When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I joined a website called BabyCenter and participated on its forums, namely the birth month club that I belonged to. Excited about delivering my first child, I thought I could go to these forums to get advice about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the first months home after delivery. While I did end up receiving some awesome pointers that prepped me for the big day and beyond, I learned a lot more about the art of the screenshot and how far people will go to ensure one cannot hide from his or her words. Many days and late nights were spent combing over posts where women would fight about trivial matters on the Internet and screenshot the shit out of each other’s posts when a post would go south. The original poster would often try to delete evidence of the post by replacing it with other text or a request for people to not post, only to have screenshots bring the content they had erased to life. Anything posted in public was fair game, but it was a violation to post screenshots of private messages. Even so, one’s words could be forever saved on someone’s clipboard to be shared to those who were interested in the day’s drama. Once sent, words on the Internet cannot be taken back and sometimes, they take on a life of their own. Riddim dubstep artist SQUNTO recently learned this lesson when a private conversation was made public.
The conversation came about after SQUNTO made a trolling post in a Facebook riddim dubstep group and then got into it with an admin of that group. He pushed the envelope in his attempt to troll and was subsequently put on blast. It didn’t take long for the Internet to light up with the screenshots and for one man’s reputation to speed towards the trash bin.
Eric Hunter Roth is the real name of SQUNTO, a self-described bass dragon that has gained a big following due to his chopping on the mixer, double drops, and his attempt to lead his followers down a path to personal enlightenment. In his Facebook group, SQUNTO’s Dragons [DragonSquad], members inspire one another, share photos and videos from shows, recount positive interactions with SQUNTO, seek advice on balance, and come together in their love for their head dragon. SQUNTO’s Dragons [DragonSquad] Facebook group has over 11,000 members to date. It was once closed but is now a secret group after the shitstorm that ensued after the screenshots of SQUNTO’s thoughts about riddim, his fans, and getting a paycheck were made public.
In an apology posted on his artist page, SQUNTO acknowledged that he had handled things immaturely. Stress from touring and sleep deprivation, he said, had done a number on him and when he engaged someone who angered him, he said he went too far in trying to trigger him. You can read the full apology below.
Hey 🙂 Story time. Some of you may have seen some screenshots of me saying some stupid stuff online – stuff that…
Some commenters expressed empathy while others derided his apology as insincere and theorized that management forced him to write it or wrote it themselves. Most of the feedback was positive, however. Much of the drama has died down since the screenshots were shared on Facebook and members of his Facebook group have mostly rallied around SQUNTO. Many acknowledged that one cannot be positive all the time and admired him for his ability to come forward with an apology.
The online outburst was not in character with the image SQUNTO normally presents. Just a day earlier, he released the Dragon’s Handbook, a document that addresses spiritual exercises, breathing techniques, and meditation. You can see and download the handbook at http://imgur.com/a/ioyNh. SQUNTO has developed a reputation for engaging with his fans, encouraging being centered, and working on spreading a movement of positivity through his Facebook group. On Twitter, the dubstep artist revealed he had not been himself.
honestly this whole thing needed to happen. havent been myself but im seeing the light again <3
im going to make it all up to you 🙂
— [SQUNTO] (@squnto) March 23, 2017
Djs and producers are in the spotlight, much like their celebrity counterparts in the acting world. The Internet has given such artists a platform for their music and has provided new channels of communication to fans. It can also work as a two-edged sword, turning that platform into a grand opportunity to troll and bait people into reacting before thinking about what they are about to type. SQUNTO was on the giving end of the trolling this time and it backfired, horribly.
Reading over the original exchange, it appears that SQUNTO is being sarcastic and is not being serious, but the disadvantage of words being messaged as opposed to spoken is that you cannot hear tone and tell if someone is being serious. Misunderstandings and butthurt may result. There are times when it may be best for an artist to disengage from communities that steer them away from being their best selves or let someone else handle their social media if they are not able to engage with people without resorting to the kind of behavior that turns a lot of fans off. By the same token, one human moment shouldn’t paint the entire story of an individual. We all have bad days and act out of character at times. When people are pushing you to be your worst, that is when you have to take account of where you are, who you are, and where you want to be, then ignore them. Stooping low keeps you soaring. In a famous exchange between Calvin Harris and a concert goer, Calvin Harris stopped his performance after a woman heckled him. He let her get the best of him in that moment. While justified in feeling offended, he might have done better to remember where he was relative to that woman, who was clearly there to agitate the dj and producer.
In the same vein, if SQUNTO feels backed into a corner or feels he needs to defend himself against detractors, he should follow some of his own advice he gives his fans and just breathe. Stay positive Eric. That is who you are and will still be, after the lights go down. Keep your cool brother because negativity is only a stumbling block and keeps the focus off of success.