Instagram star Lil Tay’s mother was not fired from the Vancouver real estate brokerage she was working for.
But she’s apparently resigning — after she used her boss’ Mercedes 500 SL in one of the girl’s Instagram videos, without his permission.
Coverage of social media on Globalnews.ca:
Until recently, Angela Tian was working for Pacific Evergreen Realty, a real estate firm with an office at Oakridge Centre on West 41st Avenue.
One of those videos shows her daughter Lil Tay, a foul-mouthed, nine-year-old social media star known for flashing money and a high-priced lifestyle — and using inappropriate racial terms — spouting off in a red Mercedes convertible.
That car belongs to David Yang, the managing partner of Pacific Evergreen Realty.
In an interview with Global News, he said he has two cars: a Bentley and his Mercedes 500 SL.
He said Tian initially came to him and asked whether her daughter and son could take a photo of the Bentley.
Some time later, Yang came into the office and Tian asked him whether he had driven the Bently to work that day. Yang said no, he had driven the Mercedes, but he still said they could take a photo with that car instead.
“But I didn’t realize she was filming for Instagram,” he told Global News.
Once Tian was finished, she said Yang could come and pick up his car.
It would be some time before someone called him and said the car was being used on an Instagram account with almost 2 million followers.
But that wasn’t the only luxury property that Lil Tay accessed thanks to her mother’s connections in real estate.
Another video showed Lil Tay in an apartment, saying her “toilet cost more than your rent.”
That video doesn’t appear on Lil Tay’s Instagram account anymore, but it has been preserved on a fan account:
That apartment was a listing by Pacific Evergreen Realty, where a colleague was apparently holding an open house.
“Everybody got caught by surprise,” Yang said.
Yang said he was “disappointed” and “mad” and felt he was “taken advantage of” because he thought Tian had only arranged to take photos.
Had he known his car would be used for this purpose, he would never have let Tian use it, he said.
But despite other media reports, he specified that Tian wasn’t fired.
“Apparently she is resigning from the company,” Yang said.
“She called and said I’m quitting from real estate at this point.”
No nine-year-old ever creates videos like these on their own, said Jesse Miller, the founder of Mediated Reality, a North Vancouver-based company that works to educate people about social media influences and concerns.
“There has to be content that is given to the child to act, and what we’re seeing here is a child actor who now has an entirely different stage and in contrast to traditional media where we would see TV or movie stars who are kids,” he told Global News.
Lil Tay’s videos, he said, involve a “parent with a cell phone” making choices about how her kid is noticed on the internet.
Miller worried about how Lil Tay might live with the legacy of her videos when she grows older.
“Is it going to be something she doesn’t really care about because it works in the favour of economics, or is it something that years later we’re going to be looking at this story and saying, ‘look at that poor kid and look what happened 15 years later’?” he asked.