In this week’s latest TikTok drama, popular creator and influencer Charli D’Amelio found herself at the center of controversy. The D’Amelio family released a YouTube video this week titled “Our First Mystery Guest | Dinner With The D'Amelios” in which they invited James Charles, popular beauty guru and friend of the family, to have dinner with them. Within hours, people took to social media to criticize statements Charli had made in the video. In the video, Charli discussed her TikTok follower count and how excited she was to almost be at 100 million followers. People slammed her for this, stating that she only sees her followers as numbers because of how entitled she is.
My initial reaction was that the issue would blow over soon. But when Charli went live on Instagram to address the hate and death threats she was receiving, it was clear to me this situation had taken on a life of its own. I truly believe that Charli is a kind person with good intentions. There’s only so much anyone can know about an influencer, but everything she puts out online is geared towards positivity. She has handled her sudden rise to fame at 16 years old better than most people do at any age. However, my problem with how things played out has little to do with my feelings towards Charli.
My issues lie with the people who attacked her. The primary perpetrator in calling out Charli was Trisha Paytas. Trisha, a 32-year-old media personality, made several TikTok posts shaming the D’Amelio family for the video. When Charli responded to Trisha’s comments by calling her “mean,” Trisha continued to intensify the situation by saying that Charli was influenced by poor parenting.
Trisha seemed to believe that her decision to make over 60 videos on the issue was in part because of the growth she had experienced when others called her out for her mistakes in the past. Besides the wide 16 year age gap between the two, Trisha’s alarming past gives her even less of a right to comment on Charli’s morals. Trisha’s career has been marked by a plethora of scandals, with almost all of them surrounding her remarks towards marginalized communities. She has been called out for homophobia, transphobia, racism, anti-Semitic comments, blackface and a host of other offensive behaviors.
Trisha’s attempt to draw parallels between her history of ignorance and Charli’s “bratty” behavior overshadows the severity of her past mistakes. But Trisha isn’t the only one to blame for this situation. Thousands of people used Trisha’s videos as a reason to harass Charli online, but, more than anything, they gave Trisha a platform with little regard for how it would impact the groups she has offended. Another example of this was when Dixie, Charli’s older sister, made a video dancing to a racist rap Trisha made a few years ago in an effort to call her out. Even with an outpouring of support for the video, Black users were quick to point out how insulting it was for her to do that. A situation so insignificant resulted in Black pain being weaponized. Dixie’s intention of exposing Trisha’s racism was overshadowed by the insensitive manner in which she called her out. The entire situation could’ve been avoided if everyone considered the gravity of the conflict they were addressing before using it for ammunition.
Long story short, gatekeeping of morality does not need to be done by someone who clearly lacks it. The situation itself had little to do with exposing Charli’s character. Many misused the situation to justify their hateful behavior towards her. The one thing this has shown us is that morality is not used as a guiding principle for dealing with problems as much as it should be. Learn to disengage with content creators that you simply don’t like instead of trying to create a facade that justifies your hatred.
By Aminah Jenkins, Staff Writer