Chapter 4 – Manipulation in Media Narrative by Management

@gottiewrites 01/09/18

You may have seen that the news is going into hysterics over Nathan’s visa! Apparently that’s why they’re at the courthouse. The tabloids are spreading misinformation about Nathan’s case (none of which I trust, so I’m not going to share anything here until I actually see a source I believe in).

Does anyone know what kind of work visa Nathan has? I don’t know how visas work for UK citizens. Is their expiry ever an issue? Presumably he earns quite a lot of money, as an actor? I don’t know why he’d be having trouble with his visa, if that’s really what’s going on. I’m going to do a bit of research later (though law research is the worst kind of research, urgh). Until I can actually provide any verifiable information on that front, let’s move this essay along.

I received a comment on the last chapter that has made me decide to rescind the claim that all documentation included will remain entirely above-board. I just can’t in good faith conceal some of the information that’s come to light recently. This is really important evidence that I know a lot of you will want to see.

Anonymous You pointed out that Rob tagged his tattoo artist on Insta when he posted his new ink of stars, so I had a look at her account, and found out that she has a Pinterest. It was set to private, but I managed to hack into her account (super easy password) and a few weeks ago, she posted some pics of her drawing book. It included this page, with a sketch of Rob’s stars tattoo and Nathan’s moon tattoo drawn together on the same page. It looks like they were done at the same time, and even designed together! I didn’t see this in your essay anywhere yet, so I thought I’d share. Sorry if you already knew about this.

I definitely did not know about this. This is absolutely excellent sleuthing here. Thanks so much for sharing, lady-who-wishes-to-remain anonymous! I’ve added the info as a footnote to the section on tattoos in the introduction. Sure, platonic bros can get a set of paired tattoos together, I guess, but it does prove their relationship is hugely important to the both of them, whatever form it takes.

I said in the previous chapter that I don’t trust the narrative we are being sold through Nathan and Rob’s current personas on social media. Before we go any further, I want to take the time to show why I believe this is a fair assumption to make.


Consensual identity fraud and falsification of communications

One of the biggest arguments against the legitimacy of Nathan/Rob is the Twitter scandal of ‘17. In December last year, a fan tweeted to Nathan, sending him a link to a drawing of Jayden and Fang kissing.

@slouisebarnard  @Nathan_ODonnell I drew this pic of fang and jayden today! What do you think?

@Nathan_ODonnell @slouisebarnard I don’t think Fang is gay. Nice drawing, though.

@slouisebarnard @Nathan_ODonnell Why can’t Fang be gay? He could be bi. We’ve never seen him date anyone on the show.

@Nathan_ODonnell @slouisebarnard Wow, sorry! I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I’m just not into that sort of thing.

Jayden/Lyra shippers use this as proof that Nathan is straight, but I think the situation is a lot more complex than it first appears.

Let’s take a look at three tweets that we know that Nathan definitely wrote, either because they include pictures of him taken in his home, or contain slang words that he uses a lot in interviews and Instagram stories.

The posting info on these tweets says that they were posted in LA from an Android phone. This matches up with paparazzi pictures of Nathan where he is photographed holding a Samsung Android phone. These are all photos taken around the same time as these tweets. Someone correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t believe that Nathan has ever been photographed with an iPhone.

However, the tweets above where Nathan says he’s not ‘into’ gay stuff were posted on an iPhone. I think it’s very likely that this tweet was posted by a publicist, and not Nathan himself.

If you want more proof that Nathan’s twitter account is run by someone else, take a look at this tweet from a few months earlier:

As you can see, this tweet uses an en-dash instead of an em-dash. En-dashes are not used often on Twitter, as there is no key for typing one. For this to be included, it suggests that the tweet was written in a Word processor and copied and pasted into Twitter. Not something an actor like Nathan would do off the cuff while on tour. But it’s definitely something a publicist would do.

Another example –1 Nathan tweeted in June 2018 that he was watching the new episode of Loch & Ness and was available to answer questions while it aired on NBC. For the next half an hour, he replied to fans’ tweets. It was even done from an Android phone. So far, so good.

However, a fan saw him in Starbucks the next week and stopped to get a picture. She filmed the convo. Here is the transcript:

Fan: I love your LA Galaxy hat! Did you watch the game last week?

Nathan: Thanks, man! Yeah, I was there actually. It was the bomb, I think we’ve really got a chance of winning this season.

Pretty bland, until you look up the game times and see that team played at the same time that Loch & Ness aired. If he was at a soccer game,2 how did he live-tweet a Twitter Q&A? Don’t hurt yourselves trying to manipulate time and space: it clearly wasn’t done by him.

The narrative the Management are presenting to us does not add up. This is a fact. At this point, it is not up for debate. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that any homophobic social media posts they upload are not trustworthy. We can’t know for sure that they were written with the consent of Nathan or Rob, and so should not be considered evidence.

A denial of the Nathan/Rob relationship cannot be trusted unless it comes directly from the mouths of Nathan or Rob, something which they have not yet taken it upon themselves to do (and doesn’t that speak multitudes?).


Queerbaiting as PR – romantic interactions that we know to be false

Gottie! a lot of you have been shouting in the comments. Gottie, you never mentioned this incident, or this one! How could you miss those?

Little anonymices, I have purposefully been ignoring several of the most cited pieces of evidence of a Roban relationship for one very important reason: for all that the Management try to control the narrative of Nathan and Rob by presenting them as close friends, they are also guilty of occasionally queerbaiting us. They want the views and the noise on social media. No publicity is bad publicity, especially around the release date of a new season.

When Nathan’s infamous ‘Hi babe’ phone screenshot leaked on Twitter, Loch & Ness viewings increased by 354%. Even after Nathan issued his ‘explanation’, as told to some random fan on Twitter (so very lame):

A new girlfriend, apparently.3

This ratings jump is something that NBC will be very, very aware of. They will have taken note of the fact that people are shipping Nathan and Rob together and started using that to their advantage.

They do this in a very specific way, releasing subtle clues that ring bells for people who are aware of the relationship, but don’t alienate their conservative viewers or negate the general public opinion that Nathan and Rob are straight. It’s a delicate balancing act, but they have actually done it really well. That’s the reason we get articles like Buzzfeed’s recent 14 times Rob Hennings Revealed Too Much (and Nathan O’Donnell looked totally horrified). It doesn’t actually mention that they’re dating….but the only people who will be interested in reading that article are the ones who already think that they are.

I believe that the following events were staged by the PR team to encourage Jayden/Fang and Nathan/Rob shipping, and make Loch & Ness trend online. These ‘romantic’ moments are not romantic, they are strategic. There are very clear markers here that we aren’t seeing real emotions from either Nathan or Rob, so as a journalist or academic I would not feel comfortable citing them as evidence in this essay, even if they support my argument.

For example, look at a papped pic of Nathan and Rob posted on a gossip site with the heading ‘Loch & Ness Boys Cozy Up Ahead Of New Season’. They are walking down a sunlit street side by side, holding cups of Starbucks coffee.4 Rob’s hand is on Nathan’s arm, while Nathan grins at him.

At first glance, it does look very sweet. But if you dig deeper into it, you’ll see that on the paparazzi photographer’s website, this photo is one of a series of fifty taken over the course of an hour. The photoshoot shows us the sequence of events as they happened, both before and after this posed picture was taken.

It’s very obvious that this is a posed shot. The photographer tried out a few different poses before settling on this one – Rob with his arm over Nathan’s shoulders, another where Rob leans over Nathan’s shoulder to read something on his phone, one of Nathan kneeling down to tie Rob’s shoelace. They even doubled-back on themselves to take more photos under a pretty cherry blossom tree. Hardly the casual trip out for coffee that the article makes this out to be.

You can even see Rob’s publicist, Milly Garcia, in the background of one (see her profile here on Twitter5).

As the final nail in the coffin, I looked up the street name you can see in one of the photos, and it turns out that this is a privately-owned road on the Paramount lot, meaning it’s unlikely the paparazzi would have had access unless specifically invited inside for this photoshoot.

So, we have at least one documented occasion of the Management attempting to queerbait us into promoting Loch & Ness on release day.

Another thing you all keep mentioning to me in the comments is ‘the flowers’. This is something that you all love to gif-set on Tumblr and caption with dreamy Richard Siken poetry. I absolutely hate it to the very core of my soul. No, I am not exaggerating. THE FLOWER THING IS NOT REAL, GANG.

So, Rob has a watercolour-style tattoo of a flower on his arm.

Now, when I was a kid, I used to be obsessed with fuchsias. And I mean, like, properly obsessed. I used to know all the flower types, and I’d ask for the plants for birthdays and Christmases. I have no idea why. My interest in gardening these days is little-to-none. BUT, I still retain some of that obsessive fuchsia love, so I know that this is a fuchsia.

This is a pretty tattoo, I guess, especially for a fuchsia fangirl like me. What makes it swoon-worthy is that Nathan has posted three pictures of bouquets of fuchsias on Instagram over the last year, always captioned with a love heart.

Because it’s the same flower as Rob’s tattoo, everyone thinks that this is Rob’s favourite flower and he gives Nathan these bouquets or something. There have been all sort of (admittedly, very sweet) theories about why the dates he gives Nathan the flowers are important, from it being the anniversary of their first date to the first time they met.

But the whole thing just rings alarm bells for me, because it doesn’t seem like something that our bad boy Rob would do. Especially as the pics are always posted on the release day of either a new Loch & Ness blu-ray release or a merch drop. I think this is more strategic than that.

I think that this publicist, Milly Garcia, knows that Rob has a tattoo of a fuchsia, and specifically sends Nathan these ‘Happy release day!’ bouquets on behalf of NBC to get him to post pictures of the flowers online. She knows that this will send the fandom into a ravenous frenzy of shipping speculation, and drive Loch & Ness up, up, up the Twitter trending topics ranks.

I did some investigating, and in this picture of Nathan’s latest bouquet, you can see a mirror above his dining table. There’s a reflection in the corner that shows the box that the bouquet arrived in.

I enhanced the photo and flipped it, and managed to get the first six digits of the tracking code from the packaging. The florist’s website lets you track your orders, and the tracking codes are seven digits long, so I had to try a few combinations, but I managed to get it in the end. The tracking info said that the bouquet had been successfully delivered to an N.O. (obviously Nathan O’Donnell) and were sent by an M.G. – like Milly Garcia, not Rob Hennings.

That noise was the sound of the entire fandom deflating slightly. Sorry, guys. Those cute gif-sets are officially AU, not canon compliant. I hereby quash the long-standing rumour that Rob is a secret bouquet-gifter. Please, for the love of god, stop making Rob give Nathan fuchsias in all your fics. If I have to read another one, I’ll scream.

I have a new lead, by the way. This is a cone of silence – ssssh. I waited at the coffee shop today, and Rob came back! Whatever is going on with Nathan’s visa, it’s clearly taking them a few days at the courthouse.

I turned my phone into a WiFi hotspot, and made a fake coffeeshop page that asked users for their contact information before giving access to the internet. Rob logged in while he drank his coffee, which means that I now have all of the personal information the form asked him to provide before he was given internet access – his email address, home address and cell phone number. (Along with the details of everyone else in the shop. And they all used so much internet that I went over my data limit. But still, jackpot!)

This is a perfectly legal method of data collection, by the way – he even ticked a box saying he consented to the storage of his personal data. Bear this in mind next time you think about logging into public WiFi. Now that I have his details, I’m going to see how I can use the information without breaking the law. Stay tuned.

It’s a good job I went to the coffeeshop this morning, because about an hour ago it was reported by Hollywood Gossip that Nathan’s visa case is over. Apparently they won’t be going back to the courthouse again, so that’s a dead end for now.

The article gives almost no information, annoyingly. If any of it is true, the case was presumably dropped because Nathan managed to get his working visa renewed for the new season of Loch & Ness.

 However, I would like to offer up a better interpretation for the gratification of the fandom hive mind. What if he’s got a green card because Rob married him? That would drop all questions of visas and expiry dates and immigration troubles. Just imagine it for a moment. They could totally be newlyweds right now.

I will leave you to recover from that concept (please feel free to go and lie down with a cold flannel draped over your forehead, I will be doing the same imminently) until the next chapter, when I’ll be returning to the @silentwakes scandal, which gets more and more shocking the more research I do. Get ready for some drama!

– margot


Footnotes

1. Pop quiz to see if you’ve been paying attention: is this an en-dash or an em-dash? First comment with the right answer gets nothing but a nice gloating feeling. 
2. I browsed through the #LAGalaxy hashtag on Instagram to see if anyone spotted Nathan in the crowd at the game and took a photo, but I couldn’t find anything. Feel free to have a look yourselves. If you find anything I’ll add it here and give you a cookie from my imaginary cookie jar.
3. Rob was seen on a ‘date’ with Nikki Shelley a week later. Clearly it didn’t take them long to track down an actress with a name beginning with N.  
4. I’m not sure if this was sponsored by Starbucks or not, but I would imagine it is. These stunts are always sponsored by someone or other. It might be Rob’s brand of t-shirt this time, for all I know.
5. The publicist’s Twitter, @garciamills, is actually a whole other wormhole we could go down, because she follows at least four Nathan/Rob shipping accounts. She’s not only aware of what’s going on in the L&N fandom, but actively lurking. She’s not even subtle about it. Once she posted a picture of Nathan and Rob as an official tweet promoting the show, that was actually a fan photo manipulation from Tumblr. She’s definitely one of the ones responsible for queerbaiting us.
I think she probably leaks info straight to fans via Direct Messages, to get ‘news’ out into fandom faster (AKA, get #LochandNess trending again). There have been a few cases when the fan accounts that she follows have posted info and pics that have never appeared anywhere online before, according to Google Image reverse searches.


Comments (689)

Anonymous another Pulitzer worthy post from our lord and saviour, gottiewrites

whipofindianajones gottie, if you need any help for your investigations, I work in the law profession and I’m happy to advise where I can. Visa issues aren’t my specialty, but I can show you how to make form requests for information in the public domain (I’ll even cover the fees/charges if you want!)

gottiewrites oh, you angel. let’s talk by email.

jamiebmaher Another sign that a tweet is by a publicist is when Nathan doesn’t put a space before an exclamation mark, e.g. ‘Thanks guys !’ He always does that on Twitter and Insta.

Anonymous I just friended that publicist, Milly Garcia. I’ve got a lot of followers, so hopefully she’ll follow me back and give me some insider info to ‘leak’, haha. Anything to get more people believing in Roban!!

Anonymous rob’s scarf + uggs combo in that photoshoot. my son’s still serving looks, i see. this almost beats the Look that Jayden rocked in the musical episode

Anonymous That publicist is so sneaky! Remember when Rob liked a fanart that he wasn’t even tagged in on Twitter? Lurky lurkers, the lot of them.

EssexGal89 Love the essay so far, babe! Did you know that Rob’s got a private Twitter? It’s @robhen93. He only follows 4 people.

gottiewrites yeah, I know. If a genie could grant me one wish, it would be to get access to it.

Anonymous So I did some research for you! I requested to be added to one of the communities on LiveJournal that silentwakes was a member of, just on the off chance. It didn’t look like anyone still used it, but I thought it was worth a try. A mod must still check LJ occasionally because they approved me a few days later. I got access to the whole archive of about 1300 posts. I’ve been going through them and searching the comments pages for anything written by silentwakes – most posts have 500+ comments though, so it’s taking a while. I’ll let you know if I find anything!

Anonymous I’m back! It took a few days, but I found something: silentwakes commented on this post in 2014. He said:

My parents caught me reading fic the other day. They were horrified, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Has anyone else been outed to their parents? Any tips?

So he’s definitely gay!

gottiewrites PLEASE EMAIL ME SCREENSHOTS ASAP, THIS IS VERY INTERESTING. [screws in monocle and pulls on deerstalker hat]

Anonymous I went to look at the paparazzi site you linked with the cherry blossom photoshoot. It’s the one where all the photographers list the photos they take and have available to sell to news sites. Something that’s interesting is that this papp records videos of events too, and you can hear the different paparazzi chatting in the background. In one, he says they’ve already got a buyer at TMZ for any photos of Nathan. So keep an eye out for news coming up on TMZ this week, I guess. Some kind of narrative is going to be pushed on us soon.

Anonymous I work at NBC and you should definitely keep an eye out for this. We’re getting them to run a story about Nathan’s ex because this essay is bringing up all the discussion of Nathan/Rob again.

gottiewrites Yeah, I’m not sure I believe you on this one, sorry. Why would someone at NBC be commenting here?!

Anonymous it’s more than my job is worth to show you anything to ‘prove’ who I am, so I guess you’ll have to wait and see.

littlehucks I don’t believe that wifi hotspot thing would work. There’s no way phones would let you log onto something like that these days.

OliverJames yeah I agree, that seems a stretch. Not sure about the likelihood of success there, especially getting the exact person she wants to log in on the first go.

Holypeaches there are so many reasons it wouldn’t work. I can’t believe she even thinks we’d fall for that

gottiewrites okay guys, you got me! I made up that story about the hotspot. I didn’t want you to think I was a massive stalker by telling you how I really got rob’s address.

I found it by looking at property listings from the time when rob first bought his house. I compared the pictures from the real estate websites to some of the distinctive features we’ve seen in his house in pictures – that rock waterfall leading into the pond, the wood burner in the kitchen, etc. a bit more creepy, tbh, so I made up a different method!

Holypeaches this does make more sense! And don’t worry, we understand why you’re doing this 🙂

Anonymous um….so you lied to us? like …how do we know any of the rest of this is true then? You could be telling us anything you want

gottiewrites I’m really sorry, I promise I’m not lying about anything else at all. I’m so upset I’ve broken your trust like this.




final coverChapter 3 | Goodreads | Chapter 5 >

Gottie is a fangirl for Loch & Ness, a TV show about paranormal detectives. She’s convinced that two of the male actors are secretly dating, and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it. When her online investigations accidentally uncover far more than she expects, she becomes complicit in secrets beyond just a romantic conspiracy theory.

An internet thriller told in a ‘true crime’ style recollection of events, the novel includes social media extracts such as modern Tumblr posts and early-noughties LiveJournal blog entries.

More information | Support on Patreon 

3 thoughts on “Chapter 4 – Manipulation in Media Narrative by Management

  1. The hotspot thing would also have been very illegal. The mystery deepens if anything. (Also I loudly said “Oh my gosh” in a very ffs way at the end paragraph of the blog post because pls…
    Also someone is lyiiiiiiing! (Also that Being Human extract is *chef’s kiss*)

    Like

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