Curtis Lepore, Vine Star, Accused Of Raping Fellow Vine Star Jessi Smiles
Vine star, Curtis Lepore, pled not guilty to rape in court on Tuesday, Jan. 14 after being arrested in October for raping fellow Vine star Jessi Smiles (born Jessica Vasquez).
Vine Romance: How Curtis Lepore Met Jessi Smiles
Lepore, who boasts 3.4 million followers, met Smiles after stumbling upon her Vines and the two began trading Vines and flirting over various social medias. Lepore and Smiles engaged in a long distance relationship – Smiles is based in Miami and Lepore lives in Los Angeles. Finally, they decided to meet in the flesh in New York City on Aug. 7, 2013, and the event turned into a romantic meeting between Lepore, Smiles and thousands of their fans.
The relationship, they insist, was real and, while Smiles has admitted that both Lepore and herself have management, she insists that their romance began organically and was not a publicity stunt.
“When our management found out that we were going to meet, they told us we have to make this into an event. It wasn’t meant to be that big of a thing so I was nervous about it. I thought there would be a lot of people there to see us meet so I didn’t feel too comfortable about that. But it turned out amazing, it was fun,” Jessi said in an interview a few weeks after the fateful meeting.
The Alleged Rape
The relationship quickly fizzled, but the two reunited in late August when Smiles was visiting L.A. and suffered a concussion. Lepore reportedly reached out to Smiles and offered to help her while she recovered. He went to see Smiles and allegedly raped her after she had fallen asleep.
After the incident, Smiles took to Twitter to post a warning to her followers, cautioning them to “Be careful of who you trust.”
Be careful of who you trust. Always be cautious for your safety. Be strong and don't let your guard down…
— Jessi Smiles (@jessismiles__) September 1, 2013
Lepore was arrested in October and then released on $100,000 bail.
Lepore And Smiles Address Fans
TMZ broke the news of the alleged rape on Jan. 16 following Lepore’s hearing, causing the Vine celebrities’ millions of fans to rush to social media to take sides. Lepore denies the allegations, and suggested that Smiles leaked the information about his arrest to TMZ, tweeting, “Wow. TMZ? It all makes sense now. Let the second publicity stunt begin!”
Wow. TMZ? It all makes sense now. Let the second publicity stunt begin!
— Curtis Lepore (@curtislepore) January 16, 2014
Lepore also addressed his fans on Vine, saying, “There are two sides to every story.”
“Things aren’t always what they seem. I am not allowed to talk about what’s going on right now. In the meantime, don’t rush to judge,” Lepore captioned the video.
Meanwhile, Smiles also took to Vine to thank her supporters Friday, Jan. 17.
She also took to Twitter, thanking fans for all their support and brushing off any negative comments people have been writing in the wake of the rape allegations going public.
You all tell me you're so sorry for everyone's comments to me, but all I see is unconditional love. Thank you. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IfrHEEH0gr
— Jessi Smiles (@jessismiles__) January 17, 2014
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong