Podcaster Dylan Marron talks being empathetic but not supportive at UO lecture

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

Well-known podcaster Dylan Marron visited the University of Oregon on Thursday to showcase how he deals with people who presumably “hate” him. Marron is was nominated for an IFP Gotham Award & Drama Desk and is famous for the hit show “Welcome to Night Vale,” created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.

He is also known from his popular “Unboxing” series on Seriously.tv and creating the rebellious video series “Every Single Word” that combines words spoken by people of color in popular movies. Marron has received a lot of hate on the internet for the show.

At this event, Marron gave a full rundown of how he rose to popularity. His presentation went from being denied a role in the “Home Alone” series because he didn’t fit the universal “white” character to diving into media by creating videos full of, as he would say, “social justice warrior” elements.

As he opened the event, Marron let the audience know from the beginning the name most people may know him a: “Dylan Marron,” but the name he receives often in private from angry users is “Gaywad Fag.”

Rather than ignoring and shying away from this hate, Marron decided to take it a step further and have conversations with people to see why they felt obligated to comment with such hateful words. From that came the idea for his current work focus, “Conversations with People Who Hate Me.”

This podcast has been selected a “Podcast Pick” by USA Today and The Guardian. The show has also won a Webby award.

UO student Kathryn Gustafson, who is a longtime fan of Marron, says she feels that his new show is refreshing to see.

“I thought it was a really interesting idea,” Gustafson said. “A lot of times with the homophobic type people that comment on his posts, they never have to explain their reasoning.”

Marron stressed to everyone in the crowd that this series is in no way a debate, but rather a conversation. He also wanted to emphasize that change is not going to happen over just one phone call, but it’s a start.

When asked what the goal of this podcast would be, Marron simply puts it as “showing people what planting the seed can look like and how change is unsexy.”

Many members of the audience were a part of the education department, and some even asked a few questions through a text message screen poll related to bullying and how they can do better.  

Annie Kloosv, a senior studying education foundations at UO, quickly acknowledged her privilege as a white, cis-gender female. She says she saw this event as a chance to expose herself to different situations.   

“As a teacher, I’m going to have students from all different backgrounds and identities,” Kloosv said. “Just because I don’t have the same experience as them doesn’t mean I can’t listen to them and be an ally or advocate for them in the classroom, in the school and in their life.”

Marron left the crowd with a huge takeaway that everyone should just be “unapologetically them,” and that there are some huge things bubbling up with his future projects. Things that, according to him, can’t legally be discussed yet.

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