- A new episode of “Law & Order: SVU” depicts a TikToker who is sexually assaulted by two influencers.
- The influencer, Willa, alleged that the two influencers took advantage of her when she was drunk.
- There is a history of alleged sexual abuse involving social media stars and content squads.
A new episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” features a TikTok star who is sexually assaulted by two other influencers whose content house she wants to join. The episode follows several years full of headlines about allegations of sexual assault involving influencers and internet stars.
The episode focuses on a rapidly rising TikTok influencer named Willa Britola (played by Lora Torluemke), who is invited by Diggy Wheeler (Taylor Trensch), the head of the fictional content squad the Wheelhouse, to come over to their headquarters and make videos with him and brothers Tate Rivers (Jakob Winter) and Liam Rivers (Conor Sweeney), two other members of the group. Britola takes them up on the opportunity.
After making a video, the group does shots and hangs out in a jacuzzi. Britola appears drunk and woozy. Wheeler offeres to escort her to a guest room so she can rest, but then he takes a phone call and the other two brothers jump in. Tate and Liam bring her to a room. The scene cuts and Britola is shown face down in a corner of a room, crying, as her friend arrives to pick her up.
Britola said that the two men took advantage of her drunken state and raped her. She made a TikTok announcing the allegations, but then quickly deleted it as she said she faced harassment and doxxing from Wheelhouse fanatics. The two brothers denied that they raped her and claimed that everything was consensual.
Wheeler then invited Britola back to the Wheelhouse so he could apologize for her feeling uncomfortable, but he still stood by his fellow influencers’ assertions that they did not rape her. While Britola was there, Tate and Liam trapped her on a couch and pressured her into admitting on a livestream that her allegations were made in jest. Visibly distraught, she said that the accusations were a joke.
The fictional case eventually went to court and a trial. The jury initially acquitted Tate and Liam of unlawful imprisonment and rape charges, but then it was revealed that the two influencers offered at least one jury member a chance to join the Wheelhouse in exchange for giving them a “not guilty” verdict. The episode ended with the two influencers likely facing at least five years in jail.
Major influencers have recently faced numerous allegations of sexual assault
Although the episode didn’t appear to be referencing one specific real-life incident, there is a history of alleged sexual abuse related to social media influencers and content houses.
Insider published an investigation in March featuring an anonymous woman given the pseudonym Hannah who alleged that she was raped by a member of YouTuber David Dobrik’s content making group, the Vlog Squad, in 2018.
Hannah told Insider that she and a group of friends went to an apartment used by the content group to film clips. After drinking alcohol at the apartment, Hannah alleged, she became too intoxicated to give consent to have sex and was raped by Dominykas Zeglaitis, also known as Durte Dom, then a member of Dobrik’s influencer group.
Footage taken that night was made into a YouTube video, which was later taken down at Hannah’s request, about how she and her friends had had a “threesome” with Zeglaitis, Insider reported.
Zeglaitis, who initially denied the accusation of rape in April and said the sex was consensual, uploaded a video titled “exposing the truth…” in late September in which he apologized to Hannah and said he knew “what we did that night wasn’t right” but did not reference the alleged sexual abuse.
In early 2021, some members of another content collective called the Hype House were sued after two teens said they were groomed and coerced into sexual acts by Tony Lopez, one-half of the Lopez Brothers. Lopez denied the allegations.
In April, influencer and boxer Jake Paul faced sexual assault allegations that were originally reported by the New York Times. TikTok influencer Justine Paradise said Paul forced her to give him oral sex at a party. Another influence said Paul forcibly groped her. Paul denied the allegations.
NBC did not respond to a request for comment.