(BOSTON, MA) — In today’s digital age, where entertainment news publications compete to release the most salacious gossip, one Instagram account stands out: DeuxMoi. She exposes the private lives of public figures and airs rumors, prompting the question: does her work qualify her as a bona fide journalist?
The name behind the account is still a mystery, although Hailey Bieber supposedly knows who she is. Vanity Fair reports that DeuxMoi got a flurry of buzz during the pandemic with a simple call to action on an Instagram story: “Celeb stories (first or second hand) you are willing to share.” Her page has kept her readers interested with gossip ranging from celebrity relationships “I can confirm about Timothée and Kylie,” to boy bands getting back together “something is happening with NSYNC… beyond the VMAS, but it’s super under wraps.”
DeuxMoi has garnered a following of 2 million fans captivated by her “blind items”—anonymous tidbits about celebrity lives, often contributed by those in the stars’ inner circles.
Obscure descriptors replace the names of the people discussed to avoid libel lawsuits. If the rumor is proven true, the blind is edited to reveal the celebrity’s name. For example, “A-list super-hero actor” could refer to any respective Marvel or DC actors, “famous model sister” allegedly refers to Kendall Jenner, and so forth. It’s all part of the intrigue.
Sometimes, harmless submissions lead readers to act like paparazzi, resulting in the posting of celebrities’ names, such as “Walked past Tswift and a friend in East Village” or “Sat next to Emma Stone and her husband at the play Infinite Life.” Other times, blind items are so appalling, the public’s reaction sparks a movement. Crazy Days and Nights, another gossip account, was the first to publicly share the rumors about Harvey Weinstein’s crimes in a blind. “The problem is the guy just doesn’t love women, he also loves teens. As in underage teens. As in 16 and 17 year old teens … This will be revealed.”
Anonymous tip-based news has a long history in journalism and is not unique to celebrity gossip. Think back to Watergate, when sources sought protection while revealing crucial information in one of the most significant journalism breakthroughs.
The Washington Post’s tip-page details how to submit news without being traced, through sharing apps like SecureDrop, described as a “whistleblower submission system.” Is DeuxMoi a celebrity whistleblower? Perhaps that term is too strong as pop-culture gossip isn’t as significant as political scandals. A more fair descriptor may be ‘digital confessional.’
But DeuxMoi, one may argue, can’t be called a journalist just on the basis that she protects her sources and receives tips. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics outlines that journalists must: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable and transparent.
While traditional reporting prioritizes fact-checking, DeuxMoi takes a more collaborative approach to seeking the truth. She opens the door to rumors submitted by the public and reposts them while occasionally disbanding her own hot take on the reliability of the sources. DeuxMoi acknowledges that not everything she posts may be true, but what makes this account so unique is that the page presents a platform for followers to debate the authenticity of said rumors.
“Some statements made on this account have not been independently confirmed. This account does not claim information published is based in fact,” reads her bio. She seeks the truth about celebrities’ personal lives with minimal effort, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions and absolving herself of any responsibility. “Believe what you want, or don’t believe any of what is posted. This was started for F-U-N,” she shares in her FAQs.
Yet, DeuxMoi insists she follows an ethical code. In an interview with the DailyMail, DeuxMoi reveals, “I do have standards and lines I won’t cross. If a celeb comes to me and doesn’t want to be posted I will respect that.” However, her blinds have revealed divorces, cheating scandals, spoken about celebrities’ children, and so forth. They’ve also been proven wrong. Lana Del Rey commented, “defamation is wrong” after DeuxMoi had claimed the star was seen screaming at a Target employee for selling her album before it had been released. The source never confirmed its claims and the gossip account issued a statement.
While DeuxMoi may have started the page as a hobby, it has since transformed into its own entity with separate ventures, including the publication of Anon Pls: A Novel in 2022 and the production of the DeuxU, a celebrity gossip podcast. These expansions blur the lines between her independence and her financial interests, raising questions about her journalistic integrity.
At its core, DeuxMoi engages in the fundamental acts of news-sharing, collecting information from sources and presenting it publicly. So, does she qualify as a journalist? The answer may remain as elusive as the secrets she uncovers. What is clear though, is that DeuxMoi occupies a unique space in today’s media landscape, challenging us to reconsider the boundaries of journalism. And, if you asked DeuxMoi, she refutes the title. “I’m not an investigative journalist, I’m not trying to play one, so things fall through the cracks.”