucked a whole gossip community.
Per usual when you cross sex + the internet, things escalated rapidly. After sending out an update about Waltz’s ineptitude with technology—"Does this go out to everybody’s blueberry?"—it was on. Fans (now known as Blueberries) flooded Roth’s mentions, asking for signs of his ONTD fandom, which he obliged with a picture declaring his love for ONTD—a sign taped to his furry chest.
Soon Roth was left alone with his fans via multiple social networks (Twitter, MySpace, LiveJournal), where he sent semi-clothed pictures of himself (including one where he seductively licks blueberries), and before you knew it a cyber-orgy was in full force. There is still screencap evidence of his very NSFW messages. The night ended with a lone, sad jizz tissue, which Roth took a picture of alongside the message: "Pics or it didn’t happen. Good morning, Blueberries."
Later on Roth released a college philosophy major-esque manifesto justifying his questionable behavior.
I have no message for the haters, only for the lovers. There’s a self-erected barrier between "celebrities" and "regular people" which I have always felt was complete nonsense. If I make a film, it cannot be a hit unless people go to see it. Celebrities need people as much as people need celebrities, because they give someone a fantasy of a life they wish they had, or show that anyone can realize a dream and come from nowhere to be adored all over the world.
There are also accepted forms of behavior with celebrities. If you notice, it’s accepted socially for a rock star to bang groupies, or for a director to f-ck actresses, or a star to f-ck fans. What is not accepted, however, is to put on this facade of politeness and behavior in front of journalists and bloggers so as to present an “image” that is acceptable to the public. Although I have acted, and I love acting, I think of myself first and foremost as a writer. Somehow, in my mind, the rules of celebrity do not apply to me, since I never followed the classic path to being one.
I was broke at 30 and did not get real worldwide recognition until I was 33 with Hostel. And now, for the first time, people who may have heard of me but have not seen my films know who I am, and I get recognized from the film. But what has changed, really? My behavior. I’ve started being a little more polite. I’m conscious about everything I say. In short, I muted my voice. And then this thing started on ONTD.
Just from my mentioning that I was aware of the gay S&M fanfiction, people felt I had shattered a fourth wall. How could I be the first person to talk about this? Had no one else every acknowledged that it was out there? It seemed hard to believe.
The site is called Ohnotheydidnt. It’s not Salon.com. It’s supposed to be rough, raw, edgy, sexual, and funny. If you don’t want it that way, then why are you there? It should be anything goes. And when I saw the responses, people started writing me through myspace, telling me how much they appreciated my honesty. I wanted to smash down whatever 4th wall was left between the “celebrity” and the “regular people,” which truthfully I don’t really think should exist, or at least I feel it should exist in some other incarnation where celebrities are not put on this pedestal, but simply known for the work they do. I don’t believe in any sort of separation, I think it’s insane.
….I know this seems bizarre, like I had some kind of meltdown, or was on ecstasy or something, but really for me the night was about tearing down those boundaries between celebrity and fan and the things we’re not supposed to say to each other. If I had met any of those girls in person and we had had a one night stand, it would be socially acceptable. But what did we do, really? Exchange words, images, and fantasies, and had a laugh over it. It was f-cking hot, but it was all safe fun. We indulged in fantasy, but the reality of what happened was quite powerful. That’s not something that can be repeated. I wouldn’t do that every night, I probably wouldn’t ever do that again, because part of the fun of it was everyone saying “are we really doing this? Is this really happening?” That taboo breaking zone is where I live.
It may seem shocking in the moment but one day, sooner than you think, people will laugh at how this was such a big deal. Because what is it, really? An exchange of words, pictures. But to me it was more than that. It was some strange moment where we all just went into the danger zone and destroyed these walls we all took part in creating. And it felt so f-cking good.
It was clearly a bizarre moment in time of pre-#peak social media, but it's one that Roth looks back fondly on. In a Reddit AMA in 2013 Roth commented on his night of wild cyberfucking.
Of course. That was a fun night. I fucked the internet. It started as a joke. Then girls started sending me pics. So I went to myspace and made them set up accounts proving they were 18 before I'd even look. But I never asked for them, they just started it. It was weird and fun. Look, I made money in college doing on line cyber sex. This was 1991 when doctors and scientists were on line. I knew how to type dirty things fast. I was surprised and how shocked and upset people were. It's just words on a screen between adults.
Now, in 2015, Roth has two movies coming out, The Green Inferno (tomorrow) and Knock Knock (October 9th), the latter of which has a brief nod to the infamous jizz tissue of 2009. If Roth had done this in today’s savage Twitter climate, there’s no way he’d be able to clean up so easily.
He'd... need multiple tissues.