Update 5:10 p.m.: The Scandal Twitter scandal may not be quite as big. ABC told The Wrap that the person behind the Scandal411 Twitter account is not the company's employee Courtney Pajor, but in fact Pajor's former roommate: After an exhaustive investigation, we have determined that Courtney Pajor is NOT the creator or driving force behind Scandal411, nor do we have reason to believe she had anything to do with the website or twitter account. The fact is, Scandal411 was the brainchild of an ex roommate of Courtney’s, who has no affiliation with ABC or the program."
Original Post: Somehow we don't think Olivia Pope would be brought in to handle this one, but a popular fan Twitter account for the show is causing its network some problems. ABC's Scandal is a show that has thrived on Twitter, but one of its most vocal advocates has now been revealed to be an employee at ABC, blurring the line between passion and promotion.
The Wrap's Jethro Nededog reported this week that the person behind the popular Scandal fan account @Scandal411—which had a corresponding website Scandal411.com— is Courtney Pajor, a director of special sales for ABC.
So what's the big deal? An employee of a network happens to be a fan of a show on said network? Well, Nededog explains that "show bloggers and fans have said that Pajor has crossed the line in her exchanges with fans and journalists who don’t share her opinions." The account has been profane, but the allegations go deeper: that Pajor "used her internal connections to limit blogger and fan access to the show and to frequent Twitter pal, Scandal’s costume designer Lyn Paolo." ABC issued a statement saying: "We take these allegations very seriously. We are investigating the situation and will handle accordingly." Given Nededog's reports, what ABC is likely worried about is an employee behaving badly and misrepresenting their brand, but for fans the concern is different: they fear one of their fellow passionate fans was actually a paid shill.
Since news broke, some fans have written up detailed posts on Tumblr explaining why Pajor was not just an employee run wild, but an ABC plant. One fan pointed out in a long Tumblr post that Pajor "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." The post also alleged that Pajor championed the characters that the network wanted her to champion, and got access to information before TV journalists:
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.
Though people are often fooled on the Internet, it's a proven fact that people hate when it happens—from the catfishing phenomenon to Jimmy Kimmel's twerking prank. Reddit, for instance, cracks down on marketing people infiltrating their site. Back in August, the site investigated reports that some comments related to the movie Getaway looked to come from Warner Bros., the movie's studio. Eventually, they found that Warner Bros. was not involved.
But, of course, not everyone is mad at Scandal411, and it's hard to imagine that this is actually going to hurt the show: