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Main Character of the Week: Mom who filmed herself baking and set off a firestorm 

This one tests the limits of that old adage “there are two sides to every story.”

 

Ramon Ramirez

Trending

Main Character of the Week is a weekly column that tells you the most prominent “main character” online (good or bad). It runs on Fridays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.


The internet is a stage, and someone unwillingly stumbles onto it weekly. This makes them the “main character” online. Sometimes their story is heartwarming, like Jenny Nicholson’s; usually it’s a gaffe. In any case, that main character energy flows through the news cycle and turbo-charges debate for several business days.

Here’s the 
Trending team’s main character of the week.

It’s the mom who filmed herself baking… and then unexpectedly caused an Internet firestorm about ex-partnersliesScientologychildren, and birthday cupcakes.

This one tests the limits of that old adage “there are two sides to every story.” Here, I don’t think the truth is subjective because it sure seems like one person is lying through their teeth. But as it stands, no one quite knows who to believe. Here’s the deal.

The mom in question posted a TikTok showing her baking birthday cupcakes for herself. People do that nowadays. They film their individual activities and share it as public content whether it be working out or playing video games. If they go to the deli they film themselves walking to a deli with a caption that reads like “come with me to the deli” and then they narrate the details. It’s of course shocking behavior that has been normalized in the era of filming personal B-roll so that you can post inspiring captions on top of it and make a point about society.

Anyway, her point was odd and it went viral because it was a little suspect–being a single mom means baking your own birthday dessert just so that your kids can watch you blow out the candles and delight in that universal gesture. Sure. Here’s where it gets weird.

The ex-husband made his own TikTok in response and said hey this woman is a deadbeat who owes $20,000 in child support and I have sole custody of our children and she goes out all the time and is not a very attentive parent.

We call this phenomenon a “milkshake duck” situation where a viral and sympathetic person quickly becomes revealed as a problematic opportunist by someone from their past who comes forward.

But during Memorial Day weekend, she accused him of being an abusive Scientologist who caused her to have a mental breakdown. In both videos, the man and woman shared photographs of court documents. But while it’s clear that this was a contentious separation, two probable dynamics forced viewers to choose sides based on who they think was being most not only truthful (every accusation levied by both parties may well have occurred) but had a perspective that was most in touch with reality.

And we have strongly differing perceptions: This is either an infamous church and/or its disciples once again imposing its will on an outsider and subjugating their agency, or this was another attention-seeking creator who was and is bending over backward for validation in an effort to gain likes.

“Your past does not define you,” she said in a recent TikTok, where she credits “getting the help that I needed” with turning the page on her life and moving on (as she cleans the kitchen). “Your mistakes are not who you are.”

It’s one of 11 TikToks she’s posted in the past weeks to her now 276,300 followers. Many of them show her children and show her in idyllic mom mode, packing school lunches. In one of said posts, she said she was “terrified for her life” and was done posting. 

“For my babies & their safety I will say nothing” she wrote on her TikTok bio, referring to the safety of her children.

In an email to Daily Dot reporter Charlotte Columbo, Elizabeth claims she just “wants this to stop.”

“He has done this to me for so long and all I care about is my children,” she wrote. “I don’t want him getting hate either because that is not what my page has ever been about. But I don’t deserve what he has been posting. I’m just a mom who posts on TikTok for fun. And what he did isn’t OK.”

Her ex-husband has deleted the TikTok profile that he made, @inventingelizabeth. I’d love your read on whom you’re inclined to believe and why. I’m ramon@dailydot.com.


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