A 19-year-old TikTok star is facing backlash after a leaked video showed her kissing her 13-year-old fan when they “just ended up catching feelings for each other.”
Zoe Laverne, who has nearly 18 million followers on the app, apologized in a live-stream this week for her actions but denied “grooming” the young fan and fellow TikToker, Connor. The Post is withholding his last name due to his age.
“I didn’t groom Connor, I wouldn’t do that. He’s a kid and I’m aware of that. It just happened,” she said in the stream, according to Business Insider. “We both were in a dark place when we first became friends and we both just ended up catching feelings for each other. And friends do that, they catch feelings for each other. That’s not a bad thing. Yes, the age is a bad thing. Yes, it’s wrong. Yes, it’s not good. We both realized that and we stopped.”
Connor, who goes by @cxnnorjoyce on the app and has over 350,000 followers, frequently collaborates with Laverne in her videos. However, Laverne says they have since ended their friendship.
A few weeks ago, messages between a former friend of Laverne’s and her ex-boyfriend leaked, in which her former pal called Laverne’s interaction’s with Connor “pedophilia.” Later, videos leaked on social media that appeared to show the two kissing.
In a statement posted to Instagram stories, Connor said that Laverne “did not rape” him.
Laverne said she told Connor’s mother about the kiss after it happened, according to screenshots that appear to be taken from her private Instagram account. “She wasn’t happy obviously but she understood that we are both teenagers and that feelings can be caught.”
The TikTok star’s own mother has defended her daughter’s actions. “Anybody can reach over and kiss somebody. They’re best friends,” she said in a livestream.
Both Laverne and Connor have subtly addressed the scandal in TikTok videos. A few days ago, Connor posted a video of him strutting with the text “me coming back to social media acting like nothing happened.”
Laverne posted a similar clip, titled, “me coming back to TikTok after I get canceled for the 100th time.”
♬ Where Is The Love? – The Black Eyed Peas