How Gabbie Hanna's Bitter Feud With Jessi Smiles Festered

Gabbie Hanna's friendship with Jessi Smiles appeared to be a match made in social media influencer heaven—two former Vine stars who went on to make names for themselves as YouTubers.

But what was once friendship soon became a war between two sworn foes, with the pair's long-running feud spilling out into full public view, punctuated with mud-slingings, screenshots, tweets, videos, and interviews.

Given that they fell out with one another in 2019, it has become a challenge to recall the genesis of their feud. As such, here's a look at what went wrong.

While there has been bona fide bad blood between the two since 2019, seeds were planted for their falling out several years earlier—before they even met.

In 2014, Smiles filed charges against her ex-boyfriend Curtis Lepore, accusing the star of the six-second video-sharing site, Vine, of having raped her the previous year, according to Buzzfeed.

Dropping the charges weeks later, after Lepore pleaded guilty to felony assault, Smiles—real name Jessi Vasquez—was unaware that her future friend Hanna was expressing her doubts about her allegations on Twitter.

Eight months after the episode, Smiles and Hanna would become pals, only for things to implode some five years later, when Smiles learned that Hanna had been friendly with Lepore after the accusation.

Adding insult to injury was the resurfacing of Hanna's aforementioned historic tweets, which were brought to Smiles' attention—and eternally preserved as screenshots.

In a November 2019 YouTube video, Smiles discussed (and shared screenshots of) private messages she claimed Hanna had exchanged with somebody else about the pair's fallout. She also accused Hanna of having stayed friends with Lepore, even after the accusations, according to Buzzfeed.

Hanna, apparently upset that private messages had been shared, went on to say in an interview that Smiles was a "narcissistic abuser" (after insisting in a previous video that she would "never publicly bash" Smiles).

Smiles tweeted in the summer of 2020: "In 2014, Gabbie said heinous things about me on the day of the TMZ article," tweeted Smiles. "She apologized to me months later, and we went on to become friends. Now she says those tweets do not exist and that I am a narcissistic abuser."

"I want to make something VERY CLEAR—after Gabbie's video [in which she calls her an 'abuser'], I tried to reach out to her in a VERY calm way.

"The second I mentioned screenshots of what she truly said on the day of TMZ [a 2014 article about Smiles' allegations against Lepore], she no longer wanted to speak and said that I was threatening her. The truth is NOT a threat."

I want to make something VERY CLEAR - after Gabbie's video, I tried to reach out to her in a VERY calm way. The second I mentioned screenshots of what she truly said on the day of TMZ, she no longer wanted to speak and said that I was threatening her. The truth is NOT a threat.

— Jessi Smiles (@jessismiles__) June 22, 2020

On Friday June 4, Buzzfeed published an interview with Hanna, who had been branded a "rape apologist" on Twitter for allegedly siding with Lepore. In the interview, she complained about not having received an apology for her private messages being made public.

"Who didn't I apologize to?" Hanna said in the interview. "I gave Jessi Smiles an apology. I gave Beyoncé an apology. It feels like I'm always dishing out apologies and I've never once received one, and that to me feels a little chaotic."

The feud flames were fanned once again, as Smiles took to Twitter on Monday to share recordings of her phone conversations with Hanna, said to have been made in summer 2020.

"Gabbie and I had a phone call last summer," wrote Smiles. "I never planned to release it. In fact, there's nothing I want more than to never talk or think about Gabbie ever again. But her continued lying about my trauma has officially broken me and I don't know what else to do."

In the recording of the alleged calls, Hanna is heard explaining that she initially doubted Smiles' claims because a male friend of hers was once falsely accused of rape.

Pt. 2 (note: call has been edited for brevity but in no way that affects context)

— Jessi Smiles (@jessismiles__) June 7, 2021

She also demands that Smiles issue a public apology for sharing her private messages on social media and that she sign a non-disclosure agreement.

YouTuber Smiles disagrees, offering instead that the pair hash out their differences in court.

Smiles wrote: "I know I made a public video calling Gabbie out in 2019—I understand that. I don't, however, understand how that warrants Gabbie being able to bring up my rape/rapist consistently in order to 'defend herself' against things that she...actually did. It's beyond triggering."

She added in a follow-up tweet: "I'm in a bad place mentally and I don't say that for pity. I just cannot continue this back and forth with Gabbie without sacrificing my sanity.

"I'm logging off. I won't make this situation 'go away' for her, but I will gladly leave her alone if she TRULY does the same to me."

Inside Gabbie Hanna's feud with Jessi Smiles
Gabbie Hanna attends The 8th Annual Streamy Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 22, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. She has been locked in a feud with former friend Jessi Styles since 2019. Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Streamy Awards