- Melissa Lingafelt, a singer who now goes by Jimi Ono, posted a TikTok claiming that she was physically and verbally abused by her former boyfriend, actor Drake Bell, who she dated between 2006 and 2009. She was 16 when they began dating and he was 20.
- After her post went viral, others sent her messages accusing Bell of having sex with minors and claiming to have known about her abuse. One person said Bell raped her when she was in 8th grade.
- Two women who had serious relationships with him also sent her words of support and claimed they experience similar abuse.
- Bell denied Ono’s allegations, adding that he is reviewing his legal option and questioning whether Ono is lying for some other reason because she reached out to him for financial support last year, which he says he gave.
Abuse Allegations Go Viral
Actor Drake Bell is facing some serious abuse allegations from a former girlfriend who shared her alleged experiences with him in a now-viral TikTok.
Bell reported started dating a woman by the name of Melissa Lingafelt in 2006 when she was 16 and he would have been 20. That woman, a musician who now goes by Jimi Ono, first hinted at issues with Bell as part of a recent TikTok trend. Earlier this week, she posted a video featuring the song “Bulletproof” by La Roux with text that read: “Think you can hurt my feelings? I lived with and dated an alcoholic, abusive Drake Bell from 16-19.”
On Wednesday, she expanded on those claims with another post, starting off by saying she doesn’t care if anyone believes her because this is her story.
Then she said: “It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized that abuse is something that all women have to go through. When I started dating Drake, I was 16. I was home-schooled, I moved in with him, I was singing. It wasn’t until about a year when the verbal abuse started. And when I say verbal abuse, imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got. It then turned into physical — hitting, throwing, everything. At the pinnacle of it, he drug me down the stairs of our house in Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this.I don’t event want to get into the underage girls thing. I mean I will, but I’m scared.”
That video quickly spread throughout the app and was shared across other platforms as well. Eventually, Ono posted a statement to her Instagram story, saying that anyone who has been a friend of hers over the last 15 years knows about what she experienced.
She added, “Nobody wants attention from abuse!!!!!!! I hope this gives girls the strength to come out about their experiences with him, because I know for a fact he has hundreds of victims.”
Other Alleged Victims Speak Out
In the hours that followed her initial claims, Ono posted several other TikTok’s with screenshots of texts and direct messages she has received. Some of these posts were also shared on her Twitter and Instagram story.
The first showed someone saying they remember her telling them about the abuse, writing, “I remember the pics. I remember the physical fights. I remember him throwing you in a bathtub and scalding you with water. I remember him breaking all your antiques and I also remember calling the cops on him and having to stay at Molly’s house until shit fizzled over.”
Other posts show responses to her Instagram story, where some accused Bell of sleeping with minors. One individual even claimed that Bell raped her when she was in the 8th grade, while another wrote, “I remember you speaking to my friend on the phone after it happened and you told her he chocked you and spit in your face. That was in 2006.”
On top of that, Ono also shared direct messages from Bell’s ex-girlfriend of five years, Paydin Layne LoPachin. In those messages, LoPachin shared support and said, “I went through the same horrific verbal, physical, and mental abuse.” She also agreed with Ono’s claim that he had sex with “hundreds of underage girls.”
Finally, Ono shared a message from Gillian Leos, who also allegedly had a serious relationship with Bell. In that post, Leos says she dated Bell from 2001-2005/2006. She explained that she wished she had more proof for what she experienced, saying she has some photos but no voicemails or texts because “he broke every phone I had back then.”
“Like you I have many friends & witnesses to attest what he put me through,” she added.
Drake Bell Denies Allegations
Bell, for his part, has denied Ono’s allegations. In a statement to Variety, he said, “I never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her Tik Tok video,”
“As our relationship ended—more than a decade ago—we unfortunately, both called each other terrible names, as often happens when couples are breaking up. But that is it.”
“Clearly, Melissa still felt close enough to me just last year that she was comfortable reaching out to ask me to provide her with financial support during a tough time (which I did). I do not know if today’s behavior is some kind of misguided quest for more money or attention. But I cannot and will not allow these offensive and defamatory allegations to go unchallenged and I am reviewing my legal options.”
He has not addressed any of the other allegations against him.
Ono Clears Up Rumors
Even after Bell’s response, Ono has continued to be vocal about her experience. She’s also been responding to users online in an effort to shut down rumors that she is not the same person shown in the photos that were in the TikTok.
In response to one user, she said, “The photos were taken of me 14 years ago. I had a little lip filler, and that’s that on that.”
She also clarified the name discrepancies people were seeing, saying Mellisa Lingafelt was her legal name. “I actually started going by Melissa Baldwin when dating drake. Baldwin is my mother’s maiden name and I was having problems with family at home.”
“I started going by my nickname, Jimi, (my grandfathers name) after breaking up with drake. I don’t like being called my legal name. I wanted seperaation from that time in my life.”
In other replies, she mentioned that she did go to the police, but did not explain when.
She believes has more underage victims and said she now has other alleged victims who have agreed to stand by her in court.
She hinted at legal action once more writing, “Everyone that has made accusations, including myself, ALL have witness accounts and evidence. Justice will be served!”
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.