Player Haters

The Love Behind the Hate

According to Joshua Green, a postdoctoral researcher in the comparative media studies program at MIT, anti-fans are much more motivated by love than hate.

The people, he said, who complained about the Jar Jar Binks character in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" were motivated not by their hatred of the character but by their love of the franchise. They worried he sullied the franchise. Fans were similarly nervous about Craig playing Bond.

Green said J "really loves 'American Idol.' … She doesn't just dislike [Malakar]. These actions are motivated by the fact that she really loves the program. … She is worried about the detrimental effect his success has on the program."

Green believes J's extreme decision to stop eating is a reaction to the hype surrounding Malakar and the artifice of the media machine in the face of authentic talent.

The format of "American Idol," he said, allows someone like J to believe she can make a difference.

"The idea that she can make a change by starving herself is part of the way 'Idol' works. … People believe their actions can influence the program's outcome. … Starving is an extreme way to go about it, but she believes the 'Idol' machine will respond because that's the way 'Idol' works. It's different than if she decided to starve herself to get someone off a soap opera."

J was contacted by ABC News through her MySpace page. She would not further identify herself or supply any additional information confirming her hunger strike, but she agreed to answer questions via e-mail.

She said she didn't "hate" Malakar as a person, but resented efforts by some to sabotage the show by voting for him.

She really believes in the power of "American Idol," she said, and in its ability to connect Americans to their musical past and make stars out of worthy young people.

"With 'American Idol' younger viewers have a chance to experience the best music of the past with an updated style and fresh faces which are sometimes nice to look at. I've always loved that aspect of the show. I also really like how it can take an ordinary person and turn them into a superstar. Take Clay Aiken for example. Here is a guy who had a very hard childhood, got picked on constantly, but because of 'American Idol' discovering his amazing talent, he is now loved by hundreds of thousands," she wrote in an e-mail.

If fate has anything to do with the show's outcome, J is going to be hungry for at least a little while longer. Sanjaya, in Sanskrit, means "victory."

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