Lil Tay alive: Former manager accuses rapper and social media star of being behind death hoax herself

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Harry Tsang has accused Lil Tay of creating the fake death post as a publicity stunt

It’s been a bizarre 48 hours in the world of showbiz; an Instagram post claimed that 15-year-old rapper Lil Tay had died, then she confirmed she’s not dead at all and said she was the victim of a hoax - and now her former manager has accused her of setting up the fake death post herself.

Harry Tsang, who was the last known manager of Lil Tay, whose real name is Tay Tian, said in an interview with that he believed the teen star’s Instagram account had not been hacked, as she claimed.

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He said: “Upon learning about Lil Tay's assertion of her well-being, I find relief in the fact that she is safe. However, I believe the reported hacking incident may not have occurred.”

It was first reported that Lil Tay had died on Wednesday (9 August). A now deleted post appeared on her official Instagram account was posted on that morning claiming she had died alongside her older brother. There was lots of speculation about whether or not the post was real, however, as police had no official record of her supposed death, or that of her brother.

Then, on the evening of Thursday (10 August), Lil Tay spoke to American news outlet TMZ to let her fans know that both her and her brother are in fact alive and well - and said they had been the victim of a hoax. But, now Tsang has cast doubt on the authenticity behind that statement too.

So, what exactly did the original Instagram post say, how did Lil Tay respond, and what has Tsang said? Here’s everything you need to know.

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What did the Lil Tay fake death post say?

What we now know to be the fake death announcement post was posted on Instagram on 9 August. It was thought at the time to have been written by her parents.

The statement read: “The statement said: "It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of our beloved Claire's sudden and tragic passing. We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain.

"This outcome was entirely unexpected and has left us all in shock. Her brother's passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief. During this time of immense sorrow, we kindly ask for privacy as we grieve this overwhelming loss, as the circumstances surrounding Claire and her brother's passing are still under investigation. Claire will forever remain in our hearts, her absence leaving an irreplaceable void that will be felt by all who knew and loved her."

Aside from what Tsang has now said, there has been no other suggestion about who could be behind the post or why the fake death announcement was made.

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Lil Tay's former manager Harry Tsang has accused the rapper and social media star of being behind a fake death Instagram hoax herself. Photos: Instagram/Lil Tay (left) and Getty Images (right).Lil Tay's former manager Harry Tsang has accused the rapper and social media star of being behind a fake death Instagram hoax herself. Photos: Instagram/Lil Tay (left) and Getty Images (right).
Lil Tay's former manager Harry Tsang has accused the rapper and social media star of being behind a fake death Instagram hoax herself. Photos: Instagram/Lil Tay (left) and Getty Images (right). | Instagram/Lil Tay (left) and Getty Images (right).

What did Lil Tay say in her statement?

In a statement provided to American news outlet TMZ from Tay's family, Tay confirmed that she and her brother were both well on 10 August.

The 15-year-old said: "I want to make it clear that my brother and I are safe and alive, but I’m completely heartbroken, and struggling to even find the right words to say. It’s been a very traumatising 24 hours. All day yesterday, I was bombarded with endless heartbreaking and tearful phone calls from loved ones all while trying to sort out this mess."

In the statement, Lil Tay also said that the hoax post named her as Claire Hope, but said this is not her real name at all and also explained that her account had been hacked. She said: "My Instagram account was compromised by a 3rd party and used to spread jarring misinformation and rumours regarding me, to the point that even my name was wrong. My legal name is Tay Tian, not "Claire Hope.” The hoax post, which appeared on Lil Tay’s official Instagram account on Wednesday (9 August) has now been removed.

Tay also thanked Meta, who owns the social media site, for helping to get her Instagram account back. She did not comment on why it took her over 24 hours to let her fans know she is okay.

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What did Harry Tsang say?

Hours after Lil Tay released her statement, Tsang spoke to and said he thought Lil Tay was lying about her Instagram account being hacked, and also accused her of orchestrating the post herself to boost her popularity once again. Lil Tay shot to fame in 2018, but up until this her account had remained quiet since then.

Tsang raised two points in sharing his scepticism over the validity of Lil Tay's explanation about the post. The first of centres around the speed at which she claims her Instagram account was restored to her after the so-called hacking.  He said: “My rationale for this perspective is twofold: firstly, the restoration of a compromised account on platforms like Meta/Instagram typically does not necessitate a 24-hour timeframe,

Tsang then spoke about Lil Tay's brother Jason, who is said to go to extreme measures for publicity and was also previously criticised for telling his sibling what to say on camera. He said: “Secondly, the actions of Lil Tay's brother, renowned for his propensity for extreme measures, lead me to hypothesise an alternative motive behind this occurrence.”

Tsang added: “Simultaneously, if the underlying motive is indeed to rekindle Lil Tay's prominence within the public sphere, I contend that such actions demonstrate a certain degree of irresponsibility. It's essential to consider the potential repercussions of employing such tactics, particularly given their potential impact on the perceptions and sentiments of the broader audience.”

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