In 2018, a 9-year-old Canadian became an internet sensation for posting provocative and controversial videos on Instagram. Lil Tay (real name Claire Eileen Qi Hope) displayed a lavish lifestyle, complete with luxury cars, stacks of 100-dollar bills, and a toilet that ‘costs more than your rent.’

Tay described herself as ‘the youngest flexer of the century.’ With seemingly no impassable boundaries, Lil Tay used racial slurs, and expressed no remorse when confronted. ‘I’m out here flexing on y’all broke-ass haters,’ Tay would say. Tay’s controversial nature earned her millions of followers, but in the summer of 2018, she disappeared from the internet.

More than two years later, Lil Tay is back in the headlines, but fans are worried that something is wrong with her. Read on to find out about Tay’s cryptic Instagram message and why she left the internet.

Lil Tay’s brother claims that his father is abusing Lil Tay and that she needs help

The description on Lil Tay’s Instagram page currently reads: “Lil Tay’s father has stolen all of her money, she is in court, he and his wife have physically and mentally abused my sister.”

The big announcement teased on Lil Tay’s page is finally out, and the news is troubling. The first photo in Lil Tay’s Instagram Stories shows her crying and the second is a collage of bruises showing the alleged abuse. “You are Lil Tay’s final hope,” the caption says.

A Go Fund Me account has been created to ‘Save Tay from a Life of Abuse.’ The page’s description claims that Lil Tay is fighting for her ‘life, future and freedom.’ It goes on to detail various instances of Tay’s alleged abuse at the hands of her father. The instances include sexual abuse, mistreatment, and starvation. One of the many allegations reads:

“Chris Hope and Hanee Hope (aka Richanee Vega Alcover) went out for dinner very frequently and they would lock Tay in a dark closet every time they went out. They went to concerts and also threw big parties hosting 50-200 people, instead of bringing Tay they locked her in the closet. If it was a long duration they would get Hanee Hope’s sister Cheska Alcover to come over and check up on Tay every few hours while she was in the closet.”

The allegations are harrowing, and if true, Tay really needs help. The funds “raised through this GoFundMe will go towards Tay’s legal fees to give her a fighting chance in court to save her from a life of abuse… Towards her future, and freedom.”

Fans are concerned that Lil Tay is in trouble after she posted a message claiming that there’s bad news about Tay

The last post on Lil Tay’s Instagram came shortly after the death of rapper XXXTentacion, who was a friend of the controversial star. “X you truly changed me,” Tay wrote alongside Instagram photos celebrating the late rapper. You were there for me when everyone wanted me to fail, you were there to give me advice, you were there.”

Nearly three years later, Tay (or someone running her Instagram account) has returned to Instagram. Unfortunately, the signs appear ominous for the young rapper. The message “we have bad news about tay…” recently appeared on her Instagram stories, leaving fans worried that Tay is in trouble. 

Later, another message appeared reading: “Tomorrow 6.00pm est.” Fans suspect that some sought of announcement will come at the stipulated time. A section of fans is genuinely worried that bad news is on the horizon, while others suspect that Lil Tay is merely trying to gather attention for a triumphant return.

Lil Tay dropped off the internet after her father filed for custody

The curtains started closing on Lil Tay after the internet discovered that her wealthy act was a well-choreographed façade. It all started after Canadian news outlet Global reported that Tay’s mother Tian resigned from her job as a realtor after her clients realized that she’d been using their property for Lil Tay’s videos.

Suddenly the tables turned on Lil Tay. The arrogant star had been exposed as a fraud, and it was the internet’s time to hit back. She became a target for sustained abuse, with many abusers refusing to consider that she was only nine years old.

She brought this upon herself, the internet opined. However, another narrative emerged, suggesting that she was a pawn in her mother and brothers’ scheme to get rich off the internet. In the show Everyday Struggle, DJ Akademiks summarized the theory as follows:

“Her brother, who is 16,17 – a failed YouTuber – has been manipulating her and using her as a mouthpiece to be a culture vulture. Lil Tay has racked up a ton of hate now she is getting exposed. People think it’s a 9-year-old behind it, but in reality, it’s a bad mom and a brother who is manipulative that we should be blaming.”

Tired of what was happening to his daughter, Lil Tay’s father, Christopher Hope, filed for custody of Tay. A bitter custody battle, which included Hope being accused of abusing Tay, ensued. Christopher filed a court order to have Tay leave social media and move back to Canada. According to National World, Christopher said:

“I was really unhappy that she had dropped out of school to participate in inappropriate activities that I thought could negatively affect her future and her present. She was never locked in a closet. If there is any abuse, it didn’t take place at my house or have anything to do with me. Whoever was running the Instagram… made a lot of false allegations.”

No one knows for sure, but it is suspected that Lil Tay lives in Canada with her father

“He never saw me for so long, it’s obvious he just came back because he wants money,” Lil Tay told The Daily Beast. A court granted Christopher’s prayer, forcing Lil Tay to return to Canada. Tay and her mom allegedly didn’t want to leave, but they stopped resisting after Christopher threatened arrest.

Christopher, via his spokesperson Harry Tsang, insisted that he only wanted three things for Tay: “First, no more crazy videos of cursing from Tay. Second, 25 percent of the gross earnings going to a trust fund dedicated to Tay. The third thing is, there has to be a structured operation, in her public image.”

In a 2019 interview with The Daily Beast, Christopher stated that he’d trademarked the Lil Tay name, something that her mother never bothered to do. In the same interview, Tay stated that she was in a ‘bad situation’ with her father before adding, “I don’t want to talk about these things.”

Lil Tay stated she is living as normal a life as anyone like her can. Despite her father wanting her to attend public school, her fame means she has to settle for homeschooling. “He knows that I’ll get mobbed,” she said. “He wants me to go to public school. I’m too famous for that.”