Not Another Thot Piece: An Interview with Dorothy Hastings

As of the morning of Sunday, April 3rd, Dorothy Hastings was just another sophomore girl at Barnard College in New York City. The night before, she’d hooked up with Swae Lee, one-half of the massive rap duo Rae Sremmurd, while he was in town for a performance at Columbia University. While Swae slept, Dorothy snapped a quick picture of herself in bed with Swae. She posted it to her Twitter account later that day, thinking her 200 or so followers would get excited, followed by nothing much else.

By the end of the day, Dorothy’s photo went viral. Outlets like XXL, Vh1, Hot 97 and more posted about Dorothy’s picture with Swae, usually including a description of her as a “groupie thot,” or on Bossip, a “stinky skateboarder.”

Under normal circumstances, I have to admit, I would probably have seen this story, (SMH a lil bit) and kept scrolling down my Twitter timeline. This time, however, the subject of this Internet vitriol forced me to feel differently. Dorothy Hastings happens to be a real family friend of mine, one that I’ve known since early childhood. Seeing thousands of people cracking jokes or heaping moralistic shame on her basic sexual agency made me blanch at the kinds of actions we normally take for granted on the internet.

That said, if Dorothy had, for some reason, asked my opinion on this, I probably would have advised her against posting her picture with Swae on social media. But her own decision to do so shouldn’t legitimize venomous harassment and shame from strangers.

I decided to reach out to Dorothy while she was still caught in the grasp of the internet’s attention, and get her perspective on the strange situation she’s in now. Here are the responses from her, an actual, living person, not some black-eyed face for the amassed internet to hang one’s insecurities on.

Dorothy, most people know who you are from a tweet or gossip article. Could you maybe start by giving us a short intro to you, so that people can understand you as a person, and not just as some face they saw on the internet?

My name is Dorothy Hastings. I’m from Rockville, Maryland. I’m a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in American Studies with a concentration in journalism/creative writing. I spend most of my days hanging out with a girl skater crew, skating through Morningside Heights and Central Park. I like to think of my alter ego as Effy Stonem (Skins UK) or Michael Cera.

How did you end up getting in contact with Swae Lee, or getting on his tour bus?

Rae Sremmurd was the headliner for Columbia/Barnard’s spring concert. During the concert, I sat on a friend’s shoulders and flashed my tits at the stage and made direct eye contact with Swae Lee, I also had the words “Fuck Me (up)” written in sharpie on my chest. He gave me a nice nod, and after the concert had cleared out, I was waiting around looking for my friends. My friend and I were walking back to my place, when one of Rae Sremmurd’s security guards called us over to their black van. Swae said he remembered me by my titties and called me bad, so they told us to hop in. Then they took us to the hotel. I wasn’t explicitly planning on hooking up with anyone, but I am always down for sex. I mean, hell yeah I’m down to bang a celebrity. The hotel was nice and we did the good stuff twice (to his song “No Type” and the movie Clueless, a little weird but I was down). After the sex, he was xanned out and I was left there to stare at the bottles of alcohol and $50 bills all over the floor. My parents raised me with too many morals, so I only took two tiny bottles from the mini fridge and a $5 bill that might have actually been mine. When I saw he was really asleep, I told his brother and security called me an uber and I left. The friend I was with was not down to have sex with Slim Jimmi so she left early. Also Slim Jimmi was pretty rude, Swae is the cooler brother.

You’ve mentioned you got those black eyes in a skateboarding accident. Seeing as many people aren’t aware that two black eyes can be a symptom of head injuries, could you give us a few details on how that happened?

Me and my friends were skating in Morningside park the Saturday before the concert. I was a little tipsy that night and started gaining speed down a crazy hill that ended in a cross street of traffic so I had to jump off. I hit my head on the street and was knocked unconscious and rushed to the ER. The double black eyes came two days later when the dead blood cells from the head wound flowed down under my eyes (idk lol I got a D in biology last year). But it’s called racoon eyes – you can google it.

What was going through your mind when you took the picture with Swae and when you decided to post the picture on Twitter?

I first posted the picture because I was so hyped that I just had sex with Swae Lee to Clueless and thought people would be excited too, like that’s fucking awesome. I had only around 200 followers on twitter before, and didn’t really think anyone would notice or care. I was really just being a fan and so proud of myself for pulling a celebrity while having two black eyes #alwaysbad.

I’d like to hear your reaction to the backlash of posting the picture. Has anything really epitomized it for you? How have you felt about it?

My favorite is the headliner from Bossip “No Type: Stinky Skateboarder Brags About Swirl Smashing Rae Sremmurd Star Swae Lee To Smithereens” headline. That was awesome because The Brujas instagrammed it and they are literally the Dopest Girl Skate Gang in the WORLD. Otherwise my DM’s were mostly split between people asking me for nudes and people complimenting me and giving me mad love. I was also asked to do a silent porn film in black and white to highlight my debilitating skateboard injuries for $7,000. I also liked the tweets over the picture; “I guess men really don’t care if girls have chipped nails” and “This bitch isn’t bad she can’t even buy nail polish remover” and “You should drink lots of water to combat the dark circles under your eyes” and “She probably shoots heroin from the scabs on her forehead.” Shit got real when I saw some fake instagram accounts of me people had made, I was kind of just like,  “holy shit.” I have laughed a lot with my good friends in the skater gang and have lowkey liked walking through Columbia’s campus as people ask to take pictures with me. “[Real] Friends” (Kanye West I feel you) I haven’t spoken to in years have slid into my DM’s harder than I slid into the ER on my skateboard.  

Do you feel like the internet’s reaction to this has been more intense because this is you, a woman, choosing to post a picture of you in bed with a man?

I think so, for sure. Any celebrity leak gets crazy backlash and comments but headlines and tweets were saying the picture was “explicit” even though nothing was exposed. One of the articles that said “groupie writes ‘Fuck Me’ on chest and Swae Lee falls for it” pissed me off because I wrote that with no specific intention to have coitus with anyone. I love pushing the boundaries and being confident in my body and sexuality. I mean, what is a bad bitch? Someone who owns their body. And tweets said I was gross and had no self-respect for posting this picture and Swae should be ashamed because I’m so ugly but the way i see it if this had been a male student with a female headliner there would be no backlash or comments about the way he looks or his intentions. Furthermore, Swae Lee exposed my tits on his snapchat story and posted it to twitter and all over the internet and no one was concerned — when i confidently expose my body and my sexual exploits it is criticized but when he posts more explicit pictures of me that crop out my face he faces no criticism. It is the subliminal and naturalized misogyny of the industry and of being a woman on a college campus; girls hate on me because they think I’m a slut and guys objectify and sexualize me because they think that they have control over my body when they see it even though it’s actually representative of my own confidence and control over my body.

Have you and Swae been in contact since the picture blew up? I’ve seen a bit of the back and forth on Twitter.

Jimmi called me and Swae texted me after shit on twitter was getting hectic. Jimmi told me to delete the pictures so I did, but as soon as I did Swae tweeted “man come on you don’t want me to leak the video you know you were a third wheel stop getting these people excited lol.” During this Swae texted me pretty upset saying “you ain’t have to do that. I’m out here looking crazy you have two black eyes. I can’t show you no love now,” he was clearly trying to save his ass. Then his brother texted me asking me to say it all was a lie to which I responded “I have a concussion I’m just messing around it’ll blow over in 2 days focus on ur music man respect.” I wouldn’t say we are friends right now, but I think they are young and reckless just like all of us, and will eventually look back and find this funny.

Has this event, and all its attendant things, changed how you’ve seen and perceived the subjects of other internet controversies, or even how you think about the digital space as a whole?

Fuck the cloud because, while I’ve never trusted venmo or other apps etc. where information is released and stored by third parties, the fact that a simple tweet could get this much backlash and that hundreds of thousands of people have contacted me about this one incident is just indicative of the power of the ‘net’. Fear the cloud sheeple and fear the coming rain. At the same time, I am now trying to use this digital space to make public things I care about and want to bring awareness to.

Is there anything else you would like to say about this incident, or anything else in particular, to the public?

Be yourself and no one can stop you. Don’t shame people for having sex, it’s just sex. Sex is good, sex with Swae was alright. Don’t shame people for not wanting to have sex, either. Just stop shaming people in general. Also don’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

Alex Oka