Sometimes one main character emerges on social media. On Twitter on Monday it was Jeffrey Toobin. But on TikTok over the weekend it was a balloon artist in Texas.
In what's now being referred to as the "balloon drama," users' For You pages were taken over by That Balloon Girl, a business run by Kelsey Onstott, and people were getting mad in her comments.
It started on Onstott's TikTok channel, where she posts the balloon creations she makes for her business in Houston, such as garlands and mosaics. People kept asking about her prices, so she started including them with her videos.
That's when the controversy started.
For this garland, Onstott said, she charges $420. The comments immediately got spicy.
Her posts have since been full of comments from people accusing her of overcharging or even "scamming" her customers.
It then came to a head with a now-viral post in which Onstott addressed the comments head-on and challenged people to re-create her $300 balloon mosaics at home.
"If you can go to party city and spend $5 on balloons and replicate this please duet me," she wrote.
People, once again, were riled.
Onstott got defensive because, she told BuzzFeed News, "I've poured my blood, sweat, and tears into my business."
Up until February 2019, Onstott said, she was working a corporate job but was "bored out of [her] mind," so she quit to do balloons full time and has since built a roster of clients.
"My clients don’t find my prices shocking, and I’ve sold so many of these mosaics. I’ve probably sold over 50 of them, and nobody bats an eye," she said.
"It’s an industry standard, really."
She said people should understand that her prices include not only the cost of materials but her time as well.
"I’m a 30-year-old woman, and this is my business," she said. "I’m running a successful, profitable business, and it’s just not fair that they can determine how much your time is worth."
Her challenge video, which now has more than 17 million views, set off a chain reaction of responses.
People got very invested.
Overall, it's been a weird time.
At least one person did go on to make their own balloon creations at home.
Onstott also pointed out, however, that she's being paid by people who have no desire to DIY.
"It can be done, but what I’m doing ... [is] I'm saving my clients the time that they don’t have and they don’t want to spend doing themselves," she said.
While some people have also taken issue with Onstott's tone in her replies, she said she's just standing up for herself.
"I was just talking to my friend about it, and she said that you do clap back and people might think your comments are unprofessional, but you’re standing up for the work that you do and the prices that you charge," she said. "You’re really standing up for all small businesses."
Despite being TikTok's bad guy for a day, Onstott said she's not upset and will keep doing what she does.
"As long as I have paying customers who continue to come back to me, that’s what I care about."