The circumstances surrounding the death of 14-year-old influencer and rapper Lil Tay, whose real name is Claire Hope, is shrouded in mystery after her former manager shed serious doubts about a family statement confirming the death of the teen and her 21-year-old brother Jason Tian.
Just as unsettling were claims made by the manager that Lil Tay suffered abuse at the hands of her family — including her father. This has raised suspicion about the teen's death, with the manager questioning whether the teen sensation is actually dead. The announcement of her "sudden and tragic" passing was made by an unnamed family member in an Instagram post on the teenager's account on Wednesday.
In the hours following the announcement of Lil Tay's passing on Wednesday through an Instagram post, Henry Tsang, a former manager of the 14-year-old social media issued a statement that subtly questioned the authenticity of her reported death.
"I have been in communication with individuals who have an intimate understanding of the family's situation," Tsang said to The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
"Given the complexities of the current circumstances, I am at a point where I cannot definitively confirm or dismiss the legitimacy of the statement issued by the family."
This came as cops in both Vancouver, Lil Tay's place of birth, and Los Angeles, where she had been living with her mother, told DailyMail.com they had no record of her or Jason's deaths.
Chris Hope, Lil Tay's father, works at the law firm Lindsay LLP in Vancouver.
Interestingly when contacted at his office by multiple news outlets the person who answered the call identified as Hope but declined to confirm his daughter's death.
"Yeah, you have the right person, but I don't have any comment right now," the man claiming to be Lil Tay's father told The New York Post in a brief, 2-minute call.
"I'm not able to give you any comment right now. I'm sorry — I can't."
Allegations that the girl may have experienced "physical and mental" abuse by her father, Chris Hope, who was allegedly "absent" in her life, are resurfacing.
These allegations were first leveled against Hope in an April 2021 GoFundMe page set up by the girl's older brother, Jason Tian.
The Instagram post announcing Lil Tay's death also mentioned the death of her brother. However, it remains unclear whether the deceased sibling referred to in the post is indeed Jason Tian.
"Chris Hope had a dysfunctional home and would bring many types of Asian women home," claimed Tian on the crowd-sourcing site.
"They were strictly sexual partners, they got naked and slept in the same bed with Tay, they engaged in intercourse while Tay was right beside them."
Tian also claimed that Hope had been awarded "50/50" custody of Tay when she was 5 years old.
Following this, her mother, Angela, moved to Los Angeles, where Tay would visit occasionally before eventually moving to the city in 2017 after gaining social media fame at the age of 9.
Everything Shrouded in Mystery
On the GoFundMe platform, Tian continued to allege that Hope neglected Tay, subjecting her to meals that were moldy and infested with maggots, as well as making her wear worn-out clothing.
Tian also alleged that Hope's wife, Hanee, started physically abusing the girl by "hitting and locking her in a dark closet." He claimed that these actions were carried out with Hope's approval.
Moreover, Tian accused Hanee of deliberately breaking Tay's toe by slamming her foot into a door.
Tian's allegations extended beyond physical abuse, suggesting that the mistreatment encompassed other forms as well.
"They also started to refer to Tay as a ch–k, b—h and motherf—er," wrote Tian.
"Tay remembers them speaking and fantasizing about killing my mom and her and starting a new family," he continued.
"Tay became very paranoid and became depressed and developed bad anxiety."
Upon reporting the purported abuse of the minor to the authorities, Tian said that Hope and Hanee beat Tay on her face and body," per Tian's written plea.
After the reported incident, the girl began living in Los Angeles with her mother Angela and her brother Tian.
Following her relocation in 2013, Tian claimed that Hope stopped paying child support almost immediately, accruing an alleged debt of $400,000 in unpaid support. Tay did not have contact with her father until May 2018, when she gained fame on YouTube.
Tay became a digital personality known for her bold comments about her wealth and her habit of flaunting stacks of money to her ear.
She managed to amass more than 3.3 million followers on Instagram. However, her social media activity started to dwindle after 2018, leaving her fans wondering about her absence from the influencer scene.
At that time, Tian had already begun publicly making accusations of abuse against Hope. However, Tay's manager at the time, Henry Tsang, refuted these claims.
"Christopher Hope does not want any money from Lil Tay," he told the Daily Beast in 2018.
"There are only three things he wants to see," said Tsang.
"First, no more crazy videos of cursing from Tay. Second, 25% of the gross earnings going to a trust fund dedicated to Tay. The third thing is, there has to be structure in her operation, in her public image."
But Tian stuck in his claims that Tay was a victim of abuse.
Speculation about the cause of death has initiated debates on social media, with some users, including Jesse Ryan, claiming to have witnessed the incident.
"As someone who was at the scene I can confirm that both were together when passing. Due to car collision. The brother was driving," he wrote.
"Local officials are speculating "texting and driving" being the cause. The other vehicle occupants were okay with minor injuries."
Some followers have even gone as far as to suggest that the post was a hoax.
Meanwhile, local authorities in Vancouver said that they had no record of any investigation into the deaths of Claire or her brother Jason when contacted by DailyMail.com.
Lil Tay, originally from Canada but relocated to Los Angeles as a young child, achieved viral fame when she started sharing videos at the age of nine in 2017.
Her controversial videos showed her cursing, demeaning bystanders, flashing wads of cash, and even inciting fights while claiming to be the "youngest flexer of the century" and "above the haters."
In order to generate interest in her content, she had previously posted videos that contained language like "n****," "p****," and "c***." She later appeared on Good Morning America with her mother to defend her reputation.
Nevertheless, Lil Tay swiftly amassed more than 3.3 million followers on Instagram alone and was regarded as one of the top up-and-coming stars on the internet despite the criticism.