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A famous internet 'troll' faces frightening harassment as she's about to give birth

"Snark" communities that congregate around a particular person or celebrity have become increasingly toxic, with one about YouTuber Trisha Paytas causing alarm in the creator community.
Image: Trisha Paytas
Trisha Paytas enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England, on Aug. 1, 2017. Ian West / PA Images/ AP file

Online hate for famous internet troll Trisha Paytas has become a meme over the years. Now her detractors are blurring the line between snark and abuse.

Paytas, a YouTube star who has courted controversy for more than a decade as a vlogger, has been the target of a coordinated harassment campaign whose participants organize on Reddit, where her every move is followed by thousands of people. Members of a Reddit community dedicated to Paytas have posted about her doctors and businesses she frequents, dug into her family members’ personal lives and made posts dedicated to shaming every part of her body. 

It’s a situation that has spiraled in recent months, particularly as Paytas has gotten married and started a family. She is pregnant, with a due date in September, and the extreme scrutiny from her Reddit community has alerted other internet personalities, some of whom see a movement that has moved from typical celebrity gossip into the territory of hatred that's recently been directed toward many women online.

“It’s not snark, it’s just dumb and mean,” said Molly McAleer, who hosts the internet podcast “Trend Lightly” and co-founded HelloGiggles, an entertainment and lifestyle website. “There’s nothing smart or interesting about the way they discuss her.”

Celebrity culture on the internet can be particularly fervent. “Stan” culture includes fanbases ready to defend their favorite celebrities, while what are now commonly known as “snark” communities are dedicated to hating particular celebrities and can be just as aggressive. 

And just like stan communities, snark communities can be broad and discuss entire genres of influencers, such as family channels and beauty gurus, in which case conversation can be more nuanced, newsy and speculative. But more specific or targeted snark communities, such as the one that centers on Paytas, can often turn hateful. 

On Reddit, 42,000 people have joined “Trishyland,” the snark subreddit (a term for a community within Reddit) dedicated to Paytas. Paytas, 34, has close to 5 million subscribers on YouTube. Users often discuss Paytas but also their own reasons for being part of the community.

“She’s my guilty pleasure. Real life Truman show at this point. I want to see the aftermath, the divorce, the fall, etc,” one commentator on a recent post said.

That community, however, has also featured calls for people to take real-world action.

An Instagram account that one member believed to be affiliated with Paytas’ fertility clinic was posted on Trishyland with the direction to “introduce ourselves to the staff.” It's not clear if anyone followed that suggestion.

When Paytas went on her honeymoon in Hawaii, a post asked subreddit members to tweet at her hotel and “advise them of this PR nightmare.” Multiple posts have coordinated efforts to spam Paytas’ chats during her YouTube livestreams with messages containing “all the hateful things she has done.” It’s unclear how many Trishyland members followed through with these directives.

Members have stated their intentions to call child protective services on Paytas once she gives birth. One member ran Paytas and her husband through an online background check service and posted the results on the subreddit.

Those posts appear to violate some of Reddit’s rules against bullying and harassment in which “remember the human” is Rule 1. 

Reddit said it was “closely reviewing” the subreddit in regard to its policies.

Paytas is one of YouTube’s longtime characters. She started her career as an aspiring actor in Hollywood but found her calling in vlogging every aspect of her life and often courting controversy with offensive and outrageous statements. YouTube videos like “Trisha Paytas Saying The N Word And Being Racist For A Minute Straight” have millions of views. 

Paige Christie, a YouTube video essayist who has discussed Paytas in dozens of videos, described Paytas in a phone interview as a “huge troll” who has “upset a lot of people.” A troll is someone who posts offensive content online to bait people into responding, like the classic fairy tale troll who lures passersby under its bridge. 

Those efforts have proved lucrative for Paytas. Paytas told Insider in 2019 her career was fueled by a “constant need for attention.” She told BuzzfFeed News in 2021 that she made $800,000 a month. One of her most lucrative endeavors today is her OnlyFans account, which costs $20 a month and ranks among the platform’s most popular. It is also called Trishyland. 

Paytas did not respond to a request for comment.

And while Paytas has spent her career profiting from negative attention, the online vitriol has shifted into more disturbing territory since her falling out with another popular YouTube creator.

The Trishyland subreddit was created less than a year ago, in October 2021, after Paytas’ dramatic exit from the popular YouTube podcast “Frenemies” she co-hosted with Ethan Klein, who has more than 6 million subscribers on the platform. Since then, Trishyland has grown quickly, more than doubling its membership since Paytas announced she was pregnant.

“I’ve never seen anyone so dedicated to someone else’s unhappiness,” Christie, who has also been attacked by members of the Trishyland subreddit, said. “They want to destroy every happy moment in her life.”

McAleer said that the Trishyland subreddit joins a growing list of snark subreddits that are dedicated to one person, usually a female TikToker or influencer — some with fewer than 100,000 followers. These newer snark communities are less about accountability and more about bullying, often over their target’s appearance, McAleer said.

“It’s just a nightmare,” she said. “These people have swarmed certain people, ladies who do makeup in the middle of the country.”

The Trishyland community shows no signs of slowing down for the birth of Paytas’ child. If anything, members have expressed excitement for new material from Paytas’ journey into motherhood, much of which will surely be chronicled online.

“As long as she’s creating I’ll be there, hating,” one commentator on a recent post said.