Tyga was always a bit of a joke.
The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name, Michael Ray Stevenson, resembles that of a redneck assassin, achieved moderate fame and fortune on the back of his hit single “Rack City,” a terribly silly track about making it rain on strippers. He’s since garnered considerably more ink for his base tabloid exploits, from being sued by a pair of women for exposing their nipples in his music video sans permission, to being sued for things like “jacking $91K worth of grade ‘A’ bling” (TMZ’s words) and stiffing his landlord (as well as the state of California).
Tyga once even called Drake “fake,” despite the fact that Aubrey Graham has been very upfront about his past, whilst Michael Ray Stevenson, who claims to be from the mean streets of Compton, appeared on a pilot for an MTV reality series called Bu$tas in 2008 saying he grew up “not too tough” in The Valley, and his “parents got a Range Rover, CL600 doin’ it big.” He lost that hip-hop competition, by the way, to a nerdy white dude who may or may not have worked at Kinko’s.
But Tyga, who is half-Vietnamese, is best known for dating the youngest Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, when she was 17 and he was 25—which, if you were wondering, qualifies as statutory rape in their home state of California. Kanye West, the husband of Jenner’s sister Kim Kardashian West, went as far as to compliment Tyga on dating someone underage, telling Power 105 back in February, “I think he got in early. I think he was smart.”
And the tabloid media, like West, wasn’t as dismissive of this illicit relationship as it should have been. They shrugged when Tyga posted a picture of a 17-year-old Kylie to Instagram with the caption, “Certain things catch your eye, but only few capture the heart.” (People magazine even called the post “sweet.”) They passed the tea when he was allegedly found to have cheated on the teenager with a transsexual actress, who posted the alleged receipts—including a picture of Tyga’s penis—online. And they turned a blind eye when Tyga released the music video for his statutory-rape anthem “Stimulated,” starring Kylie, with vile lyrics like, “They say she young, I should’ve waited / She a big girl, dog, when she stimulated.”
But this joke isn’t funny anymore.
On Monday afternoon, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred held a press conference featuring her new client, Molly O’Malia—a 14-year-old Instagram model with close to 50,000 followers on the platform. A pixelated picture of O’Malia had recently been splashed on the cover of OK! magazine, with the rag insinuating that she’d engaged in an “inappropriate sexually suggestive relationship” with the rapper, according to Allred.
Yes, the whole thing seemed like a publicity stunt for Allred and O’Malia, and yes, there shouldn’t be 14-year-old “Instagram models” racking up thousands of likes from creepy men for displaying scantily clad photos of themselves, but none of this makes what Tyga allegedly did the least bit acceptable.
According to O’Malia, who lightly wept during the presser, it was the 26-year-old hip-hop artist who initiated the relationship, and it was she who decided to cut off communication when Tyga expressed his desire to meet with her in person.
“The truth is that Tyga contacted me first. He direct messaged me on Instagram. I knew who he was but I was surprised that he was contacting me,” she said in a statement. “I thought that it could possibly be about my music, but he did not mention that in his initial communication with me. I thought that was strange, but I was thinking he would bring that up in his next message to me. However, he didn’t mention it in the next message.
“I began to feel uncomfortable when he asked me to FaceTime with him,” she continued. “He asked me to FaceTime three times, but I did not do it. Because of my discomfort with why he wanted to communicate with me I quickly stopped responding to him. It’s crazy how so much can come out of nothing.”
This isn’t nothing, however. If true, this shows that Tyga is a predator with considerable means and influence who targets underage girls, just as he did with a teenage Kylie Jenner. And the public—and tabloid media—shouldn’t laugh off this despicable behavior any longer. It’s this lack of seriousness and accountability that’s allowed a demon like R. Kelly to continue to flourish, despite the countless young girls he’s left violated and forgotten.
O’Malia ended her presser by saying she decided to speak out “because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to any other young girl.” Neither should the press, or the public.