The Fuckbois of Vine

by Helen Holmes

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Maggie Lindemann and Carter Reynolds have had a rough relationship. Unlike most teenagers though, they’re partners and social media stars. Lindemann is a musician and an undeniable beauty — visit her website or her Instagram page, and you’ll find portraits drawn by her numerous and adoring fans that lovingly depict her generous brown hair and elegantly angled eyebrows — while Reynolds, one of the several young men who comprise the Magcon tribe of miniature filmmakers, is a Vine idol with 4.3 million followers.

The two have broken up and gotten back together at least twice. Their most recent rupture occurred at the end of May, according to the troopers behind “Lindemann initiated the breakup after Reynolds yelled at her over the phone. But the Magcon alum insists he had a right to be upset that she had followed an ex-boyfriend on Twitter. And Reynolds maintains that he was ‘rude’ to Lindemann because he was still emotional over the death of his dog Winnie.”

Last month, an explicit video of sixteen-year-old Lindemann and nineteen-year-old Reynolds surfaced on a Mexican blogger’s Tumblr page. In the clip, Reynolds’ requests for oral sex from Lindemann are loud and insistent, despite her repeated assertions that she’s “uncomfortable” with being asked to perform the act on camera. “Oh my gosh, Maggie,” Reynolds replies in an exasperated tone, as if the concept of her refusing him a blowjob while being filmed is incomprehensible.

As the leaked video made the rounds and Reynolds’ fans expressed outrage, he realized quickly that the consequences could spell doom. “Some of you guys have such a HUGE misunderstanding,” he tweeted. “First of all, Maggie and I were dating at the time … it’s not like she was a random girl or a fan. Couples do stuff like that all the time.. and no I’m not saying that it’s the right thing to do but it’s the truth.”

The broken ballad of Maggie and Carter illustrates a larger issue when it comes to reckoning with explosive male Vine fame: the rabid celebrity worship and fandom that teenage girls are so prone to can be legitimately harmful if the celebrities are utter fuckboi assholes. Carter Reynolds, like many of his infernally famous male Vine peers, is a fuckboi down to his marrow.

Just a few days ago, after getting kicked out of VidCon — ComicCon, but for teens and the internet video stars they idolize — Reynolds delivered a heated rant on the live stream video chat service YouNow. In the video, he accused Lindemann of performing oral sex on Hayes Grier (a Vine star recently profiled flatteringly in Buzzfeed) right before she asked Carter to get back together with her.

I hesitated before diving into the minutiae of teenage Vine drama, but the relative dullness of the popular Vine boys doesn’t render the widespread impact of the platform itself less significant. Vine’s peephole-like format means that tween girls (and boys) get to look in on these stars for brief moments, with no context as to their true character or manner of being and no clue as to how they’ll behave when, and if, a camera isn’t trained on them. Tween girls aren’t stupid, but we’re all fools in love, and one could easily see how impressionable brains would be susceptible to high-definition images of cute boys doing cute things, no matter how pointless or idiotic:

But of course, the ardor of teens doesn’t extend solely to idealized romantic partners. If anything, Maggie Lindemann’s story is significant because of how her legions of fans rose up to support her, despite the lengths that Carter went to in his attempts to publicly shame her. When Carter attempted to trend #RespectForCarter in an effort to curry favor, heroic teens used the hashtag to mock Reynolds instead.

But Lindemann, the target of Reynolds’ emotional abuse and attempts at public shaming, has no need for saving. In this instance, at least, it appears that Vine fame may have given Lindemann the space and attention to retaliate against an ex-boyfriend’s attempts to hurt her. “Ya on screen he acts like he loves me and needs me blah blah but in rl he yells at me and threatens me get it thru ur head we are nothing,” she tweeted on July 19th. “Lol hope y’all now see what I’ve known for months now.”

I Heard It Through The Great Vine is an occasional column about Great Vines.