Summary List Placement
“This you?” has become a staple of internet feuds, functioning as shorthand to call out someone’s hypocrisy by pointing them towards prior comments or actions which contradict their current stance.
Some of the biggest influencers have been online for more than a decade, so there are countless tweets and posts to rifle through in the search of problematic behavior.
Late on Wednesday night, followers of YouTube and OnlyFans star Trisha Paytas and beauty guru Nikita Dragun saw this unfolding in real time, as the two YouTubers — both of whom have millions of subscribers — weaponized each other’s past racial insensitivities to score points in an ongoing clash.
The feud began with a sarcastic joke about a Snapchat show
It all started when Paytas, who has been in many public feuds thanks to her self-confessed trolling and outspoken nature, tweeted in reference to Dragun’s Instagram story, which said, “cancel me as many times as u want… my show is still running.”
Dragun has made a career out of being controversial — she has thrown and attended several parties during the coronavirus pandemic, and has also been periodically accused of “blackfishing” — a problematic practice which involves altering one’s appearance, often by wearing darker makeup than the natural complexion, to give the allusion of being Black or biracial.
In response to Dragun’s comments, Paytas mocked Dragun’s show for only airing on Snapchat.
On snapchat 😂 https://t.co/7Wz9w9WpR5
— Trisha Paytas (@trishapaytas) March 27, 2021
Dragun responded, saying she had “30 million viewers” and a billboard on Sunset Boulevard, then criticized Paytas for trying to erase the success of a trans woman (Dragun herself is trans).
“Trisha haven’t u done enough to the Trans community?” she said, referencing a video posted by Paytas in 2019 where she said she was a transgender man. “There’s no need to downplay mine or any Trans woman’s accomplishments. Happy #TransDayOfVisibility @trishapaytas.”
Paytas then brought up Dragun’s pandemic partying, and her association with James Charles and the Lopez brothers, who are all currently embroiled in allegations of interacting inappropriately with underage fans. Paytas said Dragun was “defending pedophiles” and “spreading COVID.”
“How bout wear a mask ?” she tweeted. “U r a trash human during this whole pandemic — Ur makeup ain’t that cute.”
— Trisha Paytas (@trishapaytas) March 31, 2021
Several commentators responded to Dragun’s tweet, supporting Paytas’ statement that the feud had nothing to do with Dragun being a trans woman.
“When will Nikita get it in her head that people are attacking her because of her sh—- actions and not because she’s trans,” one person tweeted, receiving 16,000 likes.
“You have yet to apologise to the Black community for blackfishing as us, you’ve yet to apologise for being totally irresponsible during this pandemic, don’t throw stones Miss,” added beauty influencer Adrian Beautee.
Drama YouTuber Dustin Daily also retweeted Dragun, telling her she was “just as problematic” as Paytas.
“Let’s not act like you don’t change your skin tone every other week,” he said.
umm i love you Nikita but let’s not act like you don’t change your skin tone every other week. you’re just as problematic… https://t.co/0CHwdVK65f
— Dustin Dailey (@ThreeDailey) March 31, 2021
The battle continued for hours — with Paytas taking issue with Dragun hanging around with 18-year-olds. Dragun then retweeted several serious allegations about Paytas, including claims she sexualized young stars such as Trevi Moran when they were underage, and dated a “pedophile”, referring to her brief relationship with actor Evan Fransisco Gomez who was charged with photographing a three-year-old boy in a men’s locker room in 2012. He plead no contest and took a plea deal of three years’ probation and community service.
Dragun also accused Paytas of abusing her fiancée Moses Hacmon. This allegation relates to comments made by Paytas on an early episode of the “Frenemies” podcast in which she admitted she physically assaulted Hacmon during an argument on one occasion, but acknowledged it was wrong and said it was a “weak moment” in their relationship. Paytas retweeted this claim and corresponding photo allegedly of Hacmon’s bruised arm, saying she had spoken about the incident and moved on.
“I own up to my faults,” she said.
Klein then inserted himself into the fight to stand up for his sister-in-law-to-be
Klein, a fellow YouTuber who runs the H3 Podcast, then got involved. He replied to the tweet which alleged that Paytas had “domestically abused” Hacmon — who is his brother-in-law — in support of Paytas.
“Talk to your friend James Charles about jail, Moses and Trisha are happy and worked through it,” he said. “It’s weird that you’re more worked up about a happy consensual couple than a literal predator in your immediate friend circle.” Charles has previously denied allegations of predatory behavior, and has responded to recent claims that he has interacted inappropriately with underage fans in a video in which he acknowledged that he was “reckless” and that the conversations depicted “should never have happened”.
Klein then accused Dragun of deflecting “from the fact that you are actively working with, supporting and associating with known predators.” This is a reference to her collaborations with Charles, as well as with TikTokers Tony and Ondreaz Lopez. Tony Lopez is being sued for alleged sexual battery and emotional distress, allegations which he denied in a statement to TMZ, saying they were “not at all true.” His brother Ondreaz Lopez faced a separate accusation in which a Twitter user claimed he assaulted her in 2018 when she was 17 years old. Ondreaz denied the claim in a Twitter statement posted on 22 June, 2020.
Cute enough? pic.twitter.com/bfgzu5AOM2
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) April 1, 2021
Paytas said she had blocked Dragun after her claims, because they “triggered” her. She said Dragun had brought up “stuff I did at my lowest” and has “zero remorse” for digging through her history to hurt her.
“I’ve tried to learn from my past. I’ve finally gotten my mental illness under control a little,” she tweeted. “I just, this all takes me a huge step back. I will always apologize and try to educate myself, try to grow. That’s all I can do. I really was just hoping she could do the same.”
Many commentators found the whole spectacle performative and disappointing
While some onlookers reveled in Paytas’ takedown of Dragun and her behavior during the pandemic, others felt all the Twitter spat achieved was bring more attention to the actions of two influential figures.
Beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina criticized Dragun for tweeting a video of Klein using a racial slur for this reason.
“Stop throwing Black people in there for your ‘this u’ moments,” she said.
Commentary YouTuber Cherita Gaskin added that influencers “love to weaponize racism when it fits their narrative.”
we know none of yall actually gaf that this man said the N word. stop throwing Black people in there for your “this u” moments
— Naira Banks (@jackieaina) April 1, 2021
YouTuber Kahlen Barry also spoke out in a series of tweets, and accused both Dragun and Paytas of being “ignorant” and “performative.”
“I was just having a whole conversation with my friends today about some of the things that frustrate me about the influencer space & this is exactly that,” he tweeted. “There is no sides of this ‘twitter beef.’ Both have incredibly ignorant pasts and presents that people love to overlook.”
He added that cheering either side on was disappointing, and the whole spectacle had become a battle of “who’s more racist” without actually achieving anything.
This is not the first time an influencer has faced such criticism. Last November TikToker Dixie D’Amelio received similar backlash for posting a video dancing to Paytas using the N-word during a spat between the two influencers.
TikToker Gorda Corajuda said at the time that D’Amelio “weaponized somebody else’s racism and anti-Blackness to make herself look better.”
While the debate between Paytas and Dragun was entertaining for many viewers and commentary channels were excited to cover the drama, the feud also highlighted that Black content creators are tired of their pain being used to further boost the turbulent narratives that prolong problematic influencers’ careers.
— Kahlen Barry (@KahlenBarry) April 1, 2021
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