Hold the Drama: Why Does Everyone Suddenly Hate JoJo Siwa?


Why do so many gay teens and twenty-somethings suddenly hate Jojo Siwa?

If you have stepped into a Walmart, Target, or Claires in the past five years, you have surely encountered the empire of 19-year-old Joelle Joanie Siwa, more commonly known as JoJo. Her illustrious career began in her early childhood, first appearing on the Lifetime show “Dance Moms” at 9-years-old.

Most recently, JoJo has garnered popularity on the video sharing app Tiktok, where she posts, you guessed it, dance videos, along with glitter-filled “day in the life” vlogs, chaotic craft tutorials, and many videos of her eating food, otherwise called “mukbang” videos.

She received criticism for publicly coming out in January of 2021 as pansexual but gained mass support from the online queer community and greater commercial success than ever before. Her primarily child audience is enthralled by her every move. Which makes the story of her current drama so complex.

To understand where we are now, we must go back to the early March of 2020, pre-pandemic.

A group of content creators who had previously gone by the names of “The Gayng,” the “Homo Hype House,” and the “Gayngels” decided to split the cost of attending “Playlist Live,” a convention which hosts online content creators, by sharing a house together for a weekend.

“Playlist Live” is an in-person convention for YouTube and TikTok celebrities. It is held in Orlando, Fla.

These young women and non-binary people all built TikTok followings through their identities as “women-loving-women,” also referred to as WLW. Infighting and relationship drama fueled feuds and views. Amongst them were Avery Cyrus (real name Blanchard, then 19), Sophia “Soph” Mosca (then 20), and Anna Grace “AG” McDaniel (then 16), primarily known for their dance videos and thirst traps often filmed with each other.

Two months later, a handful of the girls who had remained friends following “Playlist Live” decided to throw a “Gay Prom” event, despite rising Covid numbers and fan criticism. Cyrus, McDaniel, and Mosca were all invited and attended.

Fans quickly picked up on McDaniel and Mosca’s close friendship, pairing them romantically despite their age gap. Cyrus, McDaniel, and Mosca embarked on a road trip immediately after, continuing to post videos of their adventures.

After a few days, McDaniel returned home while Mosca and Cyrus continued to travel together. They began to post couple style content almost immediately after the departure of McDaniel, much to the surprise of their viewers. They officially confirmed their relationship shortly after.

So what does this have to do with JoJo Siwa?

Siwa had previously been friends with the couple; both Mosca (now 23) and Cyrus (now 22) left supportive comments on Siwa’s posts, Siwa sent them gifts (including matching bracelets for all three of them to wear), and Mosca went so far as to include Siwa in a video describing Cyrus “vibe.”

The girls all followed each other on multiple platforms but did not make content together due to location differences. (Mosca and Cyrus lived together in Florida, Siwa is based in Los Angeles.) Although Mosca appeared to be amicable with Siwa, Cyrus engaged with her content significantly more, leaving comments more frequently and name dropping Siwa in videos on occasion.

In early August of 2022, Siwa revealed she and former girlfriend 19-year-old Kylie Prew had broken up for the second time in June or July of 2022 (exact date not confirmed), having previously dated in early 2021 before breaking up the first time. On August 4, Mosca and Cyrus posted separately on Instagram that they had broken up after two years of dating.

On August 8, Siwa and Cyrus posted a mukbang together on Cyrus’ Tiktok. Viewers noticed Siwa appeared to have blue frosting on her cheek after Cyrus ate a donut with blue frosting, fueling speculation the two had become romantically involved.

On August 24, they attended a fan’s birthday party in a Chuck E. Cheese. Cyrus also was Siwa plus-one to a family wedding in Iowa. A video was obtained of them kissing at the airport and viewers quickly realized the nature of the relationship. Soon after, on September 12, Siwa and Cyrus posted a video of them kissing in a Chuck E. Cheese photobooth (on a separate visit than the birthday party), confirming the two were romantically involved.

On September 19, Siwa, Cyrus, and Mosca attended an event for WLW influencers dubbed “Leztopia.” Cyrus and Siwa arrived together, and Mosca attended with Alissa Butt, another gay influencer. Cyrus and Siwa were criticized for seemingly photobombing a picture of Mosca and Butt cuddling on a couch. Cyrus and Siwa were also heavily criticized for posting a TikTok with creator Isabella Avila, better known as OnlyJayus, who has previously come under fire for insensitive racial comments and calling other creators slurs.

This breakup has affected Siwa’s popularity.

Since Mosca confirmed the close turnaround time from her break up with Cyrus to Cyrus beginning to post with Siwa, viewers have been leaving “Team Soph” comments under both Siwa and Cyrus’ videos.

Numerous creators have made response videos, with the bulk of the criticism revolving around Siwa and Cyrus’ “childlike” behavior. Cyrus first gained an audience for posting suggestive content, and Siwa has publicly spoken about wishing to project a more mature image since becoming a legal adult.

The Chuck E. Cheese dates (with children visible in the backgrounds), the trips to Disney, and Siwa’s defense she has “always acted like a giant toddler” have left some former fans feeling uncomfortable.

“I used to be a big fan of JoJo, but she did my girl Soph dirty,” says Greta Saxe, a senior from South Hadley, Mass., a longtime fan of Siwa. “Avery Cyrus is making a lot of money acting like a toddler. It’s weird. There’s a definite change since she started dating JoJo compared to when she dated Soph.”

Siwa and Cyrus, like most online creators, rely on a strong para-social relationship with fans to fuel engagement. Since coming out, Siwa had gained an audience of viewers closer to her age an addition to her massive child audience. It seems as if in an effort to broadcast her life, Siwa may have forgotten some of her newer fans possess critical thinking skills and experiencing dating and perhaps having their own hearts broken. Siwa has no incentive not to stop posting her and Cyrus together; negative comments only further fuel the TikTok algorithms. This is simply how social media operates: any publicity is profitable publicity.