#PopVultures Podcast: Avril-is-dead, Larry Stylinson and all the fandom conspiracies in between

Avril Lavigne (first from the left), Harry Styles (second from the left), Louis Tomlinson (third from the left) and Zhang Zhehan (first from the right) in bizarre fandom conspiracy theories. PHOTO: AVRILLAVGINE/INSTAGRAM, HARRYSTYLES/INSTAGRAM, LOUIST91/INSTAGRAM, ZHANGZEHAN_SUPER3/INSTAGRAM

Synopsis: Each month, The Straits Times examines the ins and outs of pop culture in the Asian entertainment and Hollywood scene.

Is Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne dead? Are One Direction members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson in a secret relationship? Has Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan been replaced by a body double?

In this #PopVultures episode, tumble down host Jan Lee’s favourite pop culture rabbit hole - bizarre fandom conspiracy theories.

Highlights (tap/click above):

3:25 Examining pop culture conspiracy theories such as the Avril-is-dead conspiracy theory

7:52 What is shipping and why has it contributed to fandom conspiracy theories?

10:48 The Larry Stylinson ship and how it led to the Larry’s-baby-is-fake conspiracy theory

19:19 The fake-Zhang Zhehan conspiracy theory

35:34 Thoughts on why fandom conspiracy theories gain traction - how it ties into social media and para-social relationships

42:44 Deepfake technology and how it breeds distrust

47:28 Final thoughts

Produced by: Jan Lee (janlee@sph.com.sg), Penelope Lee & Eden Soh

Edited by: Penelope Lee

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