I haven’t even been 18 a whole week yet but the decisions I’ve had to make as a new adult are challenging me in ways that make me wish I could jsut go back to being a kid.
If you’re here, you probably know about my situation. I’m going to assume that you already know that for the last almost eight months I’ve been fighting a very public battle that involves topics I didn’t know much about until recently: [Trigger warning] — sexual assault, boundaries, consent. For eight long grueling months I’ve been fighting to save friendships, to save business relationships, to save my own mental health. Up until this week, I was so proud of the progress I made, like being on my phone less and learning to surf and cook with friends, and value things that really matter.
Four days after turning 18, my former friend Jack Wright — the one I’ve been tangled with in a toxic web of accusations and internet “tea” — posted a 17-minute video about me. Yesterday, five days past turning 18, I had to say “okay” to a media statement written by my publicists in response to that video. Shortly after that, my legal team sent his legal team a letter threatening a lawsuit for defaming my character because that “is the best next step to clear your name.” I’m sure it’s all hitting the media now.
I'VE NEVER BEEN SO SCARED IN MY LIFE
I thought turning 18 would be amazing and so far it honestly just sucks.
I have three choices that I can see: 1) go read the millionth “I hope you kill yourself” message in my DMs 2) let my well-meaning parents and team dictate next steps and tie us up for what could be years in a legal battle with people who I once considered my closest friends or 3) write down everything from my heart and use my newfound adult status to take accountability and share the whole truth with anyone who will listen.
To be honest, it’s hard not to choose number one and to actually follow it through. I told my parents last night that I just want to die. I’m so tired of fighting. I’m so tired of seeing the hate and people taking sides. My heart hurts for my friends, my family and people I associate with who are getting bullied on their own social media accounts just because they know me. So I’m going to choose number three for the sake of the people I love. I’m just going to get real and bare my soul and have faith and trust that I will land where I’m meant to be.
THE BEGINNING OF "JACK AND SIENNA"
When I was just 16 years old, one of my TikTok videos went viral on social media, then another, then another. I asked my hometown friends James Wright to do my first big interview with me in Los Angeles. He was out of town so he asked his twin brother Jack to go with me. I was friends with Jack but knew James better–both of them had blown up on TikTok a few months earlier than me. From that day on, my life would never be the same.
Jack introduced me to people in LA, to new friends that I had been watching online for months, to a new fast-paced lifestyle that was so different than the one we lived in our small town. We instantly connected. He was my person. We got each other safely home after parties. We had each other’s backs. People noticed a spark between us and our videos together went viral. Suddenly, we were America’s favorite teenage “ship” and it all happened so fast that neither one of us really knew what it meant.
We were thrown into a crazy, exciting relationship because the public demanded it. We couldn’t make enough content together. If we went just a few days without the other in our videos, the press would run stories like, “Did Jack and Sienna break up?” and people would comment things like, “If they don’t get married I don’t believe in love.” Major companies were reaching out with brand deals for us and Jack even switched agents to make it easier for work opportunities. Somewhere along the way, and in a very confusing state of not knowing what was fake and what was real, I started to fall in love with him.
In December 2020 after four incredible months of TikTok fame, more fun than I’ve ever had, and what seemed like the perfect life, I got a call from the producers of the Hype House show asking me to be one of the featured influencers headlining the series. They also told me they didn’t plan to have Jack in a lead role. To me, that felt wrong. He was the one who introduced me to all those people and I wasn’t even an official member of the Hype House (Thomas Petrou asked me to join but my parents said no). So I decided to be on the show but only if Jack was in a lead role too. They agreed.
From February through April 2021, we filmed for the show. They filmed us both in our hometown. They filmed scenes with our family and friends at my house and at his. They even filmed us in Hawaii!
While a lot of it was fun, what wasn’t fun is that producers and other Hype House members kept pressing us to define what we were. Two 17-year olds being pressured again and again to answer questions like, “Are you more than friends?” and “What do you love most about him/her?” It was so confusing and emotional as we both started to realize that uncovering the “truth” behind our relationship — which we agreed not to put a label on — was a major storyline on the show. The more they pressed me on camera, the more emotional I got because I wasn’t sure if we were friends or more. We would agree to be just friends and then he would gift me expensive or even matching jewelry or plan elaborate outings. We would talk in a quiet place and say we were just friends and then the next day be making out with each other for the cameras. I didn’t know what was being set up by producers and if it was real or fake. I told him I loved him and he said he loved me too. I would ask if he wanted to be more than friends and he would say, “not yet.” Rejection isn’t comfortable, but it’s honest. The show had to go on so I kind of just went with it.
HAWAII & "THE VIDEO"
In May, we took another trip to Hawaii. Though Hype House filming had wrapped, at this point, the internet was going crazy for our content, especially since we hadn’t posted a lot during filming because it had to be exclusive to the show. We both felt pressure. I wasn’t originally supposed to be on this trip but to be clear, he said I could come a few days before going. Looking back now, I see that it was to make content. Something on this trip was different. Everywhere we went he introduced me as his “girl” but then take pictures and blatantly flirt with other people. I was jealous, but more than that I was confused — why was I here? Why was he introducing me as his counterpart, telling me to wait patiently to be together, if he didn’t really want any of it?
And then — without producers and cameras around for the first time in months — it really hit me. He liked me when he needed me for a video or for work, but he didn’t like me otherwise. I asked him to make a video with me explaining to our fans that we were truly just friends. I told him that if he didn’t have real feelings for me, I wanted to set the record straight publicly about our relationship (as explained and shown in my response video from last year). He told me we had brand partnerships riding on our fake one, and that it wasn’t fair to him. I couldn’t believe that someone who I had created with, laughed with, and cried with could so easily disregard my feelings for the sake of money. He apologized and I appreciated that, but I needed time away from him and our public persona to think and heal.
So I went home and took time away from him and his family. I received multiple texts from James, Jack’s twin, asking why I wasn’t responding to them. Two weeks later, they started posting Instagram stories targeted at me. One day later, their friend Mason put up a tweet implying that I physically and mentally abused Jack. A few days after that their friend Lachlan released a video taken from a November 2020 party showing Jack and me kissing. He narrated the whole thing to make it look like it was something it wasn’t. To be clear, James took the video as a joke on his Snapchat seven months earlier and they decided to resurface it. I would like to think that neither Mason nor James realized the impact that their tweets and the taken-out-of-context-video would have. Though they took it all down, it really didn’t matter. The damage had been done.
My character became a topic of public opinion. I lost friends. I lost brand deals. My reputation was damaged. I went from being one of the most loved girls on the internet to one of the most hated. I went quiet. I lost my will to live and had to be saved.
I spent months healing and getting better. My team asked Hype House producers to remove me from the show so that I did not have to re-live the online bullying in light of the crazy “Team Jack” and “Team Sienna” sentiment online as they knew people would pick apart every interaction between us. Netflix also did not want to be liable for my mental health. That’s why I wasn’t in the show. That’s why producers had to figure out what to fill without months of Jack and Sienna footage. I’m sure the Hype House members are mad at me; I would probably be mad at me too. I’m sorry, especially to the cast and crew who worked so hard on this show.
JACK: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Jack: Setting the record straight
I’ve had three relationships in my life. My first boyfriend was so sweet to me and although I was just turning 14 when I started dating him, he was supportive, and caring and communicated his feelings, like how he preferred my time over public affection. In his YouTube video, Jack brought this relationship up, even though it happened four years ago. Did I kiss another guy? Yes, I did — a day after we broke up. And I’m still friends with both he and my ex (and they are friends with each other). It happened when we were 14/15 years old and we got over it because that’s what people do. My next boyfriend is one of the funniest and big-hearted people I know. I hung out with him and his family just a few weeks ago and the reason we broke up after almost a year together was because he didn’t like me being on social media; we decided to just be friends exactly one week after my first video went viral. This whole thing with Jack is breaking his heart because he knows the real me, not just some version of me. It’s ironic now that his fear of social media and online fame and what that might do to me is the reason we broke up.
And then came Jack. I was really grateful to know someone already in the social media world and we had so much fun together. But as someone I loved and still love, I’m devastated that he made me sound crazy and twisted so many things out of context in his most recent video, to the point of literally painting me into the “loud”, “crazy”, “overly sexualized”stereotype that people try to use on young, especially Latina, women. It sucks and I’m still unpacking that. But all I can own are my words and I want to clear a few things up:
>>>I never broke into Jack’s house. Did I know the code to his garage door? Yes, because he gave it to me. One of the first scenes we filmed for the Hype House show was me walking into his house and jokingly saying, “I’m home!” because that’s what EVERYONE does at the Wright’s house. It’s the hangout house. When Jack and James lived there, there was always friends around, even sometimes until 2 a.m.
>>> Jack said he used to see my car at 2 a.m. in front of his house but failed to mention that most times there would be other friends there too. I never stalked him. I never sat outside his house in the middle of the night. Over the past week, some of our mutual hometown friends have reached out. Like me, they aren’t sure how to process some of what Jack is saying and are just as confused as I am.
>>> All Jack and I ever did was kiss. I have never seen, felt or touched him naked. We spent several nights at the Hype House together but I never grabbed him asleep or awake. Yet I’m still being called a “rapist” across the internet by those who don’t understand the meaning of the word.
There is a counterpoint for every point Jack made in his video. But I’m not going to do that. Did I do some things wrong and sloppy as a 16/17 year old girl who felt love for a guy? Yes, for sure. I admit to stepping out of a car, stopped at a stop sign, last New Year’s after we publicly fought. There was alcohol involved and I’m definitely not proud of my behavior. After we kissed at Midnight he went and flirted with other people — at least that’s how I saw it. I got jealous. It was stupid and I’m so ashamed.
But that said, he did some stupid stuff too. Like chasing after a car full of guys trying to start a fight with them because they cat-called me on the street. Or locking our mutual friend out of his rental house in Hawaii because he was “flirting” with me. I don’t know, chalk it up to being young and the fact that our brains aren’t even fully developed yet. Teenagers do stupid things.
I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish we had laid out boundaries that made sense to us both, that protected both of us from feeling vulnerable or misled. I don’t know a lot of other people who at 17 know how to do that with their partners, but I would’ve liked to have tried. I wish I knew that every time he did something nice for me didn’t necessarily mean that he wanted to be my real-life boyfriend and not just my internet boyfriend. I wish we knew, together, how toxic the relationship had become before it spun out the way it did.Looking back, there are definitely some things I would do differently:
[TW: Sexual assault] My first set of YouTube videos
Shortly after the first allegations came out last June, I made two videos (both are still on my YouTube, which I wish I could take back). I’m not proud of how I responded and want to apologize to sexual assault survivors who I offended with my ignorance in responding to these false allegations. They were made hastily and without oversight from anyone but my brother and me. I have since learned a lot about sexual assault and the psychological trauma responses victims of sexual assault may develop as a result of abuse. I learned what Stockholm syndrome and trauma bonds are and am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so that I can be a better ally to victims of sexual assault.
Understanding love languages
When Jack and I fought, I tried to fix it with love and affection. Growing up, I was taught to be communicative and treat each other with love. For me, that means hugs and physical affection, which means yes, I would wrap my arms around Jack to hug him when I was feeling insecure or when he was. I also tried to verbally express my feelings for him because that’s what I like in relationships. We would joke about it all the time and even made TikToks about it because to both of us, at least at the time, it was funny. Looking back, I see that I should have met him at his love language vs. mine and I’m sorry for that because I think it meant we blurred boundaries that should’ve been stronger. My only intention was to love him and tell him that he mattered. It’s a mistake I’ll never make again.
The importance of consent
Consent isn’t really something that is formally taught in school. My parents have been married for 23 years and I grew up watching them freely express affection to each other. I understand now not everyone has this comfortability with affection. I understand now that when you’re in a relationship, there needs to be a very open and honest conversation about consent even before sexual acts, even if it’s holding hands, hugging and being affectionate in a friendly manner. The last thing I would ever want to do is breach someone’s boundaries and for that I have become explicitly aware of the way I interact with others and will do better.Jack, if you are reading this: I apologize if there were times that I made you feel uncomfortable. I am sorry if anything I ever did triggered other things you have experienced or any feelings of discomfort. But anything I did, I did unknowingly, as our physical relationship on camera was one of closeness and familiarity that I had known to carry into our “real” lives. That said, there is a distinct line between that and sexual assault. I’m so sad that this is where we ended up, and even more so that I’m now being used in a new and even more hurtful way.
I AM GROWING
When I was growing up I wished every day to become “famous” — probably like a lot of kids. It sounds so dumb but I think I kind of willed myself to where I am now.
At first, it was amazing. Right now, not so much.
I’m having obsessive thoughts about what it would be like to be back at my old high school, choreographing routines for my Varsity dance team and waiting for my college acceptance letters. About not having to wear sunglasses and a hat in the Starbucks drive through line at night because I don’t want the person giving me my drink to spit in it because he thinks I’m an abuser. About not worrying that I’m saying the wrong thing or making a wrong move. If I was a normal girl at a normal school, I would be worried about high school drama rather than trying to wrap my head around how my decisions in response to these serious allegations will have life-changing repercussions on me, my family, and people I still care about despite putting whatever hurts we harbor toward each other online for the world to dissect and comment on.
Honestly, I just wish I had a little more time to be normal.
I want this madness to end. I want people to think before they comment unnecessary, hateful things on my socials, on my friends’ socials and on Jack’s socials. I’m tired of seeing people that I don’t know (from my hometown or otherwise) jump on the hate train and make up lies. I’m confused that people say “arrest her” when there has been no involvement by police, no investigations, and no legal action other than mine since this all began. I’m tired of living in a space of sadness because I still don’t know how exactly one of my best friends turned into someone I will forever be negatively linked with. For many, this is TikTok drama and “tea”. But for me, this is my life.
To my community of supporters, I so appreciate your kind words in the midst of what has been a very dark time for me. Thank you for showing me love, despite my flaws and mistakes. I recently saw this quote: “To make mistakes or be wrong is human. To admit those mistakes shows you have the ability to learn, and are growing wiser.” As I enter the second week of my 18th year, I’ll let that be my guide.
After eight months of feeling muzzled and controlled by lawyers, agents, publicists and parents, it feels good to speak my truth and share more than I probably should. I’m sure I’ll experience some backlash, but as a just-turned 18-year old, it’s all mine to bear now.