It started super cute: a 16-year-old uploading a TikTok trying to get a boy to fall in love with him. The internet fawned.
It ended super not cute: getting exposed for being two straight friends and potentially being homophobic the whole time. The internet revolted.
The four-part TikTok series on Vu Nguyen's (@vulang) TikTok features cute, couple activities he tries and often fails to do with Ben (@_benzyme_). It's not evident until later in the series that they're both boys, making it a "gay couple reveal" of sorts.
But shortly after their TikToks went viral, it became clear that Vu and Ben weren't really dating. They were a fake gay couple, and seemingly straight at the same time.
Fellow students of their West Hartford school explained that on top of not actually being a couple, they allegedly had been homophobic to the actual queer students in their school.
yall they’re not even together they’re just two heteros being gay for clout like come on now https://t.co/AJtvXAaYsy— 𝐏☏ (@suhtalite) October 10, 2019
lets not forget v* be acting gay in his tiktoks but lowkey homophobic irl and thats the tea pic.twitter.com/vu0RI0quvt— 𝐏☏ (@suhtalite) October 11, 2019
clown.... he was my guy best friend and he’s STRAIGHT he has no ounce of gay in him he does it as a joke we were even talking about it. like... y’all wanna see gays winning so bad— 𝐒𝐒 (@nanasmango) October 11, 2019
Not only did that crush the dreams of young queer people who looked up to the seemingly happy couple, but it brought up claims of queerbaiting – the idea that people pretend to be queer for positive attention, when actual queer people are subject to harassment, bullying and violence.
That change of heart is especially apparent on Instagram, where the comment section of Vu's profile started super cute...
...and quickly turned ugly, with clown emojis, dragging and K-pop stans promoting their faves' music.
Here's our take: don't bully these 16-year-olds into oblivion for a generally cute idea that waded into dangerous territory. Explain how they messed up, demand an apology and hope everyone learned from the situation.
After outrage and criticism from the queer community, Vu apologized for giving "false hope" for those looking for gay couple representation on TikTok.
Additionally, the writer of the original "expose" tweets deleted their threads after having a conversation with Vu. You can read both of their statements below.
If you were wondering why the thread was deleted here is why: pic.twitter.com/p3TP0Jegow— 𝐏☏ CHECK PINNED (@suhtalite) October 12, 2019
We're grateful for how quickly this situation was resolved, and proud of the maturity that was displayed in Vu's apology.