How Tramp Stamps Became the Most Hated Band on TikTok


Rebecca Jennings, writing at Vox:

Then, a predictable cycle happened: Multiple TikTokers made videos accusing the group of being industry plants, citing the fact that their PR-ready website and Instagram page appeared far too polished for a seemingly independent trio of musicians who happened to meet each other at a bar. User @hard_cope dug into the members and found that lead singer Marisa Maino was, until mid-2020, performing as a solo pop artist under a more standard-issue glam persona and that drummer Paige Blue has written and produced commercial music for years. “It’s almost like it’s a bunch of people who were like, theatre majors and shit who had rich parents and now they’re co-opting riot grrrl aesthetics that people literally dedicate their lives to for money,” he said in his video

That’s when the accusations that the band was legitimately problematic started to come in. Once more TikTokers (as well as users on Reddit and Twitter) started digging, they found that both guitarist Caroline Baker and Maino have deals with Prescription Songs, which is owned by Dr. Luke, who was accused by Kesha of sexual assault. Others found several tweets of Maino’s in which she uses the n-word and implied that she supported Trump. Many more criticized the song “I’d Rather Die,” which they argued advocates for sexual coercion in lyrics that complain about men who can’t “get it up” because of alcohol.


By far the biggest critique of the band, however, has been centered around its alleged inauthenticity, which I’d argue is a much graver transgression for young fans than a past tweet or associations with problematic figures — Doja Cat, Kim Petras, Dua Lipa, and Saweetie have all worked with Dr. Luke, for instance, while celebrities like Justin Bieber and Post Malone have been filmed saying the n-word in the past with little detriment to their careers. There are now hundreds if not thousands of videos on TikTok explaining the Tramp Stamps drama, where commenters compete to post the most ruthless own: They’ve been described as “buzzfeedcore,” “the band version of Riverdale,” and “major ‘alt & goth amazon finds that you NEED to purchase’ vibes.” 

In response, the band posted a statement to their Instagram that begins “Hi fuckers” and goes on to scorch cancel culture and claim that actually, the band is technically independent, because they started their own label called “Make Tampons Free” under a company called AWAL, or “Artists Without a Label.” (They did not mention that AWAL is owned by Kobalt Music Group, one of the world’s largest music publishing companies.)

Double yikes.