Many social media influencers and internet personalities become famous because they produce entertaining content, have shining personalities, or have shameless ambition. Then there’s nine-year-old Lil Tay (real name Claire Hope), whose claim to fame is speaking like a mobster. Her antics have resulted in her garnering over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 1.9 million followers on Instagram.
In one interview, Lil Tay referred to herself as “the youngest flexer of the century.” In 2021, the young flexer made headlines not for her forays into flexing (i.e., showing off), but due to certain troubles behind her controversial persona. Here are some things that are known about her.
She has a bothersome big brother
Lil Tay shot to fame in the late 2020’s because of her social media antics in which she acts and talks like a gangster. She regularly posted content “flexing” fancy cars, luxury houses, and wads of cash she claimed to own. She also occasionally talked about illegal substances and spewed racial slurs.
Not only that, but she was also seen hanging out with rappers and influencers who are old enough to be her parents. It was eventually revealed, however, via a leaked video posted on Twitter, that there was a puppet master behind the Lil Tay character: her brother Jason. This prompted the social justice warriors online to call for Lil Tay’s freedom, particularly from her brother’s manipulation.
Courts prefer not to separate siblings when issuing a custody order, but Lil Tay’s situation was intriguing: what if a sibling presents endangerment to a child? In any case, their father Chris Hope, who lives in Canada, intervened purportedly to put Lil Tay out of harm’s way.
Lil Tay has big daddy issues
In 2018, Mr. Hope got custody of Lil Tay and took her to live with him and his new wife in Canada. But this wasn’t great news for the little girl.
It’s important to note a few things about Lil Tay’s daddy. When he and Lil Tay’s mother Angela Tian got divorced, they reached an arrangement that their daughter was to spend a week at a time at each parent’s house. It turned out, this arrangement didn’t bode well for Lil Tay as her father was reportedly not a good custodian.
Mr. Hope reportedly brought home his dates to his house even when little Claire (who was 5-6 years old at the time) was around. And while she was in her daddy’s custody, she would appear unwell and unkempt, according to her teachers. Long story short, Lil Tay wasn’t in the best shape whenever she was staying with her father.
Too young to be flexing and getting involved in a legal drama
There were suspicions as to why Mr. Hope decided to take back his daughter despite being an absent father for many years, only reappearing after Lil Tay became a minor celebrity. Jason even posted clips and photos of Mr. Hope on Instagram accusing him of being an abusive father who stole millions of dollars from the child on top of owing her $400,000 in child support payments.
Mr. Hope, who is a lawyer, would know a thing or two about resolving child custody issues and settling disputes regarding child support payments owed. So even if the accusations against Mr. Hope were true, Lil Tay’s brother and mother would have to do better than posting incriminating content on Instagram; they'd have to lawyer up.
It’s crucial to note that Angela was a real estate agent who had access to luxurious houses and allowed Jason to film Lil Tay “flexing” penthouses and convertibles they didn’t own. In fact, she almost got fired for allowing her kids to film in her boss’s luxury car to create content. But she resigned anyway, and it was supposedly because Lil Tay’s online revenue streams were quite lucrative.
The question remains: do Lil Tay’s family have her best interests at heart? Or is she just a cash cow to them? In any event, no child — no matter how Instagram-famous they are — should have to go through what Claire did who should be hanging out with kids at school, not with rappers and shady influencers.
Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams handle cases involving third party custody, establishing child support, and other child custody matters. We’re the team to consult for your family law case in Washington State — call our Renton offices or leave us a message.