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Fans of one American baseball team booing supporters of another

Booing is an act of publicly showing displeasure for someone or something, such as an entertainer or an athlete, by loudly yelling "Boo!" and sustaining the "oo" sound by holding it out. People may also make hand signs such as the thumbs down sign. If spectators particularly dislike the performance they may also accompany booing by throwing rotten fruit on stage.

Players booed for their performance felt booing "spooked" or "bothered" them or their teammates, and that it "affected their performance". Nick Swisher stated "It hurts. Sometimes I’m a sensitive guy and some of the things people say, they get under your skin a little bit." Ledley King stated, "It just frustrates me when the crowd boo England, who is that going to help? It just heaps more pressure on the players and gives us even less of a chance of scoring". However, the counterargument goes that the combination of booing and applause help keep the quality of public performance high, by emotionally rewarding the good and punishing the bad.[1][2][3]

Booing is not always a judgement of performance, but can be an expression of disapproval of a third party. Sometimes this is even encouraged, such as at The Game Awards 2015, when the audience booed in disapproval at the announcement that Konami legally barred Hideo Kojima from making an appearance. Host Geoff Keighley agreed with the sentiment, saying, "it’s disappointing and it’s inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates."[4]


In sports, booing by fans is quite common. They may boo particularly-hated players on the opposing team, or any opposing player when there is an intense rivalry between the teams.[5] Unsportsmanlike behavior is also booed, such as intentionally hitting home team batters in baseball or diving in association football or basketball (where it is a technical foul). Booing of referees or umpires after an unpopular ruling is also common. Booing of expelled players after receiving a second yellow card or a direct red card is also common for many reasons. In professional sports, one's own home team, players or coach may be booed due to a poor performance or season.[6][7]


  • Adam Goodes who played for the Sydney Swans in the Australian Football League was repeatedly and loudly booed by opposition fans during the 2015 AFL season at most of the matches whenever he touched the ball. During a match against Carlton, during the AFL's annual Indigenous Round, after he kicked a goal, he celebrated the goal by performing an Aboriginal war dance in which he mimed throwing a spear in their direction. Afterwards, Goodes claimed that the dance was based on the one he learned from the under-16s Indigenous team the Flying Boomerangs, and that it was intended as an expression of indigenous pride during Indigenous Round, not with the intention of offending and intimidating the crowd.
  • Brazilian motor racing driver Emerson Fittipaldi was booed when he, after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, chose to drink orange juice instead of the milk traditionally drunk by winners of the race. Fittipaldi had made the move in order to promote the Brazilian citrus industry.
  • During professional wrestling matches, all heels traditionally receive boos from the audience as the villain. The ability to infuriate audiences and draw "heat" (negative reactions such as boos and jeers) is considered an essential skill for all heel performers.
  • NFL fans booed players from the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans prior to the coin toss of their game in the beginning of the 2020 season, as the Houston Texans emerged from the locker room. The Houston Texans had stayed in the locker room during the national anthem in a statement for racial justice. The booing continued as they interlocked arms midfield with the Kansas City Chiefs during what was supposed to be a moment of silence.[8]
  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is booed whenever he makes an appearance in front of fans,[9] notably at the NHL Entry Draft[10] and at the ceremony to present the Stanley Cup to the league's champion.


In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, booing is officially not permitted; Erskine May states: "Members must not disturb a Member who is speaking by hissing, chanting, clapping, booing, exclamations or other interruption."[11] Nevertheless, jeering and heckling are somewhat common during Prime Minister's Questions.[12]

Popular culture[edit]

Although rare in the performing arts, opera remains one of the arts where booing remains, if not common, customary as merited.[13][14][15] In orchestral music, booing is usually restricted to the premiere of a new work.[citation needed]

Rarer still is for motion pictures to be booed at their openings, and this is usually confined to film festivals when the production team is present.[16]

In traditional British pantomime, the audience is generally encouraged to direct boos and possibly other forms of put-downs towards the antagonist(s), while the protagonist and other positive characters are celebrated.[17]


The film The Princess Bride uses booing to show shame. Princess Buttercup dreams of her wedding with Humperdinck when an elderly woman interrupts:

Your true love lives and you marry another? True love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage! And that's what she is! The Queen of Refuse! So bow down to her if you want! Bow to her! Bow to the Queen of Slime! The Queen of Filth! The Queen of Putrescence! Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime! Muck! Boo! Boo! Boo!

The book Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science says this scene might be better labeled "Buttercup Unconsciously Booing Herself".[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aaron Gleeman (October 19, 2012). "Yankee Stadium boos "spooked a lot of guys" according to anonymous Yankee". NBC Sports: Hardball Talk.
  2. ^ Peter Botte (October 14, 2012). "Yankees' Nick Swisher says fans blamed him for Derek Jeter's injury after he misplayed ball in right field during Saturday's ALCS Game". New York Daily News. It hurts. Sometimes I’m a sensitive guy and some of the things people say, they get under your skin a little bit. I've been lucky to be here for the past four years, bro. We're not going to go out like this. We’re going to go to Detroit and give everything we’ve got.
  3. ^ Mark A. (October 8, 2008). "To boo or not to boo?". BBC. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. It just frustrates me when the crowd boo England, who is that going to help? It just heaps more pressure on the players and gives us even less of a chance of scoring
  4. ^ Klepek, Patrick. "Geoff Keighley: Konami Barred Hideo Kojima From Accepting Metal Gear Award". Kotaku. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  5. ^ Anthony Witrado (July 9, 2012). "Home Run Derby 2012: Fans' treatment of Robinson Cano strengthens case for changes". Sporting News. Kansas City fans mercilessly booed New York Yankees second baseman and American League captain Robinson Cano on Monday night, cheering with passion every time he made an out and even louder when he was shut out in the contest at Kauffman Stadium.
  6. ^ Peter Botte (July 7, 2008). "Derek Jeter hears the boos during Thursday's loss to Red Sox". NY Daily News.
  7. ^ Peter Botte (March 11, 2012). "Boo birds serenade Knicks in loss to 76ers". New York Daily News. Carmelo Anthony heard noticeable boos during pre-game introductions, but Mike D'Antoni and the rest of the Knicks deservedly felt the crowd’s wrath, too, for the ugliness that transpired thereafter Sunday afternoon at the Garden. The negativity got so bad late in the Knicks' fifth straight loss, portions of the crowd chanted "Fire D'Antoni"—the natural progression from the boos that poured down from the stands through much of the second half.
  8. ^ HOLLINGSWORTH, HEATHER (20 April 2021). "Chiefs, Texans booed as racial justice stand sparks outrage". AP NEWS. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  9. ^ Terlep, Sharon (2014-06-03). "Canada's National Pastime: Booing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  10. ^ Beacon, Bill (Jan 31, 2018). "Boos and bucks: 25 years of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  11. ^ Brian Wheeler, Why are MPs banned from clapping?, BBC (May 28, 2015).
  12. ^ Justin Parkinson, Is Prime Minister's Questions really getting worse?, BBC News (February 18, 2014).
  13. ^ Michael Cooper (July 16, 2015). "The Boos in the Balcony, and Their Targets". NY Times.
  14. ^ "Nude rape scene booed by Royal Opera House audience". BBC News. June 30, 2015.
  15. ^ Anthony Tommasini (February 24, 2010). "At the Met, a Hun Who Struggles to Conquer His Doubts". New York Times. During the ovations Mr. Audi and his designers received a loud round of boos from a segment of the audience, which seemed to miff Mr. Muti.
  16. ^ Richard Corliss (May 20, 2014). "Review: Ryan Gosling's Lost River: Crazy Like a Rat". Time. First came the boos, like an owl symphony, or a cattle crescendo. Then, a smattering of defiant applause. Then, the boos again. The antiphonal response could have gone on all afternoon, with catcalls winning in a landslide, but the critics had other movies to see.
  17. ^ Millie Taylor, British Pantomime Performance (Intellect Ltd 2007), pp. 127-28.
  18. ^ Halpern, Leslie (2003). Dreams on film : the cinematic struggle between art and science. Jefferson, N.C. u.a.: McFarland. pp. Booing&action=submit#. ISBN 978-0786415960.

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