It's tricky being a performer in the public eye. People find so many secondhand ways of trying to perceive what you're like, what your interests are, or, say, whether you will attend certain kind of events.
Grant Gustin, who's been Barry Allen on CW's The Flash for coming up on two seasons now, ran into exactly that issue. Fan Expo Canada, after receiving multiple inquiries from fans who'd like to see Gustin appear at the Expo, started responding by saying that Gustin simply doesn't attend cons. Here are two since-deleted tweets on the subject:
That paints what seems to be a relatively clear picture -- Grant Gustin does not go to conventions, period. Unless, of course, you happen to be Grant Gustin, who has a very different take on the situation. Gustin gave his official response on Twitter:
Hey @FANEXPOCANADA. Stop tweeting people that I "don't do cons". What I do is shoot Flash. If I have time/energy I will try. Hasn't happened— Grant Gustin (@grantgust) February 18, 2016
I'm sorry to everyone that goes to the cons that I haven't attended any. Haven't found that balance in shooting flash & finding time to rest— Grant Gustin (@grantgust) February 18, 2016
I'd love to meet you all and cons are in the future. For now I like to focus on making the best show possible and sleeping when I can.— Grant Gustin (@grantgust) February 18, 2016
And just to get all the tweeting outof the way, Fan Expo Canada responded contritely:
@grantgust so sorry for the misunderstanding! we'd love to have you (we love The Flash!) but know how busy you are saving Central City :)— Fan Expo Canada (@FANEXPOCANADA) February 18, 2016
I reached out to Fan Expo Canada to find out where that misunderstanding originated and Andrew Moyes, show director for Fan Expo Canada had this to say:
"We’re big fans of The Flash and respect how much work goes into filming it. The miscommunication came from the fact that due to his filming schedule, he hasn’t been able to attend any of our shows in the past. We’re so glad to hear he’s open to doing cons, and we’ll work with the team to get him to Toronto for FAN EXPO CANADA!"
So, let's unpack this a little. Is this a big deal for Fan Expo Canada? Probably not. Stuff like this happens from time to time where someone running the social media for an event misspeaks, offends a name talent, and then backpeddling has to occur. The existing relationship Fan Expo Canada has with Grant Gustin's rep will tell the tale as to whether or not this will impact the possibility of Gustin appearing at the Expo when he does become available.
What I will say is this -- Grant Gustin is, in fact, not doing cons right now. And other leads on DC CW shows are. Stephen Amell, for example, plays the Green Arrow right now and he was at a con recently. So, it's not crazy to get the idea that maybe Gustin just isn't keen on making any public appearences right now, whether it be show-related or otherwise. The mistake is in broadcasting that assumption as fact to your 31k Twitter followers. Because the consequence can actually be far greater to the actor than it is to the organization who tweeted the assumption.
Have you ever told someone in your friend circle that you were really busy and didn't have the time or energy for hanging out or going to parties for a while? Sometimes that friend will tell someone else, then that person tells someone else, and it turns into a game of telephone leading to the assumption that you hate parties and shouldn't even be invited. We've all been in a situation like that.
But when you're a public figure like a famous actor, the macrocosm version of that can lead to some very bad press. Suddenly you go from being busy and tired to being someone who hates conventions or hates your fans, even. The consequence on the part of the public figure can inflate out of proportion very quickly. That's almost certainlywhy Grant Gustin drew such a hard line on social media -- he doesn't want what could potentially be alot of people getting a strong,negative impression of him based on something he didn't even say.
Fan Expo Canada made a mistake, but it's probably not a colossal one so much as it is one just big enough to serve as a reminder of how powerful social media can be.