AMC and the people behind The Walking Dead are pretty serious about trying to stop show spoilers from leaking onto the internet, but it’s now becoming clear how far they’re willing to go. According to the people who run The Spoiling Dead Fans forum, AMC has been “harassing” people on their site and are promising to sue if The Spoiling Dead Fans reveal who they think died in the big season six finale with Negan. From The Spoiling Dead’s Facebook page:
They say we can’t make any type of prediction about the Lucille Victim. Their stance is that making such a prediction would be considered copyright infringement. AMC tells us that we made some claim somewhere that says we received “copyright protected, trade secret information about the most critical plot information in the unreleased next season of The Walking Dead” and that we announced we were going to disclose this protected information. We still aren’t sure where we supposedly made this claim because they did not identify where it was.
AMC has been harassing us for four days now by contacting our homes, our family members and our employers; even posting on this page and personal social media accounts. We are fans of this show just like you and aren’t a commercial operation that makes profit. We have families and careers to think about. No spoiler will ever be worth compromising those things. If you think this makes us pussies that are bowing down to AMC then so be it.
We made contact with The Spoiling Dead Fans who reiterated these claims, including the threat of a lawsuit from AMC counsel and numerous calls from their lawyer to workplaces, parents, and former spouses. Multiple users claim AMC has a private investigator that has made repeated contact with numerous people associated with The Spoiling Dead Fans (often no more than simple forum members) to fish for leaks. These calls, per The Spoiling Dead Fans, often included the threat of legal action or trouble with work to compel cooperation.
AMC obviously wants to keep developments from The Walking Dead under wraps, but at what point does their behavior cross a line and go too far? Are threats of legal action the correct response to combating spoiler culture, or should Hollywood take a step back and recognize that only a small minority of fans actively seek this information out? That said, with insider information making it from sites like The Spoiling Dead Fans to major outlets with increasing frequency, it’s probably time we had a discussion on how to handle this. But it’s hard to imagine threats of lawsuits against fans making matters better or dialing back the tension.