Babygate

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Synonyms: Baby Gate, BG
See also: Larry Is Real, Larrie, Conchobar
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Babygate is a term used by One Direction fans to describe a specific set of events and the resulting fan theory.

Babygate began in July 2015, with the news that Louis Tomlinson was expecting a child with former lover Briana Jungwirth. The reveal prompted an outcry among fans, particularly Larry Stylinson shippers who believed that Larry Is Real (also known as Larries). As Larries were invested in the idea of a secret relationship between Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles (one that they believed would be imminently pubicly confirmed), they began positing that the news was not true, with a multitude of theories to explain the pregnancy.

The outcry grew so prevalent that numerous pieces were written in mainstream media outlets about the conspiracy theories.[1][2]

Prevalent theories included that the pregnancy was entirely fake; that there was a real pregnancy but someone other than Louis was the father; that there was a real pregnancy because Louis and Harry were having a child through surrogacy; that Louis was the victim of a PR stunt to cover up his sexuality; and/or that Louis was being coerced by a manipulative gold-digger.

One fan theorised on Tumblr that the baby "scandal" was devised by 1DHQ in a bid to raise Louis' profile to be equal to Harry's and lay the groundwork for a reveal of their relationship:

[...] A baby was the most shocking thing they could come up with–the most scandalous, attention-getting item they could run with. But it unfortunately supported a hetero narrative that didn’t jive with the coming out they were going to be pushing in a few short months.

So what to do?

Make this rumor about Larry. Use it to seed Larry. Actually design a Harry mpreg manip that I haven’t seen a single fan take credit for. Actually syndicate the Harry mpreg manip. Make sure every single article mentions Harry as well as Louis, even though it’s supposedly Louis’ baby. [...]

Basically, after all this rambling, this is the conclusion:

They needed to bump up Louis’ celebrity from the D list to the B list. They tried everything they could think of to make it happen. Everything from charity to partying to drugs to dick jokes. It didn’t work. They needed something bigger. There is nothing bigger than a baby scandal.[3]

Some Larry tinhats declared their intention to unstan if the baby was real.[4] However, the nature of tinhatting means that all confirmations - Louis' own confirmation, Simon Cowell's confirmation, pictures of the pregnant mother etc - can be dismissed as "not real enough" by a motivated-enough believer, allowing them to safely continue believing. See for example:

Anonymous asked: Are u gonna unstan if Simon "confirms"

No. I said I would unstan and let Louis have the privacy of his chosen closet if LOUIS HIMSELF stopped actively shading stunts and acting out against his closet indicating that he wanted it.

Tweeting lyrics from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack (a film depicting a pregnancy where everyone assumes one guy is the father when HE’S NOT) AND tossing a baby doll whilst saying “It’s not real” isn’t exactly him complying with his closet. In fact, I’d call that the exact opposite. [...][5]

After the baby was born in early 2016, some Larries accepted the fact and moved away from the theories[6], but plenty more came up with alternate theories as to how the baby and pregnacy could be a PR stunt.[7] A popular theory consisted of the baby being a silicone Reborn doll and pictures of the baby with Louis were photoshopped, with extensive analysis[8]. Others thought the baby might have been a child actor hired by Modest, the band's management company.

The baby's birth certificate was leaked and it was heavily analyzed as to how it could be a fake. One Larrie posted a copy on her tumblr and described driving six hours to get it from the county clerk's office.[9] Anti-Larries were critical of these actions: "Imagine driving long distances in order to obtain this copy. Imagine posting it online and prefacing with “I am a pretty lowkey Larrie”. Imagine the reach and desperation that takes to do that. That isn’t lowkey. That is sad and frankly frightening. That’s called stalking." [10] One smear campaign included claiming that the mother of the baby appeared in a sex tape, and then tweeting one of Louis' younger sisters with screenshots of the porn in question.[11]

As narryhadalittleliam put it,

Babygate is the last desperate attempt by Larries to hold onto over five years worth of conspiracy theories, because they have a driving need to keep the faith, lest they admit that they’ve spent over half a decade stalking, harassing, and abusing dozens of people in the name of something that turned out to never have been real in the first place. It would mean that they’re the villains, not Modest!, and they don’t want to face that fact.[12]

References

  1. Louis Tomlinson Is Going To Be A Dad And The Larry Shippers Are Freaking Out, posted on mtv.com on July 14, 2015.
  2. Are Louis Tomlinson Baby Rumors Fake? 1D Fans On Twitter Are Pretty Certain That’s The Case, posted on bustle.com on July 14, 2015.
  3. a babygate theory (archived), posted to Tumblr in July 2015 by bethaboolou, with 4,506 notes as of Jan 14, 2016.
  4. For many in the fandom, the use of the phrase "tinhat' is considered objectionable. See Fandom and abelist language, Archived version and the counter-responses Tinhat is not abelist, Archived version and The only people saying it’s ableist are Larries, Archived version
  5. Response to Anonymous ask (archived), published by diggingandfluff on July 18, 2015, 788 notes as of Jan 14, 2016.
  6. See post-birth anon asks from former Larries on exlarriesupportgroup and confessionsofexlarries.
  7. "BABYGATE MASTERPOST: IMPORTANT EVIDENCE YOU MAY HAVE MISSED…" at thetruthaboutonedirection on Tumblr
  8. There’s A Wild Conspiracy Theory That Louis Tomlinson’s Baby Is Fake by Ellie Woodward, Buzzfeed, 7 Apr 2016 accessed 2016-04-08
  9. untitled tumblr post by blisseau, , 17 Feb 2016. 1948 notes as of 21 Feb 2016.
  10. untitled tumblr post by savage-styles, Archived version, 18 Feb 2016.
  11. Larries didn’t just tweet Louis’s 15 year old sister about a porn tape they wished belonged to Briana, they even sent her screencaps of this tape. Sending minors sexual images is a sex crime. I’ve reported the specific tweets to twitter, but if anyone knows if there are other possible authorities this can be reported to, please share. untitled tumblr post by thelarrative, Archived version, 18 Feb 2016.
  12. Omg what is this baby gate stuff I went off line for a bit and now everything is on fire, Archived version, anon ask answered by narryhadalittleliam, posted February 24, 2016.