On Sept. 17, a beauty guru who has more than 286,000 followers on Instagram received a notice that her Twitter account, which had 23,000 followers at the time, had suddenly been suspended.
Lauren Elyse, 28, is now alleging her suspension came after a coordinated smear campaign by a young beauty guru and her mother.
Elyse, who's based in Chicago, told BuzzFeed News she believes an 18-year-old beauty vlogger named Lillee Jean and her momager, Laur, were angry about a tweet she shared back in July. So, she believes, the duo created fake accounts to mass-report her account, triggering the algorithm to successfully have her Twitter account suspended.
When reached on Tuesday, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News they couldn't "find any violation" that would have caused Elyse's account to be suddenly shut down. They are now investigating.
Jean and Laur vehemently denied these allegations and any wrongdoing to BuzzFeed News. They instead claimed that they are the victims of online harassment from Elyse.
So what happened to Elyse's @laurrrelyse Twitter account? Buckle in — here's what we know and how we got here.
In early July, Elyse tweeted that she had discovered Jean's Instagram account, and was going "down a rabbit hole of a conspiracy" after discovering a Reddit thread about it.
The conspiracy theory is long and messy, so I'll let you read it on your own time. The gist of it is that people are confused how Jean's Instagram account has over 1 million followers while her YouTube channel only has over 3,000 subscribers. In response to the rumors, Jean told BuzzFeed News all of her Instagram followers were "grown organically" and that YouTube subscribers are much harder to get.
In any case, Elyse's tweet about this drama upset Jean and her mother.
About a month later, Jean responded to the tweet, writing in an Instagram story that it's an example of "cyberbullying." Elyse and Jean sparred back and forth online, both of them accusing the other of harassment. (Jean told BuzzFeed News she feels she gets "hate for no reason," that she's been doxed, and that her personal safety is in jeopardy because of the online conspiracies and chatter around her suspicious social media stats.)
Eventually, Jean's mother and manager, Laur, got involved. In early September, she tweeted a threat intended for Elyse saying "just wait what we have in store for you and your family" — except she tweeted it at the wrong Lauren.
Laur confirmed that she did tweet this and that it was meant for Elyse. "I will protect my child in any way possible. If somebody is threatening my child I will fight back. Any parent would," she added.
Cut to last week. Elyse said she received notice from Twitter that her account was suspended for "violating [its] rules against platform manipulation and spam."
Elyse said she had no prior violations with the social media platform that she knew of, so she was confused. She said the timing of her suspension aligned perfectly with the heightened drama and threats by Jean and Laur, and other accounts that tweeted in support of them.
"I don’t have any issues with anyone else. I assumed I hadn’t been reported for anything else before, [so] it made sense that all this drama peaked when I got suspended," she said.
She's now trying to get her account reinstated.
"I sent in two appeals [to Twitter] and I haven’t gotten word back," she said.
Elyse said other people who had weighed in on the conspiracies about Jean, and overall gossip about the teen, also had their Twitter accounts suspended around the same time. They and other users who've been sharing and following all the convoluted drama online are claiming Jean and her mom have a list of fake burner accounts. They claim the duo uses these accounts to both fangirl over Jean and carry out plots of suspension "attack" against anyone who speaks out against her.
One woman, who asked to be referred to by her pseudonym Harper Stanley, told BuzzFeed News she had her Twitter suspended around the exact same time as Elyse after speaking out against Jean.
"I believe Lillee and her mother used the many fake accounts to report the accounts that were speaking out against them," she said.
Stanley directed BuzzFeed News to a Jean/Laur supporter account that she said used a stolen photo of another woman online.
The mother and daughter deny having fake accounts and using fake accounts to run Elyse or anyone else away from Twitter.
"We did not create fake accounts. We do not have time to create fake accounts," Laur said. "In fact, as this was all going on, [Jean] continued to do her content, and we were doing damage control 24/7."
They said "it must have been Lillee’s fans" who mass-reported Elyse's account. Or, that perhaps Elyse had previous violations. "It wasn’t us," Jean and Laur said.
Twitter told BuzzFeed News that it had looked into the matter and possible violations by Elyse and couldn't find anything.
"We didn’t find any violation related to the alleged claims you sent through, and our support team will be in touch with Lauren directly for her account issue," said a company spokesperson.
Elyse said all she wants is to be rid of the drama — and to have her account back.
"I want it all to be over. ... I would like my original account. I am an influencer and I gained a pretty big following and it’s beneficial to me," she said. "I want my account back and I want them to leave me and everyone alone."