Popular Fanfiction Writer Accused of Grooming Underage Readers
Harry Styles fanfic Tempted was removed from Wattpad after its author, Ella (known as @WatermellaSugar and @WindowsElla), was accused of inappropriate behavior with young readers. She denies many of the accusations.
Who is WatermellaSugar?
Author WatermellaSugar, known to many fans as just "Ella", had a multitude of wildly popular Harry Styles fanfiction stories on Wattpad and Inkitt. Her writing was sexually explicit and sometimes transgressive, featuring BDSM and "daddy kink" as major themes. It had been removed along with her other work from Wattpad at least once around January of 2021 for violating the platform's standards.
"I give plenty of warnings in the beginning of my stories," she explained, defending the content in her books in February. "It's a fictional book for mature audiences. It's a toxic environment like MANY books on Wattpad, I didn't do anything exceptional."
After her books' removal, she created a new account—WindowsElla—where she reposted all of her stories.
Accusations of Unsolicited Nude Photos, Sexting, and Grooming
In the past several months, Ella has been accused of inappropriate online interactions with her readers, many of whom were minors at the time. At least eight young women came forward to report she had sent nude photos of herself and "sexts" to minors in both private and public chats. Many called out these behaviors as indicative of victim grooming, where a predator primes potential victims for abuse with other, more innocent-seeming behaviors.
One reader claimed that she requested nude photos in return from readers and became angry and threatening if they refused.
The following anonymous accounts were sent via private message to those cataloging the allegations on Twitter:
Possible Bullying and Gaslighting
In addition to sexually suggestive behavior, other fans came forward to report feeling gaslighted and/or shamed after sharing their private traumas with Ella in confidence.
"I felt comfortable and finally shared with her that I had been r*ped," said one anonymous reader. "When I told her I was drunk, she started sating it was my fault."
Another reader shared a very similar story...
"...I felt very comfortable with her, like to the point of telling her about my family and the fact that I risked being r*ped by a stranger. ... She started asking a lot of details about my relationship with my family and how it happened with that man... She began to tell me that my problems in the family are caused by me and my 'inappropriate' behavior, that my parents wanted to divorce because of meets.. and that surely what I told her I was wearing were lies and that it was obvious I was wearing something provocative."
After accusations continued to surface, she posted a public response that has since been deleted along with her account.
While she admitted to sharing nude photos in a group chat, but claims they were more innocent than described.
"There was a group chat where nudes were sent however from what I recall the only thing I ever sent was a picture of nipple piercing and the steamy mirror pictures (where nothing was visible) that I did post to the timeline."
She explained that she believed everyone in the chat to be over the age of eighteen, though at least one reader has since contradicted that claim.
I recognize that I cannot control everyone who follows me, but my account has always been labeled NSFW. This group chat that has come to light was supposed to be 18+, however it has now come out that it was not. It was extremely wrong of me not to explicitly clarify everyones age in the group.
It is worth noting that her Twitter account was indeed labeled "NSFW" and her stories came with very clear warnings that they featured sexual content and were intended for adults. This explanation, however, does not necessarily excuse sending unsolicited nude photos to her adult followers.
She went on to vehemently deny accusations that she shamed rape victims in any way.
I know people will say I'm invalidating those who sent the dms but the allegations about rape are not true. Rape is not a joke or something to shame people with, I have been sexually assaulted therefore I can't even wrap my head around the allegation that I said the rape was the victim's fault? This is very serious and I'm still in shock after reading it. No person deserves abuse, and I have tried to go through my dms to see who would claim I said that. However, I have not found an answer.
She also denied accusations that she lied about her age, slut-shamed readers, or threatened readers over nudes.
Ella's apology went over poorly with many fans, many of whom accused her of not taking responsibility for her actions and effectively blaming her victims. She announced later that day in a tweet that she would be leaving social media and seems to have closed all of her social media accounts at that time.
"To address the statement from this morning, I am very sorry that my apology has hurt people. My intent was to tell my side of the story. I recognize now that is not how it came acrossed and I am deeply sorry that I have made all victims feel as though I was blaming them."
"I take full responsibility for the action I have committed and it was in no way justified. Therefore, I will be stepping back from every social media to work on myself and my mental health."
She is no longer on Wattpad or Inkitt, though it is unclear if she personally deleted her accounts or if they were removed by moderators.
Fans are Divided
Many fans continue to support Ella on reading platforms and social media, arguing that claims were not backed up with any proof and that readers knew what they were signing up for when engaging with a known provocative and sexually open author. Others argue that the sheer volume of accusations is evidence in itself, and that we should trust those who were victimized because they lack any incentive to lie.
Her devout readers were vocally frustrated that her books disappeared from all platforms while many hadn't finished them. Several fans have taken it upon themselves to reupload Ella's stories to Wattpad through their own accounts. They seem to be disappearing as quickly as they are appearing, suggesting Wattpad moderators are removing them.