Tekashi 6ix9ine's TikTok PR Tour Embarrassingly Backfired
Every time I read the title of TikTok creator Thomas Petrou’s latest YouTube video, “Surprising the Hype House With 6ix9ine,” I have a different type of aneurysm. It’s a sentence that reads more like a threat than a tease, considering how I’d personally feel if I came home and a convicted underage sex abuser jumped out from behind my couch. But no matter how much I scrolled—on YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram—there 6ix9ine was. Over the past week or so, it appears the rapper, who pleaded guilty to firearms and racketeering charges last year and a felony count of use of a child in a sexual performance a few years earlier, is attempting to win back public favor for his new album via things like a New York Times Q&A. But on TikTok, at least, the people aren’t buying it.
While the rapper had posted a few videos during TikTok’s Musical.ly era, he didn’t appear on the platform in earnest until this May, when he began posting promo for his music, which had already become popular as audio on TikTok. However, Tekashi himself appears to be a bridge too far for users. In the past few days, he’s posted videos with Hype House members Tayler Holder, Ondreaz Lopez, and Petrou, as well as made an appearance on Logan Paul’s podcast Impaulsive. The reception has been overwhelmingly disgusted.
“This is so embarrassing lmfao,” TikTokker Elijah Daniel wrote on Holder’s video with the rapper. Almost all the comments are some version of “no.” Over on Petrou’s video, users are saying they’ve lost respect for the creator due to the collab, and the YouTube comments are similarly aghast.
“It’s the inviting an abusive predator into a house where LITERAL MINORS HANG OUT for me,” one person wrote.
For me, it’s not just the promotion of a convicted abuser who, in his recent NYT interview said he’s already atoned for his past misdeeds by being “a true inspiration to the kids,” but the embarrassing transparency of it all. While 6ix9ine’s rep didn’t return a request for comment (the mailbox was apparently full), this is so clearly a grab by his PR team to win back public affection by shoe-horning him into the kids’ new favorite app. Lopez basically admitted as much after the artist deleted their video together following overwhelming mockery.
“Don’t worry guys, it was a TikTok his PR team wanted on his page for his personal TikTok,” Lopez wrote in a comment captured by Twitter user @defnoodles. “We ain’t even finish the full dance it was so awkward lmao."
Ondreaz Lopez’s response to 6ix9ine deleting the TikTok pic.twitter.com/FCrA3Mhpsu— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) September 8, 2020
Artist Lil Durk even claimed he was offered money for a PR stunt with 6ix9ine, so it’s not out of the question to wonder if these TikTokers received compensation for their videos as well.
But Gen Z, and the internet in general, can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Their rejection of the stunt means it quickly soured from “sneaky PR move” to “cringey desperation,” supported by the fact that the rapper’s new album, TATTLE TALES, is now projected to receive 100,000 less in sales than he originally bragged. Even a dancing llama is doing better than that.