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Fans Of An Actor In "It" And "Stranger Things" Are Worried He Is Being Sexualized By People

Those who say they are true fans of Finn Wolfhard and the It cast told BuzzFeed News their admiration for the actors is purely platonic.

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Finn Wolfhard is a 14-year-old actor best known for his roles in Stranger Things and It.

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Wolfhard's success has gained him a devoted online following of stans.

Finn Wolfhard is so talented!!! He can sing!!! He can act!! He sure as hell cant dance!! He can roast u!! He can kill clowns!!

This fandom also extends to include other members of the It cast, such as Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Oleff, and other members of the Stranger Things cast, such as Millie Bobby Brown.

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A 15-year-old named Megan who tweets under the name @fightmewyattx told BuzzFeed News that she "fell in love" with the cast, and particularly Wolfhard, after watching the film It.

"I watch his livestreams, also the fandom has group chats where we can make friends and support Finn and the cast," Megan said. "The difference between the It cast and other celebrities is that they actually interact with us."

However, following the release of It last month, some people have become concerned that fans of Wolfhard are sexualizing the teenager and talking about him and the other members of the cast as if they were adults.

“Shipping” children is disgusting. Leave them alone. Y’all are over 17 stanning kids younger than 14. Goooo awayyyyyy

The Stranger Things fandom has previously received criticism for shipping Brown and Wolfhard as "Fillie" (Finn + Millie).

...does she know that the joker and harley's relationship was abusive af... And does she know that shipping fillie… https://t.co/InWhRDqiq8

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The recent wave of criticism seems to have begun after the release of It. Wolfhard's breakout role in the film prompted a number of appreciation tweets about the young actor.

"When I heard about It, I was so proud that he got cast in the movie because I already enjoyed the original," Kaitlyn, an 18-year-old who tweets under the username @toziertrash, told BuzzFeed. "But having him and the rest of the cast in the new It, I was ecstatic to watch it. I knew it was going to be amazing."

I hope, I hope he grows up to be a pure humble being. I really am rooting for this young man, I hope Hollywood does… https://t.co/OjbWHuKz9D

The tweets prompted a fierce backlash from people pointing out that Wolfhard, and the rest of the It cast, were minors.

do not sexualise finn wolfhard, he is a 14 year old kid

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However, following the popularity of It, fans began to ship Wolfhard and Grazer as "Fack," or "Reddie."

reddie and fack is real. just saying 😍😍

"Fack" refers to the real-person shipping of Finn Wolfhard and Jack Grazer, while "Reddie" is used by fans to describe the pairing of Richie and Eddie, their characters in It.

The actors became aware of the fan pairings and began referencing them in livestreams and interviews.

*Finn talk about Fack Fanfiction he read* Finn : It makes no sense ...but i love it. Me :

This only seemed to encourage those who supported the ships.

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Which led to Grazer issuing a statement that the "Fack" ship made him uncomfortable and he didn't like his sexuality being assumed.

Jack!!! Has!!! Finally!!! Spoken!!!! Stop that, stop assuming the kids sexualities, stop thinking that reddie and f… https://t.co/z8SnNCaD1T

Which led to some fans rejecting the ship all together.

┏┓ ┃┃╱╲ in ┃╱╱╲╲ this ╱╱╭╮╲╲ house ▔▏┗┛▕▔ we ╱▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔╲ respect jack and finn by not shipping fack ╱╱┏┳┓╭╮┏┳┓ ╲╲ ▔▏┗┻┛┃┃┗┻┛▕

Some started arguing that, yes, shipping the real-life actors was bad, but the shipping of their fictional personas, "Reddie," was not.

if y'all ship reddie and you're fully aware to not ship fack anmd you don't in any way say that jack is gay then why are y'all so heated

The fandom began to fight among itself to find the best way to deal with this issue.

I understand if Jack & Finn doesn't want us to ship Fack. But they can't possibly say anything about reddie, becaus… https://t.co/jEECN1GaRo

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i totally understand why jack feels uncomfortable, some people can’t take fack as a joke and take it seriously and call them gay (thread)

Kaitlyn discovered this backlash after a post of hers went viral, which people outside the fandom believed sexualized Wolfhard.

excuse me what kind of water is this boy drinking

She said that she's a member of a group chat specifically for older fans of the film, and that those older than the cast, "know their limits."

"Some people think the older people in the fandom sexualize the cast but we really don't," she said. "It gave me the opportunity to be in a great group chat. I'm very proud of how far he's come. He has done so well and supporting him is one of the best things I've ever done."

BuzzFeed News was added into a 30-person group chat of It fans, who collectively spoke about their experiences and motives for being in the fandom.

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"It’s so disgusting and I would feel terrible if someone said that to me," said one member about the sexualization of the It cast. The group agreed.

"We're around their age," another said. "I don't like it or think it's acceptable at all! Neither does Finn. Many kids use the excuse that it's funny and they're the same age but it's still weird."

Members clarified that they ship "Fack" as a friendship, though some find this uncomfortable, while others ship "Reddie," but because it's between two fictional characters, it's different.

One member of the group said that two characters in It, Bev and Bill, kiss at the end of the film and this has not been described as sexualizing the characters, so they wondered why "Reddie" has been.

While the group chat has only been around for about a month, many members in it have previously stanned for YouTubers and One Direction members. They plan to keep the fandom going for the next It film in 2019. The group describe themselves as a family.

"I don't think we're friends because of It," a member said. "We're friends because we get along so well."

Other fans have also said that the internal politics of "Fack" and "Reddie" ships are getting out of control. Last week, a number of "Fack" stans tweeted their horror at the hashtag #CutForFack.

this #cutforfack thing is fr the most stupidest thing i have ever come across. how do you think the boys would feel… https://t.co/Lsd0gqwXtL

An 16-year-old fan named Ellie told BuzzFeed News that she deleted her Twitter account after receiving death threats for posting about "Fack."

"I kept saying sorry but instead of forgiving me and accepting it they posted it onto Twitter," she said. "It spread. Obviously, that really upset me because I love to go on Twitter and support Finn, Jack, and Wyatt."

She said she's now created a new account to continue her support of the cast.

BuzzFeed reached out to both Wolfhard and Grazer for comment. Wolfhard's reps said that he was unavailable for comment.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

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