Dixie D’Amelio’s Tearful Instagram Live Highlights Failings of Drama Accounts
Like most Gen-Z TikTokkers, Dixie D’Amelio is no stranger to internet drama. There was that time everyone was speculating about her sexuality, or when everyone went looking for “evidence” that her parents cared about sister Charli D’Amelio more than her, or her recent split from TikTok creator and Sway House member Griffin Johnson. She’s weathered it all with nothing but humor and perhaps a snarky tweet here and there, but today she shocked fans by going live on Instagram in tears.
“I don’t fucking cry on the internet or anything,” she begins the broadcast. “But I just saw this post.”
She’s referring to a series of screenshots tweeted by Twitter user @DefNoodles, real name Dennis Feitosa. The drama account has diligently reported things like the frequent influencer parties and the allegations against Tony Lopez, and was quoted in the New York Times as a credible source for online creator news. However, his most recent report has upset followers and proves gossip accounts have more of an impact than perhaps even they’d like to believe.
“Dixie D’Amelio allegedly faked seizures to get out of her High School classes, according to someone who went to Dixie’s school,” the tweet reads. “Behavior allegedly happened so often, Dixie’s teacher and classmates noticed she was allegedly faking. What are your thoughts?”
He then attached three screenshots from an anonymous user who says they heard that D’Amelio faked seizures in high school. The user never witnessed D’Amelio’s seizures, but claims a teacher that they both had accused her of faking them.
Dixie D’Amelio allegedly faked seizures to get out of her High School classes, according to someone who went to Dixie’s school. Behavior allegedly happened so often, Dixie’s teacher and classmates noticed she was allegedly faking. What are your thoughts? pic.twitter.com/7K8urIA2I3— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) August 17, 2020
In D’Amelio’s live video, she confirms that when she was a sophomore in high school, she was diagnosed with PNES, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, after collapsing at school and being taken to the hospital. The incident prompted her to switch schools entirely. However, she adamantly denies ever faking the seizure, and says she only collapsed once at school before being put on bed rest.
While drama and influencer gossip accounts often rely on second-hand sources for their news—including screenshots of Instagram comments and anonymous tipsters—multiple allegations are often grouped together, and in cases like the recent Arielle Charnas relaunch controversy, they provide a service for internet users who might otherwise be duped by an influencer. But in the case of Dixie D’Amelio, it’s hard to see the newsworthiness of presenting one damaging accusation that not only wasn’t verified, but was also so quickly contested by the subject herself. And even if it were true, it would be a personal attack with no bearing on her followers today. (Feitosa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
This is another growing pain for drama accounts as they look to define themselves in this new era of internet reporting. Remember when Sanders Kennedy called the LASD to give a tip about Shane Dawson...so he could report that someone called the LASD to give a tip about Shane Dawson? While some accounts are adamant that they’re observers, not journalists, reporting anonymous accusations can have huge consequences, good and bad.
Feitosa knows this—he says he’s previously consulted a lawyer about the wording of his tweets—but credibility isn’t only determined by putting the word “allegedly” in front of something. Judgement about what, exactly, even counts as newsworthy drama is proving to be just as important.
On its own, this instance will likely be nothing more than a blip in the onslaught of influencer drama that pours out of Twitter and Instagram every day. However, if drama accounts want to stand out from the rest of the unfiltered gossip, they’re going to have to start playing by the rules—even if they have to figure them out for themselves.