Lil Tay’s former manager declared he doesn’t believe her Instagram was hacked – hours before her following on the platform shot up by 300,000.
The rapper and influencer, 14, was reported dead on Wednesday (09.08.23) when a post on her feed said she had passed away, but her ex-manager Harry Tsang, 32, has since spoken out to brand the post a “fake” stunt.
He told the New York Post after Lil Tay confirmed on Thursday (10.08.23) she was alive and said she had been left “heartbroken” by the death message: “I think it was fake. I don’t believe anything that they say about the hacking.”
But he added: “I’m glad that she’s OK.”
His comments came just before it emerged Lil Tay’s Instagram followers soared by 300,000, prompting accusations online from critics the message about her death was a publicity stunt to mark her comeback after she had stepped out of the limelight.
Lil Tay told TMZ on Thursday about how the message she had passed was the result of her feed being hacked: “I want to make it clear that my brother and I are safe and alive, but I’m completely heartbroken and struggling to even find the right words to say.
“It’s been a very traumatising 24 hours. All day yesterday, I was bombarded with endless heartbreaking and tearful phone calls from loved ones all while trying to sort out this mess.
“My Instagram account was compromised by a third party and used to spread jarring misinformation and rumours regarding me, to the point that even my name was wrong. My legal name is Tay Tian, not ‘Claire Hope’.”
The statement announcing the young star’s “unexpected” death – and that of her brother Jason Tian’s – was shared on her official Instagram page Wednesday morning.
Apparently posted by an anonymous family member, it said: “We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribably pain. This outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock.
“Her bother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief. During this time of immense sorrow, we kindly ask for privacy as we grieve this overwhelming loss, as the circumstances surrounding Claire and her brother’s passing are still under investigation.
“Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her.”
Lil Tay hadn’t been active online since 2018, around the time she was caught in the middle of a nasty custody battle between her parents, Angela Tian and Christopher Hope.
The Canadian-born influencer moved to Los Angeles where she built an online following from the age of nine.
Her videos showed her swearing and insulting strangers, with her clips featuring words such as n****, p****, and c***.
She rapidly racked up more than 3.3 million followers on Instagram and was being tipped to become one of the web’s biggest stars.
In May 2018, it was claimed she was being exploited by her older brother Jason after a series of videos came out that showed him coaching her on what to say in her controversial posts and clips.