Nineteen-year-old TikTok star Zoe Laverne has apologised after being caught kissing a 13-year old fan and fellow TikTok creator called Connor.
Zoe, who has almost 18 million followers on the video sharing platform, admitted that she knew what took place between her and Connor was wrong, but insisted: "I'm not a pedophile."
"I didn't groom Connor, I wouldn't do that. He's a kid and I'm aware of that. It just happened," Zoe said of the kiss, which was allegedly filmed and leaked on social media.
"We both were in a dark place when we first became friends and we both just ended up catching feelings for each other. And friends do that, they catch feelings for each other," she continued.
"That's not a bad thing. Yes, the age is a bad thing. Yes, it's wrong. Yes, it's not good. We both realised that and we stopped."
Zoe added that the pair, who she says became "best friends", tried to keep the incident to themselves.
"We didn't want this to happen, we knew this was wrong," she said.
"I'm not a pedophile. I will continue to say that. Yes, I am labelled as an adult but I am still a teenager. And we all mess up."
Zoe said she's no longer speaking to Connor, that neither of them are "proud" of what happened and that they are both sorry.
According to the Daily Mail, a former friend of Zoe accused the TikTok star of misconduct in a series of messages to Zoe's ex-boyfriend, which were leaked online.
The friend called Zoe's interactions with Connor "very intense", adding: "It's something I do not stand by whatsoever. It's pedophilia."
Connor, who's Instagram and TikTok accounts are now private, shared an update to his Instagram Story last week in which he wrote "Zoe did not rape me".
Insider reports that Zoe also made a series of statements on her private Instagram account, in which she said she was receiving therapy and claimed she told Connor's mother of the incident shortly after it happened.
Zoe's mother also spoke out about the controversy on social media, defending her daughter's actions.
"Anybody can reach over and kiss somebody. They're best friends!" she said.
"This needs to stop you guys," she said of the backlash her daughter was receiving. "Why are you doing this?"
Zoe has disabled comments on all of her Instagram posts.