[Editor's note: This story contains language that some readers may find disturbing.]
Ian Connor is a stylist, referred to as “King of the Youth” by many sources, including himself. Complex profiled him last year. He has worked in various capacities with Kanye West, Virgil Abloh, A$AP Mob, and Wiz Khalifa. He is also something of a social media phenomenon whose photo smoking a cigarette during West’s Yeezy fashion show was blogged and re-blogged across the Internet.
In Anderson’s post, she alleged that, on October 5, 2014, after a series of messages and meetings, Connor raped her in her home in Decatur, Ga. The day after Anderson’s story went live, a second woman, R&B singer Jean Deaux, published an account of her rape allegations against Connor, dating back to 2013.
Anderson says she spent time with Connor on three separate occasions. She says the first was in May 2014. “He would get in touch with me when he was coming to Atlanta, but he would also get in touch with me sometimes when he was traveling,” she tells Complex. “He offered to fly me out to L.A. before, but I declined.” The first two encounters, she says, were platonic. “He definitely tried to kiss me, and I would tell him I didn’t want to do that,” she says. “The first two times we hung out, he would back off after that. The first time we hung out, we went to a party, so we weren’t even alone. And then the second time we hung out, we hung out at my apartment at Clairmont [a separate Emory University campus]. We just laid in bed for a few hours, but we didn’t do anything. It was late. We didn’t do anything sexual.”
“We got along,” she says. “He would always tell me that I was pretty. He would tell me, ‘Oh, you’re so different,’ because I didn’t want to have sex with him and stuff like that.”
Anderson says the sexual assault occurred the third time they were together. According to one of Anderson’s two roommates at the time, Averya Hunter, Anderson had expressed some unease with what she perceived to be Connor’s intentions. “Before even actually meeting up with him and inviting him over, she was already kind of apprehensive about the whole thing,” Hunter tells us. “She was really concerned, because she had told him time and time again, ‘I don’t want any kind of sexual relationship.’ And he said that he was OK with that. He said that’s not what he was interested in anyways. And he was perfectly OK just chilling with her and things like that.”
Still, Anderson met up with Connor on October 5, 2014. Here is her account of the events of that day from her original post:
“He came to my crib in the morning and I figured we would just talk and chill per usual… But that isn’t what happened. We were sitting on my bed, just talking. and he asked if he could eat me out. I declined. And I told him I wasn’t trying to have sex. So he’s like OK. Then he asked again if he could eat me out. I said no again and he just kept asking. He was literally begging to eat me out and he said “we don’t gotta fuck, I just wanna eat it. I wanna eat your soul out girl” blah blah. And I was just like “nah I’m good” but he kept begging. Eventually, I gave in. I said “fine you can give me head”. Then he said “lemme eat it from the back”. So I layed on my stomach and pulled my pants down about halfway, the rest of my clothes were still on. He was fully clothed. He started to give me head. About 2 minutes later I felt his bare penis thrust inside of me.”
Hunter says Anderson told her about what she says transpired shortly after the alleged incident. “That night, I asked her. She was really excited about it [prior to the meeting], so I said, ‘What happened?’” Hunter says. “When she was talking to me about it, the word ‘rape’ never came out of her mouth. When I was giving my two cents about it, I was like, ‘Well, at the end of the day, it sounds like he raped you. You told him no, you gave no consent to it, and he did it anyway. So regardless if he went through the whole thing or not—he didn’t pin you down, he didn’t strap you up or anything—but at the end of the day, that’s what it is.’”
“I went through feeling ashamed and embarrassed and guilty,” Anderson says. “Even though I didn’t do anything wrong, I still feel guilty. It’s a lot that goes on. I was in denial. I was angry.”
Anderson says that she did not get a rape kit exam, but several days after the alleged incident she was tested for sexually transmitted diseases at the Emory University clinic. She says over a year passed before she referred to Connor in a tweet as a “serial rapist” on Dec. 3, 2015. That same day, she says she received a series of messages on Twitter from the username @Freespiritjusti. She shared screengrabs of the conversation on her blog.
Anderson believes the account was a fake username created and controlled by Connor. Anderson says the messages from @Freespiritjusti are what prompted her to file a police report in December 2015. A detective with the special victims unit of the DeKalb County Police Department, where Anderson filed the report, confirmed on April 11 that the investigation is ongoing. Since the case is not yet closed, he declined to comment on any specifics or provide a copy of any documentation. However, in a post from April 13, Vice’s Broadly site shared a copy of the police report they say was provided to them by the DeKalb County PD. Much of the information has been redacted, but the report is dated December 16, 2015 and names Ian Connor as the offender. The incident type is listed as “sexual battery.” Hunter also says she is willing to speak to the police, but hasn’t been contacted.
According to Anderson, the police did make contact with Connor over the phone once, using a number she says she provided. “Then they tried to call Ian again to ask him again about coming in for questioning,” she says. “But when they called him again, the number had been disconnected. So either he blocked it or he changed the number, I don’t even know. And then after [the detective] said that, he said, ‘Well, you know, unless you have any evidence, and we can’t force him to come in for questioning, then there’s not much else we can do right now, and the case is likely to be closed. It can be reopened if somebody else comes up, but if you don’t have anything else to give us, then there’s not anything else we can do.’”
Anderson says she gave the police screenshots of their conversations, as well as the test results from her STD screening at the Emory clinic. She also says she suggested the police try to find Connor’s Uber records to place him at her address at the time of the alleged event, but conceded that she isn’t sure if he took Uber, or if his friend drove him. “If his friend drove, then I didn’t know that,” she says. “I just assumed they took Ubers, because I’ve never seen him drive a car.”
“I definitely feel frustration, but at the same time, I do understand that in my specific case, there was not a lot of physical evidence,” she says. “I understand that. But, I’m more hopeful than ever now, honestly. Now that I’ve come forward, more women have told me that they want to file a police report against Ian.”
Others have expressed their support for Anderson by adopting the hashtag #IStandWithMalika on social media, where much of this story is playing out. Anderson is hyper aware of what is being said about her on Twitter and Instagram, which means she also sees many of her peers using their social platforms to air their doubts about her story. When we spoke, Anderson already knew about a widely-circulated screengrab of a tweet she posted on March 22, 2016, that some Twitter users interpret as testimony of her true motives. The tweet in question reads: “I think I’m done with the hoe life too cus none of these niggas deserve my pussy I just want their money. I’m into scams now.”
Anderson says the tweet was misinterpreted. “It was clearly a joke, like Joanne the Scammer,” she says, referencing the popular alter-ego of Twitter user Branden Miller. “People were tweeting me back, like, ‘Oh, this means you’re lying about Ian.’ And I was just like, where's the correlation? I don’t see one.” She adds, “If anybody would like to take that tweet out of context and make that have any correlation with what happened with Ian, then they were already a rape apologist. They already hate women. That’s all that told me.”
After Anderson published her story, a friend of Connor’s who goes by the name Ivan Splash posted his own version of the story in a series of tweets.
Ian had a layover in Atlanta that morning and I scooped and we went to eat… then he get a text and we off to this girl’s apartment. We pull up and she greets us, I introduce myself or whatever and we in the living room until they go into her room… I’m chillin outside it. Thirty minutes goes by or so and they come out laughing about something, definitely had sex but idk how you could get raped and laugh after? then her roommate comes out and we all introduced ourselves and she dipped to class. then I’m telling Ian we gotta dip back to the airport.
Anderson confirmed that her other roommate—not Hunter—was home, in her bedroom at the other end of the apartment. She also says that Connor did have a friend with him when he arrived, a detail she did not include in her original account. “His friend was on the couch in the living room, and me and Ian were in my room,” she says. “And that’s when everything happened.” Anderson also confirms that her roommate did meet Connor and his friend before they left.
Posts on Connor’s own Instagram account from October 5—one with a geotag that reads Atlanta International Airport and a caption that reads “Atlanta, Ga – 7:15 a.m.,” and a second tagged Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, with a caption that says it was taken at “1:05 p.m.”—have been flooded with comments from other Instagram users as proof that he wasn’t with Anderson that day. An Instagram geotag is hardly a smoking gun toward proving or disproving Connor’s whereabouts, but, Anderson says this timeline lines up with her account of what happened. “He came in the morning, and then he did what he did, and then he left,” she says. “That was it. He wasn’t there for very long.”
Anderson denies that she is the girl in a photo circulated on Twitter purported to be from Connor’s Snapchat, depicting a girl on all fours, bottomless, in front of a mirror.
For a time, Anderson says she left Atlanta and went home. “After she came to the realization of what happened to her, that’s when the emotional turmoil really took place,” Hunter says.
“I left school for a few weeks because I just couldn’t do it,” Anderson says. “I ended up coming back because I was like, ‘I’m not throwing my semester away for this idiot.’ It took a lot of people giving me love for me to realize that despite my struggles, my life is not over. This isn’t going to define me. I still have moves to make. I still have things to learn. I still have people to inspire.”