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A Timeline of the Biggest TikTok Drama of 2020

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December 9, 2020, 9:15am
A Timeline of All the TikTok Drama of 2020
Left to right: James Charles, Josh Richards, Bryce Hall, Gabi DeMartino, Charli D'Amelio and Dixie D'Amelio. Photo: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency, MediaPunch Inc/Alamy Live News, The Photo Access / Alamy Stock Photo
A series exploring 2020's biggest app.

If you’ve been sitting at home all year, eating Quorn nuggets and occasionally moving your laptop mouse so you don’t get fired – good for you! Because TikTokers most certainly haven’t. 

In a year when somehow nothing and everything happened, influencers have been living in a parallel universe where the pandemic doesn’t exist. They’re having parties in their mansions, getting into petty fights over followers and creating content none of us can relate to, but will still consume just to feel something.

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With more beef than a single Selling Sunset episode, here is the timeline of all the biggest TikTok drama that happened this year.

RENEGADE DANCE CREATOR JALAIAH HARMON FINALLY GETTING RECOGNITION

White TikTokers didn’t create the Renegade dance – a 14-year-old Black dancer from Atlanta did. When the New York Times profiled Jalaiah Harmon in February, it became clear that her dance had been co-opted by creators like Charlie D’Amelio and Addison Rae without initial credit, kickstarting a conversation about how white creators were favoured on the app.

DAISY KEECH LEAVING THE HYPE HOUSE

For the uninitiated, Daisy Keech is the co-creator of the Hype House, a rented LA mansion mansion home to some of the biggest TikTok stars. In March, Daisy posted a 22-minute now-private video on YouTube, outlining all the beef between her, co-creator Thomas Petrou and the rest of the house.

According to Daisy, Thomas and fellow TikTok celebrity Chase Hudson (AKA Lil Huddy) approached her with the initial idea for Hype House, which she invested $18,000 to kick off. But she says that she wasn’t credited as co-founder and was barred from accessing its social media and brand deals. Like true Gen Zs, the Hype House unfollowed Daisy on social media to signal her departure from before she even filed a lawsuit against the other co-founders. Daisy went on to create her own content house called the Clubhouse… which she has now also left.

JOSH RICHARDS AND BRYCE HALL’S DISS TRACK

In April, two TikTok creators from Sway House, Hype House’s rival collective, made a Lil Huddy diss track that accused the 18 year old of messing Charli D’Amelio around during their relationship. It’s an exceptionally terrible song, and I’m sorry but if I’ve had to listen to it, you do too:

BABY WITCHES ON TIKTOK THREATENING TO HEX THE MOON

In July, the point we well and truly lost our minds in lockdown, there were rumours on #WitchTok, the supernatural corner of TikTok, that a group of baby witches had hexed the Fae and the moon and had their eyes on the sun next. Then a bunch of actual witches got mad at the baby coven and that’s how a whole lot of cursed drama started. The story did turn into a lovely cross-platform internet moment, though.

THE HYPE HOUSE THROWING PARTIES DURING A PANDEMIC  

Influencers crowded into the Hype House over summer as US coronavirus cases reached unprecedented heights, with guests including beauty YouTubers James Charles and Nikita Dragun, sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio and internet personality Tana Mongeau. According to internet comedian slash rapper Elijah Daniel, many tested positive for COVID-19 afterwards, and despite the online backlash, the Hype House kept throwing parties. Chalk this up to yet another example of influencers thinking they’re above the law (or in this case, a virus).

CHARLY JORDAN TRAVELLING TO RWANDA

In September, the TikTok influencer went to Rwanda on a two-week trip to do “charity work” with gorillas, but ended up being held in an enforced quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. “The fucking government showed up at my place and came and dragged me away from everybody I was with,” she sobbed in a now-deleted video. “I don’t speak the language and they locked me in this fucking room and I can’t leave.”

She apologised and was later allowed to exit the country after retesting negative, but was accused of having a white saviour complex for travelling in the middle of a pandemic and putting Rwandans at risk.

ISHINIGATE: THE INFLUENCER WHO RAISED MONEY FOR CHARITY… AND NEVER DID ANYTHING WITH IT

Ishini Weerasingh is a 21-year-old Sri Lankan TikTok creator based in Canada and is mostly known for being extremely hot. But a social media scandal erupted in autumn when people began digging into her past and revealed that the $80,000 she’d crowdfunded to help survivors of the 2019 Easter bombings in Sri Lanka had not reached their intended recipients. Ishini has since apologised unreservedly and said the money will be given back to those who donated.

BELLA POARCH GETTING CANCELLED OVER HER TATTOO

The American-Filipino Tiktok star is best known for bobbing her head to songs like “M to the B” and defending her right to act like a cute baby. But she came under fire in September after people clocked that she had a Rising Sun tattoo on her arm – an offensive symbol that Korean people regard as a sign of Japanese militarism and colonial rule.

“At that time, I didn’t know the history,” she said in her apology on Twitter. “But when I found out, I immediately had it covered and scheduled for removal. I am ashamed of myself for not doing my research.”

INFLUENCER GABI DEMARTINO POSTED HER ‘BFF INCOME CHALLENGE’

Most influencers are badly out of touch with reality, but YouTuber Gabi Demartino sunk to new levels when she revealed in a TikTok video that she normally blows $9,000 a week on living expenses as her friend – who works as a secretary – laughed painfully along. Demartino later deleted the video and apologised, adding that her friend has been teaching her how to budget and that she initially thought it would be “interesting to display how income doesn’t matter when it comes to friends”. 

A LAVISH TIKTOK CONTENT CREATOR HOUSE GETS ACCUSED OF COPYING ANOTHER

The Wave House, a British content creator house occupying a countryside mansion, are known for their ridiculous member reveals in which influencers arrive in a helicopter, bathe in milk and rip through a fake Mona Lisa. A month later, a new collective called Icon House (try to keep up) tried to outdo them by having members debut in a flurry of £20 bills or right after jumping out of a plane. By October, unfortunately, people were accusing them of copying the Wave House, when really, this is just what happens when you have way too much money.

WHEN TIKTOK HAD TO REMOVE REPUBLICAN VIDEOS ABOUT VOTER FRAUD

After Donald Trump lost the US election in November, pro-Trump TikTok pages Republican Hype House and The Republican Boys started posting misleading and inaccurate videos about the results to their million or so followers. Embarrassingly for them, TikTok had to step in and remove the videos as part of their election integrity guidelines. 

CHARLI D’AMELIO COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT HAVING 100 MILLION FOLLOWERS

TikTok’s biggest star briefly lost a million followers in November after complaining that she didn’t have 100 million fans on the platform. Charli said she wanted to hit the figure a year in an episode of Dinner With The D’Amelios, a new series on the family’s YouTube channel. (“Was the 99 [million] not enough for you?” James Charles, Charli’s friend and dinner guest at the time, shadily asked.)

Charli and her sister Dixie were also accused of being ungrateful after gagging at the food cooked by their private chef. On a livestream, Charli later apologised and broke down, saying it was “all just one huge misunderstanding”. Charli did eventually reach 100 million followers, but has been accused by some of buying them.

TRISHA PAYTAS VS EVERYONE ELSE

Former Celebrity Big Brother contestant and internet personality Trisha Paytas is no stranger to drama, but she still managed to create one of the biggest fights on TikTok this year. After she called Charli D’Amelio “rude and entitled” for complaining about not having a million followers, James Charles subtweeted Trisha as one of the “30+ year olds dragging someone half their age”. Trisha then accused James of being “creepy and predatory” towards the D’Amelio sisters, before both James and Dixie D’Amelio attempted to cancel Trisha for her past use of the n-word. Honestly, it’s all gross and everyone just needs to log off.

@thediyora