NeoScandal posted this on another board and I got her permission to post it here. I agree with her totally…ABC and others on the Scandal set knew. To what extent…who or what cast member knew remains debatable, but there is no doubt some of them knew. Also ABC by responding to the article in The Wrap and other media outlets will most likely throw 411 under the bus and given the fact some already buy into the notion she was doing this on her own accord, it will be easy for the Network to wiggle out of this PR nightmare. I don’t think any of us need to worry about 411, she will have to take the fall and be compensated generously for her future silence. It is okay to agree or disagree…but keep it civil.
"Courtney Pajor, I mean "Scandal411," was one of the biggest supporters of Scott Foley/Jake Ballard. Last year, before Tony got so messy and "Terry" got out of hand, 411 was one of the most vocal voices asking fans to not talk about Tony and Kerry’s personal life, that it was disrespectful to Tony’s wife, etc. In fact, she was so vocal and insistent about the need to respect the actors’ privacy, she sounded like a family member or a friend. She did not sound like an ordinary fan.
There were plenty of other clues that she wasn’t just a fan.
To those fans who don’t see what the problem is, the problem is this - Scandal is the show that Twitter built. Every single interview with the cast and every single article about the show has talked about how Twitter built the fan base for Scandal. The cast/crew/Shonda and the news media make it sound like it happened organically. The truth is that they had a secret ingredient in their special sauce. The fact that one of the most active and THE most followed “fan” account happened to be run by an ABC employee means that ABC was paying someone to cheerlead. Now, I’m not saying that Courtney didn’t enjoy watching Scandal, but she receives a paycheck from ABC and her job is in marketing.
Why is this significant? Because thanks to her cover as “just a fan,” she was able to infiltrate the fandom and influence and shape opinions about the show. After a clear signal on Twitter was sent by Shonda Rhimes that Norm Lewis was a flop as Edison, 411 went in for the kill. She was merciless and tweeted and retweeted some very nasty comments about Norm. Then when Scott Foley was announced, she became the biggest cheerleader around. It was clear she had an agenda and was hell bent on pushing it.
Her uncanny timing and access to episode spoilers, exclusive promo pictures for the episodes BEFORE they were released to the TV journalists, gave her an inside edge and people flocked to follow her because they trusted her and the info she was giving. And there’s the rub….people TRUSTED her. They thought she was just a regular, enthusiastic fan, someone like them who had somehow, miraculously, gotten so popular just through sheer willpower alone. But she was on ABC’s payroll. It was in her financial and professional best interests to see Scandal succeed. For all we know, she might have gotten a commission for every retweet she got and for every follower she gained. In other words, she wasn’t just a fan who was tweeting up a storm and blogging up a storm simply out of the goodness of her heart.
It’s a fact - on social media, people are most likely to trust and believe the opinions and reviews offered up by their friends, family and people they know over a commercial or magazine ad. It’s a reason why Amazon reviews are so popular. There’s a reason why folks skip over and ignore tweets clearly marked “promotion” because they know that it’s some company trying to sell something and most people don’t like to be sold to. Persuasion and peer pressure/peer influence are more effective at attracting customers than a hard sell.
Let’s face it….how many people on Twitter would’ve started watching Scandal or following the live tweets if ABC only ran tweets that were clearly labeled “promoted”? That’s the power of having a mole like 411 in the fandom and why it is a breach of trust.
Of course the cast and crew knew. Remember last season how they did the “super fan” thing? Scandal411 was mysteriously absent from the lineup. Several folks started to tweet complaints and asked her why she had been overlooked, that it was so unfair, that it was an outrage, etc., and then she finally had to say that it wasn’t a big deal, that she had asked the show not to include her. Huh?
There were other clues, all in plain sight, like frequent tweet conversations, filled with inside jokes, between her and members of the crew as well as the show’s main Twitter account. It was way too chummy to be some random fan in Jersey who happened to have this incredible rapport with MULTIPLE people on the crew in Hollywood. Some of us suspected way before this week that she was on the payroll but nobody really wanted to hear it. No, it was much better to believe that she was “one of us.”
Is it the end of the world? No. But it hurts the credibility of the network and of the cast and crew that was presenting this fiction that all Scandal fans were created equal. Actually, some fans were more equal than others.
Now some people on Tumblr and Twitter are trying to put a spin on this by saying that 411 was a rogue agent who was doing this without ABC Publicity’s knowledge and that the cast/crew didn’t know. Yeah, right. Highly unlikely. You think ABC wouldn’t have gotten to the bottom of this sooner if she had been a rogue employee? After all, she was consistently tweeting details about the show, spoilers, etc. People forget that ABC is owned by Disney, a very tightly run company that is fanatical about its brand reputation and is undoubtedly one of the world’s BEST marketers.
I remember during the BET marathon in August, Scandal411 spent the entire day tweeting “secrets” from “behind the scenes” of seasons 1 & 2. C’mon now!! She was way too chummy with the show’s Twitter account and members of the crew, and too visible on Twitter to have not caught the attention of ABC’s publicity/marketing dept. if she was a rogue agent. She even admitted to getting to see some episodes in advance.”