Titanic Website Flame War Sparks Police Investigation Of Bullying, Child Molesting Rumors

A Titanic internet flame war has erupted into accusations of bullying, threats that somebody’s leg might be broken, and even a whispering campaign to accuse at least one victim of being a child molester. Now the police have been called out to probe the surprisingly ugly world of “Titanoraks” — Titanic fans in the old-fashioned sense of being true fanatics.

Timur Moon’s account in the International Business Times said that the internet flame war began when the founder of the Olympic Class Liners group, 42-year-old Jonathan Smith, decided to watermark the 700 images that he has posted on the group’s website. He has spent as much as £1,000 to purchase just one image.

A rival group, Lovers of the Ocean Liners, accused him of claiming images and Titanic research that didn’t actually belong to him.

I’m not a lawyer, folks, and I’m definitely not a lawyer in the United Kingdom, where much of the excitement is taking place. If you want to argue about the Titanic image I used, then take it up with Shutterstock, where we purchased it from a modern artist to avoid even the appearance of taking any sides in this brouhaha.


Jason Copping for The Telegraph said that the post threatening to break Smith’s legs may not have been meant seriously. However, another post — since removed — accused a Titanorak of being a child predator. And those are fighting words, people.

Smith scheduled a meeting with the West Midlands, UK Police this week after he’d had enough:

“It has made my life a living hell. There have been all sorts of allegations made against me… I have been directly threatened. I have been told that there are people who want to come and break my legs and even that I molested someone…I am 42 years old and I feel quite embarrassed that I am basically being bullied. You read about people getting bullied on the internet, but it is usually children…”

According to Copping, Smith has named a U.K. resident now living in the United States, 66-year-old Michael Crowe, as the main voice behind the attacks. Crowe avoided naming names but noted that he was entitled to question so-called experts that he considered to be fakes and “snake oil salesmen.”

Marking a Titanic Anniversary

You ever notice how the smaller the club, the more people fight among themselves? Maybe it’s like that.

What’s your take on the flame war among the Titanic fans?

[Titanic photo by Michael Rosskothen via Shutterstock]