The announcement of Zendaya’s surprise victory at the Emmy 2020 seems to have left many of her fans “upset” after they found an issue with the use of the term “upset win”.
The 24-year-old Zendaya created history this week after she became the youngest actress to win an Emmy in the drama category.
The former Disney Princess became emotional after she took home the trophy for her role in the HBO series ‘Euphoria’, scoring one of the few long-shot victories Sunday night.
She is also the only the second Black actress to claim the lead drama actress award, following Viola Davis groundbreaking 2015 win for How To Get Away With Murder.
While news of the big win made waves on social media and many of her fans came out to commemorate the achievement, many took offense to the use of the phrase “upset win” – a phrase commonly used in sports to describe an underdog victory.
Why are Zendaya fans ‘upset’?
The controversy began after New York Post tweeted the news of Zendaya’s victory and wrote, “Biggest upset: Zendaya wins Emmys 2020 over Jennifer Aniston, Laura Linney”, NYP wrote on Twitter.
The tweet caused a lot of outrage among fans of the actress, who termed the use of the word “upset” as undermining Zendaya’s victory.
Zendaya, who beat out seasoned actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Laura Linney, Oscar-winner Olivia Coleman, and others, won for her role portraying a drug addict in HBO’s Euphoria.
While fans were overjoyed, many felt that using words like a “well-deserved victory” would be better than words like “upset win”. Not just the Post, other websites also faced flak for using the word “upset”.
Who is upset exactly? Because it’s not me https://t.co/4KHAA7Ea7K
— ada enechi (@adaenechi) September 21, 2020
— Tre Ward (@TreWardWBAL) September 21, 2020
— Tori (@RealToriSpark) September 21, 2020
rt if you were NOT upset https://t.co/lXynUm4k2E
— Denver (@_JustDenver) September 21, 2020
Upset? This woman was incredible in Euphoria no one is surprised https://t.co/64rPt53Flk
— Mandy Velez (@mandy_velez) September 21, 2020
If you watched the show then you’d know why it wasn’t an upset https://t.co/lPRirY98Gp
— CHiiEF Ⓥ (@ILLUMANINETY) September 21, 2020
But was the Post really denigrating or undermining Zendaya’s victory? What does an “upset victory” mean?\
Usually used as a reference in sports, an upset victory is one when an underdog wins unexpectedly against favorites or known candidates who have already established proved their mettle on previous occasions. It’s a commonly enough used phrase to describe an unexpected, underdog win. Actress Olivia Coleman’s Best Actress Oscar win last year was also called an “upset victory” as it trumped popular expectations.
In wake of the massive outrage by Zendaya fans, the Post also came out with a clarification, pointed out that Zendaya’s fans had mistaken the meaning of the word “upset victory”.
Others, however, pointed out that despite the intended meaning and usage of the word, media houses can perhaps be more careful in choosing the right words, especially when the issue has the potential to become racially/socially charged.
I know what context they are using the word “upset” but was it really an upset? Zendaya and Euphoria was all anyone was talking about all year.
— Kristen (@tyelokam) September 21, 2020
An upset is the Nuggets overcoming 3-1 deficits twice. This is Michael Jordan beating the Hornets. https://t.co/9oXAK01Bi4
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) September 21, 2020
On Euphoria, Zendaya plays Rue Bennett, a teenage addict struggling with her sobriety and recovery on the series that delves into sex, drugs, trauma, and identity among high-schoolers.
In her acceptance speech, Zendaya said, “I just want to say there is hope in the young people out there… I know our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that,” but she thanked them for doing the work.