Acacia quickly capitalized on Tumblr’s fame for success in other areas and amassed over 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and 2 million followers on Instagram. As she got older, her content changed. She started dating Jairus Kersey, singer of the rock band Alive Like Me, in 2015 and documented their romance on a new joint YouTube channel. The couple moved in together before Acacia was 18 and gave birth to their first child, Brinley, in 2017, and their second, Rosemary, also known as Rosie, in 2018, shortly after their marriage. They had a third child, Kali, in 2020.
Acacia’s life has changed a lot during her time living in public, but her haters have never wavered. They went from calling her a whore and messy teen to criticizing her as a bad mom. Twitter accounts devoted to her hate have blasted the toys she gave Brinley, what she fed her, and more.
After Rosie was born, critics became even more strident. Rosie suffers from a disability that went undiagnosed for the first year or so of her life and led to wild speculation online. People have accused Acacia of hating Rosie, neglecting it and not acknowledging or treating her condition. Acacia’s eventual public revelation that Rosie was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Alagille syndrome did little to quell criticism.
As I’m sure her haters are now screaming, Acacia has been hit by a lot of public mistakes. In 2020, I apologized for the racist tweets and Tumblr posts I wrote and reappeared. I’ve got to hate bringing back pets. Recently, another creator accused Acacia of copying a series of Instagram presets from her. I’m sure people who hate acacia could bump up a series of things I’ve done wrong over the years if we asked.
But if you try to understand why these events led to such intense hatred of acacia online, you are probably still confused. The truth is that it doesn’t make sense. For many, an acacia, to use the language of the snark internet forums, has become a cracker-eating whore. The term means that you hate a person so much, everything they do annoys you. (Look at that bitch eating cookies like she owns the place!)
To its critics, hating acacia is a lifestyle rather than a stage. They derive pleasure from watching her life and then finding ways to hate everything about her. She’s not the only online personality to receive this kind of treatment. Countless influencers and creators have maintained their fame not despite having a huge army of haters but perhaps because of them. For some reason, online groups tend to enjoy finding a woman you hate and following them with the same extreme loyalty that fans do. It is a phenomenon as old as the Internet itself.
However, Acacia discontinues the free offer that represents her life. Having mostly been silent on the radio since July, she returned to announce her retirement this week. Acacia said she has decided she is done sharing her life and that of her family for the enjoyment of fans and haters on the internet. As she explained, it was a difficult decision for her to make. She has been able to make money and support her family from her impressive income for years, and it is very difficult to give up a stable and profitable career, no matter how harmful it may be to a person. But Acacia decided the money was no longer worth the price it was paying.
The most moving part of Acacia’s announcement is her revelation that she knows her career is hurting her but has no idea how to live without her. Her life is similar to that of a child star, her time in the spotlight is all they have ever known. Acacia said that being afraid of what she is without the internet is debilitating.
“Fear has kept me here for longer than I can even admit,” she wrote. “The fear of what would happen if I stopped bringing in the money, the fear of what I could even present to the world, the fear of what I would be without this because it’s all I ever know.”
Seems optimistic, though. She and Jayrus wrote looking for a place to live in Oregon, somewhere “practical and safe.” Jairus will be working full time to support their family, and Acacia plans to be a stay-at-home mom and start a creative side business. Perhaps you will return to the Internet one day, but not for profit. “I will not rely on social media for the survival of my family,” she wrote.
Of course, haters also came for her retirement position, calling her “pathetic” and “cowardly” and mocking Jayrus for losing his drunk mother. But at this point, does that really matter? Acacia is gone. Her family lives offline, and now she doesn’t have to care what anyone else thinks.