Young users of social–media–cum–video-app Vine worship a group of users known as Vine celebs. The self–made stars have giant followings and often take trips across the country to meet and collaborate.
Some become friends, and others start dating, as was the case with Curtis Lepore and Jessi “Smiles” Vazquez. Now, TMZ reports that Mr. Lepore is on trial for charges of raping Ms. Vazquez while she slept in October.
“We’re told Jessi flew to see Curtis in L.A. last August, but things didn’t go well, and they broke up. Jessi stayed in L.A. and a few days later got a concussion while shooting a Vine video.
“Sources close to Jessi tell TMZ … Curtis then called her and offered to help her while she was recovering. The victim claims Curtis came over, Jessi fell asleep, and that’s when he allegedly raped her.
“The day after the incident, Jessi tweeted, ‘Be careful of who you trust. Always be cautious for your safety. Be strong and don’t let your guard down.’”
Mr. Lepore’s lawyer told TMZ, “Things are not always as they appear, and there are two sides to every story.”
Mr. Lepore’s Vine profile says he lives in Los Angeles. He has 3.4 million followers and has posted 357 videos. His videos are of high production quality and often feature story lines and special effects. They garner hundreds of thousands of likes and revines.
Ms. Vazquez is based in Miami and L.A., her Vine profile says, and her posts are mainly relatable, confessional–style videos about how much she likes food and how hard it is to get a boyfriend. She has 2.7 million followers.
It appears both Mr. Lepore and Ms. Vazquez have been staying mum on social media about the trial, aside from this:
I stopped living my life 6 months ago for a very long time and that is NOT going to happen again. This is all I will say. Love you all.—
Jessi Smiles (@jessismiles__) January 16, 2014
Wow. TMZ? It all makes sense now. Let the second publicity stunt begin!—
Curtis Lepore (@curtislepore) January 16, 2014
Whatever that means. We know Mr. Lepore couldn’t be implying that Ms. Vazquez is only making these accusations for attention, right? Right?!
Vine fans are freaking out, and some of them are tweeting things that are just super charming and perceptive:
I don't believe that curtis lepore raped jessi smiles. someone just wants attention.—
j. (@jessicahackn3y) January 16, 2014
Yeah, don’t get sucked into that Twitter search K-hole. And especially don’t look at the insane comments from rape apologists on either of their Vine feeds. No one but the people involved know whether or not Mr. Lepore is guilty at this point, but either way, there’s no reason ever to type the words “Bitches deserve to get raped,” then press send.
Tensions are so high, because Mr. Lepore and Ms. Vazquez’s relationship, TMZ points out, was “a HUGE deal in the Vine world.” They met through the app and met in New York City in front of Vine fans.