TikTok Star Nessa Barrett Condemns 'Hate And Slut Shaming'
The creator at the center of this week’s TikTok drama, 17-year-old Nessa Barrett, has broken her silence. A series of Instagram unfollows and subtweets between prominent members of TikTok collectives Hype House and Sway House snowballed into damning notes app confessions and now-deleted call outs that boil down to this: two teenagers kissed. Specifically, Barrett and prominent Hype House member Chase Hudson. This was after Hudson and reigning TikTok queen Charli D’Amelio broke up, but shortly before Hudson allegedly met up with D’Amelio one day. Barrett stayed out of the Monday night blow-up, which has been affectionately nicknamed “World War Tea,” but on Tuesday confessed to People in a statement that the “hate and slut shaming” has caused her to consider leaving social media.
While almost all evidence of the controversy has been deleted from Twitter, Instagram account TikTokRoom diligently documented the back-and-forth, beginning in earnest when Hudson tweeted, “All of this drama going on is because I kissed Nessa when we were both single.” He later released a screenshot of a series of accusations against other creators (consult this flowchart for a breakdown).
In response, D’Amelio accused Hudson of hiding the kiss from her, and later “deflecting” because he “can’t take responsibility.”
Things only escalated from there, with a number of current and former members of Sway House, of which Barrett’s ex, Josh Richards, is co-creator (like I said, there’s a flowchart), showing up at Hype House to confront Hudson in person. According to Sway House member Jaden Hossler, though, the issue is now settled.
we talked.— jxdn (@jadenhossler) July 7, 2020
i was heated asf but now i’m calm bc talking can resolve everything.
Barrett was notably absent from the heated Twitter drama. She said that her statement, which confirms that she and Hudson did indeed kiss, will be the only one on the matter.
"I can speak for the both of us that it didn’t mean anything,” she wrote. “The narrative that is being spun around me is one of hate and slut shaming, and the constant DM's and emails of people telling me i’m stupid and should kill myself are getting to be too much for to me bear. I’ve deleted my apps off my phone and only re-download to post - it's gotten so bad. it makes me want to quit social media altogether.”
Moving forward, she says she will only be sharing her side of the story through her singing career, something she confirmed she was working on in her first YouTube video back in June.
“My music has been my therapy, and I’m excited to share my side of the story and my truth through my music with the world when it's ready,” she wrote.
That the statement was given to People, which normally focuses on exclusive celebrity pregnancy reveals and official Hollywood break-up statements, suggests a turning point for TikTok creators. D’Amelio's one of the few stars to go mainstream after becoming the most-followed creator on the app. She’s appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and even voiced a character in the 2019 animated film StarDog and TurboCat alongside actors like Luke Evans and Bill Nighy. The fact that TikTok drama warranted its own write-up in turn legitimizes it, leading to the more uncomfortable question: Should a bunch of adults care this much about two teenagers kissing? It’s a question adults on TikTok are asking themselves.
This is not Barrett’s first brush with TikTok controversy. Back in April, she came under fire for playfully dancing to a verse from the Quran on TikTok. The creator finally returned to social media late Tuesday night but did not address the drama, instead announcing that she is graduating high school on Wednesday.
grad tomorrow😳— ness (@nessaabarrett) July 8, 2020
Reps for D’Amelio and Hudson did not immediately return a request for comment.