The Internet is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories—9/11 truthers, moon landing denialists, people who believe that the world is secretly ruled by an elite caste of reptiloid aliens hidden inside human flesh-suits. But for a true connoisseur, One Direction fandom provides some of the best conspiracy theories around.
While plenty of Directioners are as reasonable as the next pop fan, some are embroiled in a cultlike belief in “Larry Stylinson”: a secret relationship between singers Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles. With many fans convinced that the band’s homophobic “Management” are forcing “Larry” into the closet, the lack of hard evidence for the relationship only proves the effectiveness of the cover-up. Never mind the fact that Tomlinson has called Larry theories “bullshit,” and Management are seemingly unconcerned about any rumours inspired by Styles’ close friendship with gay DJ Nick Grimshaw.
The latest Larry theory involves Tomlinson’s longtime girlfriend, English university student Eleanor Calder. You’d think that a straight relationship would put a damper on Larry Stylinson, but many believe that Eleanor is a beard hired by Management. And according to a very popular new post by Tumblr user thisisnotthem, Eleanor is also the daughter of the billionaire co-founder of Jive Records, Clive Calder.
This isn’t the first time such a theory has surfaced. But when 1D fan this-ismyteenagedream tried to contact Murray Calder (another suspect for Eleanor’s dad) last year, she received death threats from Eleanor’s own fans. This time round, Tumblr seemed more receptive of thisisnotthem’s research—which is surprising, because she went way beyond just tweeting some guy who happened to be named Calder.
“I spent HOURS trying to locate her family, I went through birth certificates,marriage papers (public ones) and we even tracked down every person with the last name Calder in the UK. Hell, I even talked with 15 i REPEAT 15 calderics [fans of Eleanor Calder] and NONE of them knew her parents name.”
The post goes on to explain that Calder, as “a billionaire, a man with so much power, who has connections to the boys record label AND therefore... Management,” must surely be the origin of the Management/Eleanor conspiracy. Particularly since unlike his son, Keith, Calder’s daughter remains unnamed on Wikipedia. This daughter must be Eleanor, but Management erased her name to avoid further evidence of the conspiracy.
Photo via thisisnotthem/Tumblr
The post points out that this lack of definitive information is very suspicious. If a young woman is dating a world-famous pop star, details of her personal life and family connections should obviously be a matter of public record. Clearly, Eleanor’s lack of a significant Internet footprint is evidence that her relationship with Louis is a lie.
"But here’s the thing, if you’re a beard ( I know this because I’ve studied the background of what a beard is and what they do, and how management cooperates with her personal life) and you’re working for management they could easily lie up so much about your identy [sic]. They can fake your ENTIRE identy by giving you a fake name etc,
it’s like when people say that her name is Christina because there’s no 'Eleanor Calder' who’s signed as a student for Manchester University, though there’s a Christina Calder."
“Christina Calder,” by the way, is the remnant of a previous conspiracy theory that combines two popular Larry fandom beliefs: that Eleanor Calder is secretly a pair of twins (don’t ask), and that she was never actually enrolled at Manchester University. However, it's unclear why Management would change her first name rather than the surname that apparently connects her to a billionaire record exec.
The next step for thisisnotthem and friends was to track down Clive Calder’s son, Keith. Unsurprisingly, @KeithCalder wasn’t particularly happy about strangers tweeting him to ask about any sisters he may or may not have.
thisisnotthem quickly decided that Keith Calder’s defensiveness was further evidence of the Clive Calder/Eleanor/Management cover-up. However, a quick glance at his Twitter indicates that either he’s a really good liar or he doesn’t know anything about 1D or Eleanor Calder. Still, the steady stream of tweets from Larry Believers doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.
Intriguingly, an “ex-friend” of Keith Calder then came forward to offer a different story. According to screencaps from thisisnotthem, Twitter user @nostrich claims that Keith attended "some kind of ceremony between Harry and Louis last year,” where they “got lots of gifts.” Another ex-friend appears, seconding the ceremony story. They then add, ominously, “I’ve probably said too much,” before conveniently deleting all their tweets. Is it a sure sign that Management conspired to cover up Harry and Louis’ summer wedding last year, or are people on Twitter cheerfully trolling the hell out of Larry Believers?
Moving on to compare photos of various Calders to check for facial similarities, thisisnotthem’s conspiracy exposé is an ode to Reverse Occam’s Razor: The most complicated explanation is always the truth. And with almost 4,000 notes on Tumblr, many Larry Stylinson fans seem to agree.
As 1D conspiracy theories go, this one isn’t wholly implausible. There’s nothing to say that Clive Calder isn’t Eleanor’s father—it just doesn’t have anything to do with Larry Stylinson. If “Management” felt the need to hire a fake girlfriend for Louis Tomlinson, why would they pick the teenaged daughter of a recording executive with such a distant, tangential attachment to the band’s own record label? (Jive is a now-defunct subsidiary of Sony, 1D's label.) And what’s Eleanor getting out of this? Not money, if her father is already a billionaire. And not fame, because she and Louis are a very private couple—particularly when compared to Harry Styles’ regular appearances in the tabloids. We like the idea that the whole thing might actually be the other way round: Eleanor Calder, billionaire heiress, using her father’s money to hire famous boyband star Louis Tomlinson to be her boyfriend.
If the popularity of the Clive Calder post proves anything, it’s that there are few things more intimidating than a 1D fan with a mission. Using the kind of obsessive detective work usually reserved for professional background checks, Larry Believers have systematically investigated a middle-aged man and his son in the hopes that it'll yield some gay conspiracy “evidence” to forward their cause.
As Tumblr user freekicks put it, “If we told the 1D shippers that a man named jimmy hoffa had proof larry stylinson was real, they'd have his body found and dug up in 45 minutes, tops.”
Oh, and if you Google Clive Calder, the first result after Wikipedia is now the One Direction conspiracy post. That’s above his page on Forbes.com.
UPDATE: In case you missed Nostrich's post on Buzzfeed, revealing that he had egged on the Larry believers (with his friend Keith Calder's permission), the answer is "cheerfully trolling."
Photo via DeviantArt/RockitRocket-RIR