“I should have never have put the relationship out on social media, first of all,” Carter Reynolds said to his YouNow audience back in December.
The popular Vine star, with over 4.3 million followers on the looping video site (and another 2.3 million on Twitter) was addressing rumors that were swirling about his relationship with fellow social media star Maggie Lindemann.
As he waited for more people to log in to see him make his announcement, he twisted his head from side to side, in a bored and arrogant gesture, eventually cracking it so hard he cried out. “Bad stuff happens when you put your relationship out on social media,” he continued, “Especially when you like, uhhh, have a lot of followers.”
Bad stuff indeed. On Monday night, a NSFW video, supposedly stolen from Reynolds’s iCloud account, leaked of him pressuring Lindemann (who appears to be intoxicated) to have sex, though she repeatedly says she doesn’t want to.
The cringeworthy dialogue reads as follows:
Lindemann: “This makes me so uncomfortable.”Reynolds: “Do it.”Lindemann: “I’m really uncomfortable.” She shuffles off to the side, drops her head down.Reynolds: “Stop, stop. Just act like nothing’s there.”Lindemann: “Carter, that’s a giant lie.”Reynolds: “[Laughs] Want me to turn the light off?”Lindemann: “I don’t know if I can.”Reynolds: “Want me to turn the light off?”Lindemann: “I don’t think I can.”Reynolds: “Oh my gosh, Maggie. Oh my gosh.”
To make all of this worse, Reynolds is 19 and Lindeman is only 16, which in most states is below the age of consent. Reynolds lives in Los Angeles, where the age of consent is 18, meaning that if the act occurred in his home state, he was attempting statutory rape (namely, unlawful oral copulation and sexual intercourse with a minor).
Before Monday, the two teenagers had a fairly typical teen romance: boy teen star meets girl teen star, they date, they make cute videos, he allegedly sexts another girl, she gets angry, they get back together, they break up. Their Twitter followers and YouTube commentators watched all of this closely and intensely with the same fervor typically reserved for the Kardashians. But unlike that well-oiled family machine, which never seems to make a misstep, Reynolds has tarnished his reputation with this sex scandal, which is a surprisingly familiar story for a lot of social media stars.
Reynolds’ reaction to the leak was a mixture of obvious panic and misguided attempts to remedy the situation. He started with denial (or at least, not explaining anything):
Then he went to stalling:
Making empty promises that he hoped would explain everything:
Not delivering on those promises:
Acting like he’s the victim here:
To finally giving a lame excuse that explains nothing (because really, it’s quite straightforward), and that basically just reinforced the notion that Reynolds is totally unaware that a lot of likes on social media do not, in fact, make you a good person or give you permission to force a girl to have sex with you, even if she’s your girlfriend.
Though Reynolds was having a Twitter meltdown, he did receive his fair share of misguided support. The #WeLoveYouCarter went massively viral on Twitter Wednesday after Reynolds started it (he has since deleted his post begging for users to use the hashtag from his Twitter account):
But actually, the majority of the tweets with the hashtag seemed to be shocked and angry reactions that anyone could support him and that he would dare ask for such support.
On Wednesday night, Reynolds seemed to be in the depressed stage of his grief, tweeting out woe-is-me messages like:
“The main source of his happiness,” we can only assume, must be the adoration of his army of devoted Twitter followers, which even if it isn’t totally lost, is irreparably damaged.
Perhaps he’s finally learned that the “hate” he once expressed for his fans can go both ways.