Danielle Cohn, 15, amassed armies of both fans and haters when she became one of the most popular Musical.ly stars before the app was folded into TikTok.
Cohn has since translated her following into a successful YouTube account (1.2 million subscribers) and even bigger Instagram account (3.5 million followers).
The young social media influencer has now drawn droves of heated reactions after she led fans to believe she was married to her 16-year-old boyfriend Mikey Tua — and was pregnant with his child.
In a monetized YouTube video posted over the weekend, Cohn and Tua filmed themselves in a wedding ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator and claimed throughout that they were in Vegas “to get married.” The video already has over 2.5 million views.
In Nevada, anyone under the age of 16 needs a court order authorizing a marriage license to be issued. According to online court records for Las Vegas, no marriage license has been issued for Cohn or Tua.
Days earlier, Cohn created pregnancy rumors after she posted a cryptic photo showing Tua kissing her stomach. The photo was followed by a tweet from Tua that read, “Expecting 08/14/19 #manibaby.” She followed it with a tweet of her own with the same date.
Cohn’s mother, Jennifer, who also manages her accounts and career, told BuzzFeed News her daughter did not actually legally marry Tua. “It was a YouTube video like most YouTube people do for clickbait,” she said.
“She committed to her best friend in Vegas ... legally they can’t get married,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer did not address claims that her daughter is pregnant and did not immediately respond to multiple inquiries from BuzzFeed News about the subject.
Cohn’s mom also categorically denied that the marriage claims were “done for a stunt,” stating that the two teens “are YouTubers [who] did something ... they made a promise.”
Around the same time Cohn published her marriage video, Tua dropped a YouTube video titled “We Are Expecting...” where they filmed themselves sharing news of a pregnancy with friends and family. His video has over 3.1 million views currently. At no point in the video do they reveal whether or not they’re serious.
People online did not interpret the whole situation as just YouTube fodder — they were distressed.
Many commenters said the young couple are inadequate “role models” and aren’t examples of how maturity and relationships should be seen.
Some worried that equally young, if not younger, followers will be inspired by their actions — whether the ceremony was faked or not.
“Girl you are a CHILD TF YOU DOIN,” a fan tweeted.
Some couldn’t help but make jokes about the marriage and/or pregnancy that they believed to be true.
“*Dr.phill has joined the chat*,” a top comment read.
“Shouldn’t you be doing your homework,” another said.
A majority of the comments took the rumors seriously. “Open the Bible not your legs,” someone wrote.
Some comments took their criticisms too far and harassed the couple.
Among a list of “things danielle cohn should have done,” one user wrote, “been aborted.”
Jennifer told BuzzFeed News that she finds it “pretty sad that this has become such a huge deal” in response to the range of backlash her daughter is receiving.
“People prank and do all kinds of stuff on the internet,” she added.
Many people — at least on social media and who are observing the actions of social media–famous subjects — were not amused.