Last week musician Timothy Heller posted a tweet in which she accused pop star Melanie Martinez of rape.
Heller shared a series of notes in which she detailed what she said was an abusive relationship with Martinez that began at an unspecified date, which was later clarified as June 2015.
Heller said that during a sleepover Martinez asked her about her sexual orientation, then asked her to have sex. Heller says she refused. She says this continued the next night and moved to molestation and then rape.
Martinez has denied the allegations. In a series of tweets, Martinez said Heller "never said no to what we did together," and thanked her fans for taking the time to "question the story being told, which reveal her false statements."
BuzzFeed News reached out to Heller following her tweets. In an email to BuzzFeed News, she talked about what happened when she made the allegations on Twitter.
She said she had been considering speaking out for some time. "This incident has been bothering me for a while now," she said. "I've been going over it in therapy for a while now and was trying to really uncover what about it was bothering me so much. I started realizing the severity of the situation, and being someone who considers themselves a mental illness advocate I felt like I couldn't keep quiet about this any longer, and that people deserved to know what really happened."
Heller said she was aware of what the reaction would be like, and understood how Martinez's fanbase would react. "I prepared myself for the reaction that I have been getting," she said. "I knew what her fanbase is like, and I knew that it was going to be hard to swallow for a lot of the children looking up to her. I knew there would be those in denial, and angry at me for tarnishing the reputation of someone they look up to."
Heller's initial tweet certainly provoked a reaction. Since being posted it has been retweeted over 100,000 times and received 11,000 comments. Reaction from fans and people on social media was mixed.
BuzzFeed News reached out to a number of people in Martinez's fanbase who, for various reasons, either expressed support or refused to continue supporting Martinez. Kennedy Boyce, a 14-year-old Martinez fan from Detroit, was one of a number of Martinez fans who spoke out in support of Heller following the allegations.
Like many other fans, Boyce destroyed some of her Martinez merchandise on social media.
But others were less sympathetic to Heller's story.
"After a couple hours of reading the story over and over, and waiting for more information, I noticed a lot of faults and holes," said Lorhena Valerio-Lopez, a 20-year-old from New York.
Like many Martinez supporters, Valerio-Lopez believes in theories that claim Heller's story does not match up to the evidence on social media.
She feels as though the story could be a play by the music industry to create buzz around Martinez and Heller: "The industry has been known to do many sketchy things. A lot of people claim only Timothy had a lot to gain from this, but Martinez does too, as ridiculous as that may be. Because of this situation, both Heller and Martinez have Lost many following and gained many as well. Both have an album or EP on the way."
Her distrust of the story reflects the feelings of many people on social media. After Heller posted the tweets, she was met with abuse, with Martinez supporters rallying against her.
Fans of Martinez tried to disprove what Heller was saying and tweeted abuse at her.
In response to fans' allegations that Heller's recollection of dates does not match up with her social media posts, she said, "I'm a human, it was 2 years ago, and it was a traumatic event. I may have gotten the date wrong but it doesn't mean it didn't happen. If it hadn't happened she would have stated that. I don't know, it's frustrating to feel like I need to prove myself to people who clearly have no sympathy for victims."
Heller said the only time she has heard from Martinez since the allegations is through Twitter.
"Melanie has not contacted me directly, just released 2 statements now on Twitter," she said. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who support me and are messaging me thanking me for speaking up about this because they've been through something similar. That's why I did this."
"After her first reply I just was given a sense of insincerity," she said.
"The second statement is what really hurt me. Seeing her thank her fans for completely terrorizing and victim blaming me really stung. But in thanking her fans for dissecting my timeline, she implied that the whole thing was now a lie."
Despite initially struggling with the alleged abuse, Heller said she does not regret speaking out.
"I do not want to be silenced about this," she said. "I think I've done all I can in trying to defend myself, and its just getting exhausting for me at this point, so I am going to try and step back from that and realize that there are going to be some people who are just never going to accept what I have to say. But I will never stop speaking up for people who have been abused and felt like they had no voice. I am going to continue to advocate for those with mental illness and abuse survivors as much as I can!"
And her thoughts on Martinez? "I don't have much of an opinion on what happens to her."
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at email@example.com.
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