**Update: Upon review of further information and new evidence coming to light, the original Tumblr post claiming that RWBY fan Cleo took her life appears to be fabricated.**
Original story below:
A RWBY fan has allegedly passed away from suicide after being bullied by members of the RWBY fandom who disagreed with her preferences in character ship pairings.
On November 6th, 2019, a post titled A Letter To The FNDM was made on The Black Cat and The Crow Tumblr page, a blog dedicated to the ship pairing of RWBY characters Blake Belladonna and Qrow Branwen, a pairing referred to in the fandom as both “Nightcap” and “Omen.” In the post, the blog’s owner, ‘TJ’, apologized for having “been inactive on this account” and explained that this absence was due to them having been “in mourning” after their “closest online friend Cleo recently passed away, due to toxic bullies in this fandom.”
“I’ve recently been inactive on this account and many of you may think it’s because of the show’s Hiatus.
However that’s not it. I have been in mourning recently. My closest online friend Cleo recently passed away, due to toxic bullies in this fandom. She was a fan of the show since Volume 2 came out and loved to make theories, fanart and fanfics on her blog. But she was terribly harassed by members of this fandom for shipping Nightcap/Omens (Blake x Qrow).
I made this blog for her, she couldn’t Photoshop very well and wanted my help to make some Manips of her ship. I agreed, since I love her and I came to love her ship. She would support me and she felt safe and loved over her ship where she was used to feeling hate.
She came to me 3 months ago with disgusting anon asks, horrifying messages and even hate posts on Dicord chats made towards her.”
According to the post, Cleo “suffered from Depression, Autism and PTSD” and was called “wh*re, a r*pist’s puppet, a c*mslut and many disgusting things just because she was a shipper,” with many of her alleged harassers taking issue with the age difference between Blake (19) and Qrow (Unspecified in canon, but assumed to be in his late 30s to early 40s):
“These people were calling her a wh*re, a r*pist’s puppet, a c*mslut and many disgusting things just because she was a shipper.
I understand some people don’t like older/younger relationships, for very valid reasons, but that does NOT give you the right to drive someone to end their life.
Cleo suffered from Depression, Autism and PTSD but she was a bright light and the sweetest angel you could of had the pleasure to talk to. I miss her everyday and will never forget how she made me feel, how she was always there for me and how she will always be present on this blog.”
TJ concluded the post by stating that they will “NOT stop making Omens posts, for Cleo” and pleading to the RWBY fandom that “if you see a post/ship that you don’t like, stay in your lane and ignore it.”
“I will NOT stop making Omens posts, for Cleo. I will NOT stop shipping Omens, for Cleo. And I will NOT tolerate bullying in this fandom, for Cleo.
I beg you, if you see a post/ship that you don’t like, stay in your lane and ignore it. Don’t you DARE harass the artist/blogger/writer just because YOU don’t like pairing or post.
In honour of Cleo I am here for anyone who is suffering, anyone who is being harassed and anyone who feels alone. I am here forever. I don’t care if we don’t know each other, I am here.
x TJ x”
As of writing, the aforementioned “anon asks, horrifying messages and even hate posts on Dicord chats made towards her” have not been made public by TJ.
The Tumblr page The Black Cat and the Crow has been wiped. However, there is a simple message, “don’t be a liar, and don’t attack other people over ships.”
This situation was brought to the attention of many members of the RWBY fandom and the general anime community by anime YouTuber Hero Hei, in a video titled “A Young Woman has taken her Life over Vile RWBY Shippers Coming At Her”:
Some members of the fandom took issue with Hero Hei’s coverage of the story due to his video being monetized:
A young woman committed suicide, because bullies in the RWBY fandom harassed her to the point of taking her own life, all because she shipped Omens (Qrow X Blake). Apparently, Hero Hei made a video in an attempt to make money off this tragedy. Its sickening.
— 🐝 Raven 🐝 RWBY7 SPOILERS!!! (@_RavenBranwen_) November 6, 2019
In a deleted tweet, another wrote:
tw // suicide In case you didn’t know: A girl named Cloe killed herself because she was harassed over a RWBY ship she liked. Hero Hei then proceeded to make a video about it and MONETIZE IT. THAT PIECE OF SHIT IS MAKING MONEY OFF OF THIS POOR GIRL’S SUICIDE SO F*** HIM
🌲your local weed farmer🌲 (@_ebea) November 6th, 2019
A girl in the RWBY Fndm commit suicide because she was getting harassed by other fans because of a ship she supported.
Later, Hero Hei released a video about this topic, but then he monetized the video. It isn’t right to try to get money over somebody’s death. https://t.co/Vk8lxC9ZEv
— RandomRWBYFan (@JinTheRWBYFan) November 6, 2019
However, Hero Hei stated in a later tweet that he intends to gift the profits from the video as a “charitable donation” to charity:
>Have to use a picture cause I’m blocked
>This is a disgusting smear
>Admits to not knowing the situation
>Says I blamed a whole fandom, I never did, I also said it’s alleged
>Says I am profiting, I’m not. I’m just grateful to be able to raise awareness and a charitable donation pic.twitter.com/s15b8KX7nA
— HeroHei (@_Hero_Hei_) November 7, 2019
As of writing, a specific charity has not yet been publicly named as the recipient of the donation.
In response to the accusations against Hero Hei, TJ allegedly responded on Twitter. In a now deleted post, stating that Cleo’s family had reached out to TJ in order to spread awareness of the situation, and had seen Hero Hei’s video and “loved it.”
Cleo’s family actually were the ones to reach out to me to get her story shared.
Her Mom wanted people to know just how harmful it is to bully people with disabìlities like autism and PTSD.
Is asked her if she was okay with the video and she said she loved it.
Cleo🖤 (@SparrowsAlbion) November 6th, 2019