Dealing with creepy fan mail

I’m a lady creator with a majority male audience and I’m looking for perspectives from people with similar dynamics.

This goes beyond the usual kids sliding into my DMs asking me to be their girlfriend and old bald dudes saying they don’t like my hair. I’m talking persistent, unwanted attention, attempting contact multiple times through multiple methods, saying things that make you highly uncomfortable.
Nothing that could be reported to police, but the kind of desperate person that would definitely come to your house if your address got posted publicly.

For me these interactions take place on and off Patreon.
Do you feel extra obligation to interact with someone who makes you uncomfortable if they are your Patron? How do you deal with it?
Do you feel obligated even if they’re not a Patron, because they’re a fan?

Do you grin and bear it? Block? Ignore? Reply with a gentle admonition?

For my mental health, I separate my real self from my online self. I cannot and do not want to form close, intimate relationships with everyone who contacts me wanting that-- especially those that give me an uneasy vibe. Is there a point where your channel would be “big enough” to feel no guilt about ignoring such messages?


Sorry you have to deal with that. I’ve only had to deal with this sort of thing a bit, but it was highly stressful. It was never romantic, but it was uncomfortably persistent and overstepped my boundaries. In the most stressful instance, I let a patron get too close in terms of what he labeled “friendship” but felt more like a quid pro quo.

He was the person who first suggested I try Patreon. He started supporting in my second month. For a long time as I built an audience, I felt like that $10 pledge would make or break me. He upped his pledge to $50 one month when I was in need, and then I felt really indebted, but that was also when it started to be clear to me that his generosity had strings attached, and he expected more than the reward stated in my campaign. (again not romantically, but in other ways.) He dropped back to $10 after two months; the vast majority of my $50 patrons stay for 6+ months because they understand the reward is labor intensive.

The relationship was high key stressing me out. I gradually stopped engaging. He gradually got interested in other creators and lost interest in my work. After a long time, he reduced his pledge to $2, the finally dropped it entirely. He was one of an extreme minority of patrons who stated in their exit survey that they lost interest in my project in its entirety.

But man, I can’t tell you how relieved I felt once he canceled his pledge. It was a weight lifted. I knew I didn’t owe him anything anymore. He was neither a patron nor a fan at that point. It’s been close to a year and I don’t regret it a bit.

That’s the tricky part - I believe that all my patrons are owed my time and attention, so even if I don’t want their attention, I still feel I have to reciprocate. But when it starts to wear on you to a high enough degree, it’s not worth the cost. Losing a pledge from a creepy or pushy fan will not break you, and you do not owe your patrons anything that isn’t explicitly stated in your campaign and rewards.

It’s a good idea to set boundaries upfront whenever you can - for example, by inviting people to contact you only with questions specifically about your campaign or Patreon. And if someone tries to get closer than you want, reply with “I don’t get into personal matters on Patreon, but if you have any questions about [rewards/goals/schedule, etc.], I’m happy to help.” And if they still push, ghost them or block them or whatever makes you feel safe. I’m at the point where I no longer feel guilty doing that. It took a lot of time to get there.


Thanks for this!
I think the non-romantic things are even more insidious in a way. It’s not as easy to reject them outright. I love the idea of redirecting to Patreon-only/non-personal questions.


i’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! it’s never fun!

i post a lot of lewd cosplay and for some reason men think that’s an invitation to say what they want to do to my body. unless it’s REALLY egregious, i just brush it off. the overtly violent or sexual comments will get deleted at the least. i do have a patron or two who are very enthusiastic about my photos, but they don’t even come close to how gross some instagram/twitter followers can be.

i think for your own sake, you should always block patrons that make you feel unsafe. they’re patronage isn’t worth your mental OR physical health. especially if you think they’re the type of person to show up at your home. and anytime a fan makes repeated attempts to contact you thru different channels, if it’s crossing your boundaries, always ignore them. any extra obligation i have towards fans or patrons who are making me uncomfortable is to just firmly but kindly ask them to stop. say they’re making me uncomfortable, but don’t explain why. they don’t need justification. and if they don’t stop, the next offense is a block. on all platforms, if you can.

there is no “big enough” or “too small” to ignoring the people that make you feel bad. i think regardless of your audience size you’re always entitled to your own happiness.


I agree, with the addition to make sure to screenshot interactions in case it escalates. Simply deleting will not help if the police need to be called later - they’ll want a history of what is going on.


The kind of work I do has mostly spared me from this kind of interaction. But a thing happened to a friend…

She had an ex stalk her on Patreon (and her other platforms). She’s poor, she has a fairly small following, and he made a pledge large enough that she really wanted the money. This was obviously deliberate on his part.

So she let is slide for a bit. This did not go well. Now she gets to repeat the process of getting rid of him. I’d say the lesson is that no pledge is worth the cost of interacting with a stalker.

If you get this kind of attention a lot, it might be worth creating a form letter that talks about boundaries, just in the hope of educating those who might be open enough to get it. But I really cannot see getting involved in a personal conversation; the potential cost you describe is just too high. And the money just isn’t worth leaving yourself exposed.

All the best.


I don’t have any experience with this but I just wanna chime in that I’m sorry you’re going through this and I think the folks above are right on target. You don’t owe anyone anything that isn’t listed as a reward, especially if it makes you feel unsafe. Keep us posted. Man, this really sucks.

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I’m an 18+ creator who is a nude and lingerie model. I try to present myself as an artist and to not be flirty, etc. However, I still get tons of these messages. Here’s how I deal with it:

  • I don’t even respond to the grossly inappropriate messages (genitalia photos, one word sexual messages, etc.)
  • I will let people know when something is inappropriate, but I try not to make it seem like I’m upset or angry because some guys are going for that.

For example, if somebody sends me a flirty message on social media about my photos I might say: “I’m so glad you enjoy my work. However, please keep in mind that this is my job and I’m not looking to date or hookup. I’m just here to share my photos and to hopefully find a few people who might want to support what I do.”

If somebody leaves a raunchy comment on IG I either delete it and block them or flat out say “This is incredibly inappropriate. Please be respectful or don’t comment.” I’ve found that this type of wording works 90% of the time. Most times they apologize and then either don’t comment again or keep it clean from there on.

One thing I had to get past myself was learning to just block people who are being super inappropriate. Those people aren’t my target audience and I’ve never had one actually pledge on Patreon or support me in any other way so I’m not really doing myself any harm by blocking them.

I think the key points are:

  • Don’t feel you have to respond at all.
  • If you do respond, keep it professional and don’t act like you’re offended or upset.

@annereburn @bob_artist @simrell @pattyloof @allisawash @michaelharren @dekilah I wanted to thank you all so much for this discussion. It inspired our team to write a blog post about how to deal with problematic patrons. I’ve shared it below in case you were interested to read it :slight_smile:

Patreon makes it easier for you to connect to your community and deepen your relationship with each new patron.

However, as with any relationship, there may be a time when you get a patron who’s not the healthiest person to maintain a relationship with. We know that money may factor into how you manage a difficult patron and that you may not want to lose the pledge. We want you to feel empowered to manage your community — just know that we are one report away in case things get out of hand.