I Want to Believe: Babygate

There’s a funny rumor floating around that One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has fathered a fake baby. Do I believe it? Yes I do.

You may ask yourself, “What’s wrong with you, Lana?” or, “How can you attack an innocent infant and accuse it of being plastic?” Well, while some may argue that it’s just inherently wrong to disrupt a perfectly happy father and son, the mysterious circumstances surrounding Louis Tomlinson’s “child,” Freddie Reign, are too questionable to ignore.

A baby born into the world’s most popular boy band of the moment- a publicity stunt? A cover for gay relationships within the band? For a time, Louis Tomlinson was the forgotten member of One Direction, so are either of these guesses really a stretch?

Whenever anyone asked me who ‘the fifth one’ was, I described Louis as the oldest, the most elvish-looking, and the one constantly experimenting with different widths of horizontal stripes.

-Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Verge.

Rumors about the boy band members have circulated through the years (remember Larry Stylinson? Keep this in mind for later), but few have stuck as firmly as Babygate. One Direction fans are… intimidating, and one may rightfully think once or twice before crossing them, because there’s very little they won’t do… or in this case, very little that they can’t uncover. While it may be simple insanity that drives this theory, the evidence I’m about to present to you is shockingly damning. So buckle up, friends, because I’m about to take you on a whirlwind rollercoaster of f*ckery that may very well be true. (Spoiler alert, as I’m sure my writing reflects, I’m thoroughly convinced that the baby is plastic.)

Before we dive in, though, a disclaimer: I want to acknowledge the fact that Buzzfeed covered the story in a similar article last year, and while we’re discussing the same subject, any similarities that arise between my piece and Ellie Woodward’s are unintentional. The subject matter requires a very specific set of sources and images.

In this special edition of I Want to Believe (special because it’s extra-long and it’s the 30th issue), we’re going to talk about the conspiracy itself, but also follow-up issues: Larry Stylinson and the relationship between One Direction fans and the band’s management team. Just so you know in advance, this theory is dense- there are plenty of moving parts. Now, without further ado…

For those of you who don’t know what exactly is going on: according to major news outlets, Louis Tomlinson became a father to Freddie Reign Tomlinson on January 21st, 2016. Even though it’s been a little over a year, Freddie has mostly been kept out of the spotlight. Perhaps it was the initial lack of exposure that made fans suspicious, but over the course of the year, Directioners began to speculate that the child is not, in fact, real.

From this doubt, a beautiful conspiracy was born.

The conspiracy suggests that either Freddie Tomlinson doesn’t exist, or he’s a plastic baby doll. Believers in this theory cite almost anything from the long-standing Larry Stylinson conspiracy to the baby’s mother, Briana Jungwirth, herself. In the most comprehensive fashion I can manage, I’ll describe just why everyone thinks this child is nonexistent- or at least, not Louis’.

It’s hard to find a starting point, but some sources suggest that Louis Tomlinson’s management team has been planning Babygate for quite awhile. It begins when Louis and Briana are spotted leaving a Los Angeles club together. A manager associated with 1D (@annasprivate on Twitter) tweeted Louis’ location all night, likely alerting the paparazzi. Plenty of photos were taken, and the One Direction bloodhounds successfully tracked down video footage from that night.

In the video, at 29 seconds, a member of the paparazzi (singular: paparazzo?) can be clearly heard saying, “This one’s for The Sun.” Remember this, we’ll backtrack later.

One month after Louis and Briana were photographed leaving the club- exactly one month, mind you- Louis was filmed throwing a baby doll offstage at a concert. Foreshadowing?



Regardless of whatever this weird behavior signified, now back to The Sun; the importance of this? Surprise, the photo that was taken the night Briana and Louis left the club was used to announce Briana’s pregnancy in “One Conception,” (that title makes it sound religious, guys, come on), a front page exclusive for The Sun two months later.

Fast forward a little bit to November 2015: this picture was taken when Louis was in Los Angeles, after his friend gave birth to twins. Look at the hair. Memorize that hair.

This will be important later.

Now, Louis and Briana reportedly split in December 2015, just before Briana’s due date. Afterward, in those few months before Freddie was born, Louis was spotted fraternizing with Danielle Campbell and fan Charlotte Holland. Maybe when you’re rich and famous, you don’t have to worry about trivial things such as preparing to be a dad- maybe he was just having fun, a last hurrah. Even so, fans and neutral observers alike found it pretty odd that Tomlinson was seemingly unconcerned with his baby mama’s impending childbirth.

Suddenly, the baby pops out. January 21st, 2016, a day that will live in infamy. Louis is spotted casually buying sunglasses with a hospital bracelet on- sure enough, he was photographed doing so.

As if the paparazzi were tipped off about his whereabouts, to prove something. To prove he’d been at the hospital, for goodness sake? Many fans take this as proof that Tomlinson’s management team is desperate, as if to say “Hey, look at this! Hospital bracelet!! Baby alert!!”

Pause- I see you rolling your eyes. I promise this isn’t the serious evidence. We’re just getting started. Unpause.

Most celebrities call the paps themselves (or their publicist do), or the celebs go to places known to be full of paparazzi. Some are followed a lot because of relevant drama happening in their lives, and the first pictures of the paparazzi at that moment would bring lot of $$$.

-Anonymous contributor, Digital Spy Paparazzi forums.

Curiously, plenty of photos featuring Louis and Briana were taken on private property, or conveniently when one of them is doing something Freddie-related. They’re no stranger to the cameras. Is it really a stretch to say that maybe, just maybe, the paparazzi was tipped off?

So when Freddie is officially “born,” Louis dutifully shows Instagram his plastic spawn.

Just look at that fake baby, being fake.

Warning: here comes an influx of Ellie Woodward’s blood, sweat, and tears- that is, all of the pictures she strove so hard to gather. I want to stress the fact that she did a lot of the heavy lifting and image searching- you go girl.

Anyway, this first picture of Louis and Freddie is strikingly different than every other photo on Louis’ Instagram, as he doesn’t really post in black and white.

The well-known fact that black and white photos are much easier to doctor than full color images led tech-savvy fans to analyze the photo in GREAT detail.

I mean, really. The more you look, the less real the photo appears. Look at the difference in the shadows, and the poor blending:

As the Tumblr Photoshop guru said, “Photoshop doesn’t lie.” One fan found an old picture of Louis at a signing and overlaid it with the Freddie layer, only to create a near-identical image of the Instagram upload.

The Photoshop issue is a big part of this theory, because most of the mistakes in the Freddie-Louis photos involve Louis’ tattoos- or lack thereof. In the following pictures, pieces of or entire tattoos are missing in Louis’ images.

Below is Louis’ 78 tattoo, which is big enough to be plainly seen in most of the Freddie photos.

In the image below, you should be able to see the 78 between Louis’ fingers- but it’s nowhere to be seen. That, plus the length of Louis’ hair (told you it would come back) were pretty obvious mistakes.

After Louis posted this image, he was seen in public and photographed by the paparazzi- with hair that was considerably longer than it was in the Instagram photo.

At the time of Freddie’s birth, his hair was not short, so for it to suddenly appear short in images with the baby, when he is later photographed AGAIN with long hair… Suspicious. Call me extra all you want, but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for hair to grow that fast. Because of these discrepancies, some fans theorize that the “Freddie” photos were taken in November 2015, back when Louis’ hair was that length, and his friend had just given birth- borrowing a real baby for the perfect photo op.

(A reminder of what his hair looked like back then. It’s just slicked back.)

If that weren’t damning enough, right after Freddie’s birth, “Louis” tweeted this, earning criticism from longtime fans who didn’t recognize it as Louis’ normal tweeting style.

Usually, Louis tweets “like this !”:

Thus leading many to believe that his management team tweeted the Freddie tweet on Louis’ behalf.

A misstep on the management team’s part- but whatever, it’s just a tweet. The lamest thing is, the parents can’t even get their son’s birthday right.

If you think that’s wild, get ready for these bombshells…

Briana’s friend posted this tweet, claiming that Briana had sent the image to her.

Side note: I had that picture saved on my laptop under the name, “lies.png.”

The catch is, the photo belongs to a random lifestyle blogger named Amber, who, in fact, has nothing to do with 1D, Briana, or fake little Freddie.

Fans were quick to compare both Amber’s and Briana’s post-birth photos.

The first image is Amber and her precious smol bab. The following picture is Briana’s- supposedly.

It looks like the same person. Mother or not, Briana engages in some pretty shady behavior, photo-wise. Apparently, copying Amber wasn’t enough; fans compared pictures Briana posted to her Instagram that seem to be nearly identical to blogger- and new mom- Roxetera.

The selfie on top is from Roxetera’s Instagram. Briana later uploaded the selfie below it.

They’re almost identical, but in the image below, Briana’s eye color seems to be darker, not so Roxetera-blue.

I mean, at this point, everyone is looking for proof that the baby is fake. One fan even called into question Briana’s decision to walk out of the hospital after giving birth, whereas most or all women use a wheelchair on hospital property. Not only is it a hospital liability, but she just pushed a child out of her uterus. I’d be tired, man.

Fans cite this image, comparing it to normal hospital procedures.

Girl, sit your ass down. If you really did just have a baby, you deserve it.

This, plus the simple fact that the paparazzi was there to document Briana’s leaving the hospital at all (considering it was on private property), is considerably ~sketch~.

If you can somehow write off this whole hospital thing as unimportant, just wait, there’s more. Louis also looks shockingly similar to this Instagram model, so some people are wondering if it was actually him in the photos at all. Fans have noticed that dad Horacio Pancheri could very well be Tomlinson’s doppelganger.

The resemblance is pretty uncanny.

Maybe One Direction’s management hired Horacio for a Louis-themed modeling shoot?

Whatever the case, fans have speculated further about the possibility of little Freddie Reign being a baby doll. There have been in-depth analyses on paparazzi photos of the baby, because the child always has his eyes closed. I don’t even sleep that much.

Plus, there are some doll makers who can make babies look pretty real with some makeup…

Likewise, later photos that were uploaded of the child were also questioned, such as Freddie’s never-changing limbs. How can his hand position be identical in three different images?

Alright, so they’re hands. Big deal. The hand positions aren’t nearly as incriminating as this image, which caused an Instagram uproar after Briana posted it to her official account.

The baby feet picture was the subject of heavy criticism, simply because “no two-month-old can splay their feet like that.”

If you search Google for “baby feet,” you’ll find pictures like these:

But if you search “baby doll feet”…

These images are decidedly more similar to fake Freddie’s feet on Briana’s Instagram… But all of it is pure speculation. Who can say for sure? The whole idea is pretty wild, and we might be subjected to all of Freddie’s fake adult life before we learn the truth.

I’m sure you’re exhausted after reading this, because I know I am. Blah blah, proof proof. Well, you all know my opinion- oh God, wow, I can’t take it. It’s just. So. Fake. Out of all the theories I’ve covered in I Want to Believe, this is the one I’m the most thoroughly convinced of.

Whew, are you still with me? I know that was information overload- so thanks for sticking around. Now that you understand where this not-so-ridiculous theory comes from, we can open the floodgates for other issues surrounding the Babygate conspiracy: Larry Stylinson, and the relationship between One Direction fans and their management team.

As most of the world knows, One Direction fans are incredibly devoted to the band; their love is unwavering, supporting theories of secret relationships within 1D and even Zayn’s departure… So what makes Louis’ baby so difficult to accept?

Some believe the tension between One Direction fans and the child stems from 1D’s management team, whom we’ve mentioned before. The team, called Modest! management, has been a sore spot with Directioners for years, and it’s not just because of Babygate; fans have had issues with plenty of decisions Modest! has made for the band. The following problems are by no means the only issues fans have had with the management team- but for the sake of time, I’ve narrowed it down to a few.

Years ago, Modest! scheduled One Direction on Radio Disney and Nickelodeon. These appearances resulted in stricter monitoring for the band’s behavior, and 1D fans critique them heavily, because One Direction was already huge without the extra coverage.

If they needed to be on TV again, couldn’t they just have done another documentary? We would prefer that to risking having them lose both their personalities and the respect of anyone older than 15 by going on a Nickelodeon TV show.

-Anonymous fan for Stop One Direction’s Management.

Fans argue that if One Direction needed television coverage so badly, they could’ve at least gone to MTV. They’d be more likely to be respected on Music Television as opposed to guest-starring on iCarly. Fame amongst children would increase income, albeit at the expense of the band’s reputation.

Fans also compare the band’s freedom at the beginning of their popularity to its peak; it’s natural that security would steadily increase as their popularity soared, but the freedom in question wasn’t so much the freedom to move around as it was behavioral restrictions. As they made deals with organizations like Disney and Nickelodeon, the band members were suffocated by what they could and couldn’t do. Directioners didn’t appreciate the management team for putting their boys under wraps, and they worried about the band members’ well-beings as they couldn’t completely be themselves in the public eye.

I guess that’s something that comes with fame, but Directioners didn’t want their band to become a joke in the eyes of the adult music world- which I think is pretty valid.

With these issues in tow, the bitterness towards Modest! Management seems to be pretty well-founded. Directioners believe that the management team has manipulated the band into something they’re not… Which introduces a larger issue. A good portion of 1D fans firmly believe that Modest! is hiding Larry Stylinson, a supposed relationship between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. If this were true, not only would Modest! be controlling 1D’s behavior, but their private lives.

If Larry Stylinson is real and their management is forcing them to hide their relationship, that’s a new level of f*cked. Unfortunately, Larry Stylinson is such a complex theory that it could have its own I Want to Believe piece, so it’s not easy to give a quick lowdown on it. Let’s just say there’s a significant heap of evidence that hints at the possibility of Harry X Louis.

I’m not saying it’s real, just possible.

Harry hasn’t commented on Babygate itself, but according to Hollywood Life, Styles is “very proud,” and “impressed,” with dad-Louis.

He thinks [Louis] is a complete natural and has found his true calling- fatherhood.

-Anonymous source for Hollywood Life.

Aw, what a supportive boyfriend, but it really can’t be that hard to father a plastic baby doll.

Even if Harry and Louis weren’t together, Modest! would still have them in a vice, controlling their every move. Hence the criticisms of Louis’ random ass baby, which could be just a normal child, a publicity stunt, or a cover for Louis’ sexual preference.

Hey guys, he’s straight because he has a baby.

Whatever the case, I’ve drawn a few conclusions from this investigation: Modest! management seems to be full of douchebags, Briana Jungwirth is a lowkey liar whether she really had the baby or not, and Louis hasn’t really defended his infant son- and yes, he has heard of Babygate- so I don’t know what to make of that.

I’ve read plenty of conspiracies, but I know that Babygate is a lot to digest. It’s on par with other wild famous people theories (Elvis and Michael Jackson are both still alive, Paul McCartney is dead, the like), so if you’re curious, there’s more information- and more proof- out there. Google it. Otherwise… Guess what? You made it to the end!

So now I ask you… Is Freddie Reign Tomlinson a real baby, a publicity stunt, or a doll? Is it a cover for Larry Stylinson? What’s your verdict?

.    .    .

Resources, because God knows I couldn’t come up with this myself:

Photos that are not immediately credited beneath the image are courtesy of 18met16; 18met16. “Babygate Timeline.” 18met16. N.p., 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Mink, Casey. “Louis Tomlinson Abandons Baby Mama Briana Jungwirth: New Girlfriend? Report.” Hollywood Life. N.p., 09 Dec. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

“Freddie Tomlinson.” Famous Birthdays. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Woodward, Ellie. “There’s A Wild Conspiracy Theory That Louis Tomlinson’s Baby Is Fake.” BuzzFeed. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Tiffany, Kaitlyn. “Who Decided That Louis Tomlinson’s Baby Is Fake, Why, and Is He?” The Verge. The Verge, 08 Apr. 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Louis Tomlinson & Briana Jungwirth Leave a Club in LA. Dir. Stupidfamouspeople. Perf. Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth. YouTube. YouTube, 14 May 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Lim, Jess. “There’s A Batsh*t Crazy Conspiracy Theory That Louis Tomlinson’s Baby Isn’t Real.” MTV. N.p., 07 Apr. 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

“How Do the Paparazzi Know Where the Celebrities Are?” Digital Spy. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Cox, Lauren. “Louis Tomlinson: Harry Styles Impressed That He’s Such A Great ‘Natural’ Dad.” Hollywood Life. N.p., 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Anonymous. “Management Issues MasterPost.” Tumblr. Stop One Direction’s Management, 30 Apr. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.

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