Social media users love to upload posts in which they feel they are objectively in the right and would like public affirmation (see: Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass tweeting earlier this week that a flight attendant asked his pregnant wife to pick up the popcorn mess his kids made on a plane, only to face a backlash). This is the headspace Kylie Allen, a cake decorator from West Virginia, seemed to be occupying when she uploaded a TikTok about one of the “worst client experiences [she’s] ever had.”
In the video, she says the customer ordered an eight-inch, six-layer rainbow cake with vanilla buttercream and the words, “Happy Birthday Trilby.” According to Insider, the customer paid $83.97. Allen said the customer was upset about the cake because it had rainbow sprinkles and she seemed to assume it wouldn’t have any, and when Allen tried to talk with them, the customer became “super defensive and very rude about the price of the cake.” Allen also said the customer “bashed us on her Facebook page.”
The video since gained more than 5.4 million views, owing to the fact that many viewers agreed with the customer: the product did not justify its price tag. And thus was born the TikTok drama du jour. The creator turned off the comments to their video, but that didn’t stop a firestorm of reaction videos and comments on TikTok, including several from TikTok cake decorators who showed off how they would make the same cake.
The customer was soon revealed to be a woman by the name of Ashleigh Freeman, who uploaded her own TikToks to tell her side of the story. The first was a slideshow of the cake with audio of a recorder struggling to play “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (a commonly used sound for videos displaying things that are underwhelming). The second TikTok was a duet of Allen’s video with text that reads, “I’m an idiot. I didn’t want to ruin her business, tried to squash the beef, and she said no. She wants to be TikTok famous, not a bad idea. But I can actually make decent content.” This video also features screenshots of their heated exchange on Facebook Messenger.
The third was a video responding to a comment that asked, “Girl, why did you not make your own cake? Coulda saved $83 and a headache.” So Freeman did. The result was, well, arguably superior.
Other cake-decorating creators joined in to comment on the drama. @Trashyqweenz, a TikToker with close to a million followers who is known for his sassy voiceovers, chimed in and uploaded a video of how he would have made the cake differently. A few other creators uploaded videos reacting to videos that Allen uploaded in the past of cakes she’s decorated.
The page for Kylie’s Kakes on Google was flooded with fake reviews, more than 20 one-star reviews within the past 24 hours. Some had comments like “rude and unprofessional,” while others had no comment at all. This is a common occurrence for business owners whose products are criticized on social media.
Allen pushed back against the skeptics who claimed that she had used stock images of cakes to promote her own creations. The West Virginian baker uploaded a video on Monday (with comments disabled) and addressed the controversy. “I’m not offended by your guys’ comments because, I mean, look at some of you,” Allen said in the TikTok. “It’s pointless, your time and effort.” She addressed the allegations that she uses other people’s cake photos and said they are for the cake-decorating classes she teaches.
Now, Allen is trying to push past the drama and “spread positivity” in a new video she posted today promoting a new product: rainbow sprinkle cupcakes.
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