Case 2:13-cv-45524-PAD Document 4 Filed 16/01/20 Page 52 of 285
UNITED STATES DISTRICT – EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Annotation for Exhibit B: Please refer to the glossary at the end of this appendix for help understanding some of the internet terms used in this exhibit.
Chapter 3 – Rob’s Social Media Presence
A reminder to the commenters that I am only going to include evidence from legal sources in this essay. Some of the stuff you’ve shared is interesting but I’m not using it. Sorry.1
Now that the Mean Mom part is out the way, let’s get back to the essay. And, Dear Readers, I have news! Absolute oodles of news! Yesterday, I went to a coffeeshop near the courtroom, ready to eavesdrop on any potential decaffeinated lawyers who might happen to stop by.
I sat there for several hours, and had no luck with the lawyers. I was about to pack up and head home when guess who walked in? ROB HENNINGS HIMSELF. The man, the legend. In person, in front of my actual face.
He was in his hoody/sunglasses/baseball cap get-up, but I obviously recognised him straight away. He bought a drink (turmeric latte and a biscotti) and sat down. He must have been waiting for Nathan to come out of the courthouse!
I scuttled over and grabbed the table behind his, and pretended to read my book while obviously memorising every single move he made. I admit that I was partly hoping to get some kind of info RE: courthouse visits, but I was also just basking in the presence of The Man Himself.
Rob was messing around on his phone – listening to voicemails, organising photos, moving apps around his homescreen, typical ‘I’ve got time to waste behaviour’ – when he started clearing out his email inbox, deleting all the newsletters and spam. I’d managed to shuffle around to get a good view of his screen by this point, so I saw that one of the emails was a reminder from LiveJournal, the blogging website that used to be really popular a few years ago.
He only skimmed the email before deleting it, but I managed to read most of it. It said that his account was running out of storage space, and he needed to delete some files or upgrade to a plan with more memory. The account had the username ‘silentwakes’.
I did a quick google, and there is actually a LiveJournal account called @silentwakes that used to be active in the Loch & Ness fandom from 2011 – 2014.
Now, this email could have been sent to the wrong address. He did delete it very fast, which could mean that he thought it was spam and didn’t know what @silentwakes or LiveJournal meant.
But the fact that it’s a Loch & Ness account makes me think otherwise. What are the chances that the actor on the show would get this email, if it’s not connected to him? That’s a huge coincidence.
Soon after that, Rob walked over to the courthouse where I couldn’t follow him (still no info on what exactly they’re doing there – why are the tabloids sleeping on this? Do I have to do everything in this town?!). I started looking through the @silentwakes LiveJournal blog to try and find some proof that it’s his account.
If you’ve learnt anything at all from this essay so far, it’s that no evidence is considered admissible until all possible other justifications are disproven. (By the end of this treatise, you will all be issued with an official Gottie’s School of Journalism™ diploma. Get your graduation caps ready.)
Firstly, the birth date and location on the profile (1993, LA) match Rob’s details on his IMDb page, which is maintained by him or someone on his team. Secondly, Rob had admitted in many interviews to being a Loch & Ness fan before being cast on the TV adaptation.2
Thirdly, if you look at Rob’s private Facebook profile,3 his URL is personalised with a username. And guess what? It’s facebook.com/silentwakes. Meaning that silentwakes was the username he used on all social media at the time when he made his Facebook account in 2010. I’m slightly miffed that it never occurred to me to check his URL before now. But hindsight is 20/20.
If this still doesn’t prove that Rob is @silentwakes, here’s a screenshot of a LiveJournal post from November 2011 (I tracked down an archived copy recorded on the Wayback Machine at a time when the blog wasn’t so vigorously locked-down). In the post, @silentwakes took photos once an hour for a day, as part of a ‘Day in the life’ game that was going around LiveJournal. We know that Rob started his degree at UCLA in August 2011, based on his graduation date. These photos show a student going about their day on the same campus.
If you look at the third picture he took, it’s very clearly Rob’s hand opening the car door, with his distinctive burn on the right thumb. In the sixth picture, @silentwakes posts a picture of his dog. Judging by this Instagram picture of Rob last year with his parents’ dog, it’s the same dog. (Or, like, a descendent of it. I’m not sure how long dogs live; I’m a cat person.)
If you’re still not convinced this is really Rob’s account, you can go through and try to find further evidence in the posts to prove/disprove the hypothesis. But I’m more interested in telling you about what’s actually on the blog, and what we can learn from it.
I was actually going to post about Rob’s Twitter presence today, but in light of this new information, I’ve rewritten the chapter to focus on this LiveJournal account. It’s hugely interesting and informative, because it gives us rare access to Rob’s social media presence from the time before he had an online audience all watching his every move.
Rob’s pre-fame fandom participation
Three hundred entries were posted by this account between 2011 and 2014, according to the data on the profile page, and I have access to about 40% of them so far. The other blog posts were friend-locked, so that only accounts that @silentwakes had friended can read them.5
This account is of particular interest in its own right, even if we didn’t know it was written by Rob, because it was the focus of a great deal of controversy while active. But the evidence of the most vital importance to this essay is the fact that it is a Jayden/Fang shipping account.
That’s right. Rob Hennings wrote gay fanfiction about Loch & Ness when he was a teenager.
Honestly, I could end this right now and that would probably convince 90% of you that Rob and Nathan are a couple. Rob read the books and shipped Jayden and Fang?6 Then got cast as Jayden, and fell in love with the actor playing Fang?7
What a no-brainer. But because I’m good to you, and have academic standards, I am going to flog this dead horse for every shred of information available.
Information we can deduce from silentwakes
The most obvious piece of evidence we can infer from the LiveJournal account is that Rob Hennings is not straight, as his persona suggests. Frankly, I know of no straight men who write (incredibly explicit) gay fanfiction. This man is either gay or bisexual.
@silentwakes was a massive Jayden/Fang shipper – he posted fifteen fics over four years, all with that pairing, all explicit in content. His profile bio even said:
19/m/LA. I’m here for the Fayden smut, so I’m probably not going to comment on your mom-posts about your husbands and kids. But you can friend me anyway.
Mod and co-creator of @LandN_Yuletide since ’12. Future lawyer in the making. So don’t mess with me.
@silentwakes joined the fandom quietly, at a point when there was already a significant community of Loch & Ness fans. His first few posts went wholly ignored, and even his comments9 on other people’s fics10 only garnered a friendly ‘thanks!’ in reply.
He made a few posts about his college years, though he never said where he was studying. Rob majored in Law at UCLA, which matches up with the information in posts like this:
It’s finals week at last! I cannot wait to be a sophomore and take classes with people who’ve actually decided on their major. I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was in junior high, so I just want to get on with it now.
Last summer I did an internship at a law firm, working with their copyright team, but this summer I am kicking back and relaxing. No work. No assignments. Just me, my laptop, and two new Loch & Ness books to power through.
Those kind of posts were largely ignored. @silentwakes first achieved more prominence in fandom when he posted a very moody blog entry complaining about the inaccuracies of gay sex in fic.
Listen, I know you’re all middle-aged women, but at least try to do some research before you open a word doc. You might all learn from each other’s writing in some sort of weird circle-jerk, but as a gay man, it kind of takes me out of the moment when the characters don’t use lube or whatever. HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG. PLEASE MAKE NOTES.11
There’s a lot more to the post, but I don’t feel the need to copy it here. I’ve seen the ages in some of your profiles. I’d rather not be accused of scarring the minds of minors, when all I’m trying to do is write a meticulously sourced and cited academic essay. You all get the point, anyway: Rob is a self-proclaimed gay man, who is super out.
@silentwakes’ post spread around the early Loch & Ness fandom. Surprisingly, a lot of people actually did take the criticism to heart, despite his venomous tone. He was friended by nearly fifty accounts in the next four days, all of whom he followed back.
When he posted his first fic12 a few weeks later, his follower list jumped again by another few dozen. Within six months of opening the account, he was one of the most followed users in the Loch & Ness LiveJournal community.
Even more people friended him when that winter he started up a Christmas gift exchange, where people sent each other fics as presents over the holiday season community. He ran @LandN_Yuletide with another fan. @silentwakes was officially on his way to becoming a Big-Name Fan (BNF).
There’s a lot of controversy still to come about @silentwakes, but I need to give you some greater context about the situation before we discuss that. I also don’t have the resources to provide a complete narrative right now – I’m missing some LiveJournal entries that I’d ideally want to include as evidence, which are locked to me. I’m reluctant to commit to any further commentary on this until I have the full story.
If anyone can access any more of @silentwakes’ friends-locked posts,13 please post screencaps in the comments or email them to me. I’ll use them in the next section on him. The username @silentwakes changed several times during 2011 – 2014 to @fangboy and @selkiesecrets, so the posts might come up under those names too. Thanks!
This information is so important to this essay. There is substantial evidence here to prove that Rob is gay. This helps us hugely, as we can now view his current social media posts through the lens of his pre-fame style of posting. We can now compare everything to the posting style of Rob before he had an ulterior motive for promoting a specific image under NBC’s rulings.
I think the last two chapters prove conclusively that Nathan and Rob are both LGBT+ men. For the rest of this treatise, I’m going to accept their sexualities as fact, and in the next chapter I’ll be focussing mainly on signs that they are not just attracted to each other, but in a serious and deeply committed relationship.
In other news, after the unquantifiable success of my coffee shop recon mission, I’ve decided to ride this wave of good luck as far as it will take me. I’m going back tomorrow – and I’m going to be prepared this time. I’ve worked out how to tether my phone to make a WiFi hotspot. Along with a terrible ClipArt coffee shop logo and a contact information sign-in page, I’m ready to find out what’s really going on here. I’m going to need a lot of coffees to get me through it.