The year is 2023 and we find ourselves in the midst of yet another TikTok battle royal. This week, Swedish pop star Zara Larsson went head-to-head with content creator Ryan Crouse after he accused her of saying a homophobic slur at one of her concerts.
It all started when 25-year-old Larsson stitched one of Crouse’s TikToks in which she retold a cute story from her youth where she won an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland for her and her family.
All innocent enough, until…
Crouse stitched her response to his video and told a story — which was later proven to be BS — in which he claimed the singer used a derogatory slur against him.
“I used to be a huge fucking Zara Larsson stan,” he said.
The fake story goes that he attended Larsson’s concert a few years ago in Washington D.C. where he was invited up on stage.
“As soon as I started singing with you, you pushed me off the stage and called me a flaming fucking f****t,” he said jokingly.
Well, Zara didn’t take too kindly to those accusations and she had something to say about it. In a TikTok responding to Crouse, she said: “I get that it’s a joke but we need to make a study on what it is that makes men – white gay men – feel like making a woman look homophobic is like the funniest joke ever. ‘Cos I thought that was a little played out.”
She went on to say that she understands it’s self-deprecating humour but it often comes at the expense of the women who are the butt of the joke. She continued on explaining how much this interaction has upset her and finished up the video with a little zinger of her own.
“So, Ryan, I’m gonna sue you,” she said before adding: “It’s a joke!”
Does it end there? It does not. Take a drink break now if you need.
It seems Crouse completely forgot the power of the internet, especially if you put a celebrity in your cross-hairs no matter how well or ill-intentioned your actions were. He jumped on TikTok to clear the air by telling his followers his joke was blown way out of proportion.
“I think I caused a bigger stir than I meant to,” he said laughing. “I just woke up to like 14 emails from reporters asking me to comment on this situation.”
He then went on to make it clear that the incident he told never happened and it was a joke gone wrong. Regrettably his satire missed the mark completely and he was completely taken to school by Ms Zara Larsson.
The lessons we’ve learned? Let’s bin homophobic jokes of any kind and create a more positive space online.
Oh, and don’t come for Zara or she’ll eat you up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.