West Elm Caleb
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West Elm Caleb is the name of an alleged serial dater who dated and ghosted a significant amount of women in New York City via the online dating app Hinge and was discovered to have been telling them the same lies and sending unsolicited "dick pics." After allegedly manipulating influential TikTokers, their videos about the experience caused multiple women to say they had a similar experience with the same man, subsequently starting a trend on TikTok and Twitter in early 2022. The nickname given to Caleb stems from the fact that he supposedly works as a furniture designer for the West Elm brand.
On January 11th, 2022, TikToker @meemshou posted a video about getting "ghosted" (a term used in dating meaning to suddenly cease communication without explanation) by a man, captioning the video, "This one’s dedicated to Caleb. No hard feelings though you were too tall."
On January 15th and 16th, TikTok influencer @kateglavan provided updates about the man she was about to go on a date with, expressing excitement and describing him as tall and financially stable (shown below).
On January 18th, @meemshou posted a video saying that after her "dedicated to Caleb" video, she received many messages from people asking if she meant "West Elm Caleb," alerting her to something being amiss with the man. Evidently, Caleb had ghosted multiple New York City women before, claiming that he'd "deleted" the dating app Hinge after matching with them and that he wasn't on social media before disappearing from their lives after one or two dates. She also claimed she saw a TikTok video of an unnamed woman getting ready for a date potentially with Caleb, and offered a word of warning to any New York City women who might encounter the man.
Also on January 18th, 2022, kateglavan posted a video saying she saw meemshou's video about Caleb's dating habits and expressed her dismay at his character (shown below, left). The same day, user kellsbellsbaby posted that she too had been seeing West Elm Caleb for six weeks before meemshou's video alerted her of his history (shown below, right).
On January 19th, kateglavan posted her updates on the situation, explaining that she'd been in contact with the other TikTokers and discovered that Caleb had actually woken up in kellsbellsbaby's bed the morning of their date (shown below, left). The same day, meemshou posted a video celebrating that she'd "taken down" a dating app villain in NYC (shown below, right). The saga also inspired other NYC TikTokers to post about their experiences with the man.
While many on the app were excited to see Caleb exposed for his manipulative dating tactics, not all shared in the glee at his comeuppance. Journalist Taylor Lorenz posted a TikTok on January 19th in which she called the "mass cancelation" of Caleb horrifying, saying his supposed crimes didn't fit the vitriol he was receiving (shown below).
On January 20th, 2022, Lorenz also pointed to a TikTok where a woman shows a text where Caleb apologized to a woman he was seeing, saying he thinks he seeks validation in getting new people to like him and that he's actively seeking help (shown below).
This ends with a text where he’s clearly struggling and acknowledges that and now he’s being used for internet clout pic.twitter.com/pCfjujc2FS
— Taylor Lorenz--- ON BOOK LEAVE (@TaylorLorenz) January 20, 2022
On January 19th on Twitter, user @NotJulietOk joked that the next Saturday Night Live episode would feature Pete Davidson playing West Elm Caleb (shown below).
Backlash / Cyberbullying Accusations
In the week after the West Elm Caleb story became a trending topic, public opinion began to publically shift more towards sympathy for Caleb and against the TikTokers who helped the story go viral, with some alleging cyberbullying toward Caleb. For example, on January 21st, 2022, Twitter user @abbygov argued the "mass vilification" of Caleb showed "how entitled people tend to be when it comes to modern dating" (shown below, left). User @tnwhiskeywoman tweeted her opinion that while what Caleb allegedly did was not good, he did not "need all his private information exposed" (shown below, right).
Others began to make negative comments and memes about Kate Glavan, one of the main influencers responsible for the story going viral. For example, user @RealYouTubeKids posted a comparison between Glavan and a poster for The Purge, gaining over 40 retweets and 630 likes (shown below, left). User @SophNart0747 posted a comparison between Glavan and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, gaining over 90 retweets and 2,800 likes (shown below, right).
This and a flood of negative comments on her posts appear to have caused Glavan to delete her Twitter account. On January 21st, she posted her take on the viral story, agreeing with commenters that the level of vitriol directed towards Caleb was unwarranted (shown below). She then deleted her other TikToks related to the story.
 Twitter – NotJulietOK
 Twitter – @tnwhiskeywoman
 Twitter – @RealYouTubeKids
 Twitter – @sophnar0747
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Jan 20, 2022 at 05:07PM EST
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Jan 20, 2022 at 06:32PM EST
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