I’ve flown in the face of the idea that you should never meet you heroes. Every developer, podcaster, and musician I’ve talked with and met has been great!

Bean Dad was the first to not be. I posted about an exchange of ours last year in which he described Millennials and Gen Z as insincere, and went off on a few of us who described the unique struggles facing young people in the 2020s; especially those younger than both of us.

I initially felt disillusioned and a touch sad when he slagged me off, but eventually attributed it to Twitter being a bad platform to discuss ideas, which it is, and some misunderstandings.

Then I saw it happen again and, once more, my instinct was to defend him. I had listened to enough of his body of work that I thought I knew him, and that things I wouldn’t excuse from other people were fine coming from him (this is almost certainly how some of his co-hosts will discuss him after the fallout from this has settled). That cognitive dissonance should have rung alarm bells, but I was desperate to preserve this image I had in my head.

The Bean Dad thing was strike three, and unfortunately for the rest of his fans, it was far more public. This time he was Internet Villain #1 for 2021, and everyone was uncovering and talking about things people like me had been subjected to before. Other musicians I follow and trust shared their own disturbing encounters. The most telling moment for me was not being surprised when I read who Bean Dad was. I suppose, deep down, I’d already come to terms with it.

If there’s one good thing from this whole saga, it’s that it gave people confidence to talk openly without fear.