- 23-year-old actor Nancy Kimball played a character called Alice for a TikTok series.
- The character was run by entertainment startup FourFront, which manages similar accounts on TikTok.
- When Kimball’s identity was exposed, she said she was left to deal with the public fallout.
In March 2021, a 23-year-old actor named Nancy Kimball signed a contract with entertainment startup FourFront to play a fictional character named “Alice,” a teenager with an incarcerated father, on TikTok.
While Kimball would film herself acting as Alice with scripts from FourFront’s team, the company managed the TikTok account, @antialice, and its comments.
Things were going well until late April, when viewers learned that Kimball was not actually a teenager by the name of Alice.
Kimball told Insider that after she was exposed as an actor, she was left to deal with the repercussions. FourFront deleted the account but did not publicly take credit for running the account.
FourFront recently revealed that many of its fictional TikTok characters exist together in one fictional universe. Those accounts are now clearly labeled as fictional characters. But in the spring of 2021, the “Alice” account was not.
“Being at the lowest level of control, but also being the face of something, was a very weird position to be in, especially as an early career actor,” Kimball told Insider.
Kimball was exposed as the actor playing Alice in April following a viral TikTok video
Kimball described her character, Alice, as a 17-year-old with a father in prison for murder and who was bullied at school (her videos are no longer available online). Kimball said that FourFront employees would engage with viewers in the comments from the @antialice account, something that other FourFront accounts like @thatsthetia also do.
On April 21, one of Kimball’s former high school classmates, Rae Hendricks (@ninedogsinatrenchcoat on TikTok), posted a video about a person from her high school who became an actor and appeared to be posing as a fictional character on TikTok. The video has amassed approximately 1 million views.
Hendricks did not mention Kimball or the @antialice account by name, but alleged that the person was “essentially lying to minors online for money.” Still, viewers quickly put the pieces together. Some videos about the account on TikTok also contain the claim that some young people took the account at face value and shared sympathy for “Alice.”
The Daily Dot reported on the backlash in May, several weeks after the initial wave of controversy around the account.
“It made me ill to see all these minors in her comments relating to ‘her’ trauma, and then seeing ‘her’ respond as if she were really a 17 year old with an incarcerated parent,” Hendricks told Insider in a recent interview, reiterating the claim that young people were sympathizing with @antialice’s content. “That’s really all I wanted to discuss in the video I posted.”
Kimball told Insider that her exposure led to harassment on her personal social media accounts, phone calls to her agency asking them to drop her, and threats of doxxing. Hendricks said in a follow-up video at the time that she didn’t condone
nor harassment of Kimball.
Kimball said that FourFront asked her to personally reach out to Hendricks to request she remove the video, rather than the company doing so. Hendricks confirmed to Insider that she declined to remove the video, but did turn off its comments.
FourFront co-founder Ilan Benjamin confirmed to Insider that the company did not reach out to Hendricks to remove the video, saying that they felt at the time that Kimball reaching out would be “the most compassionate way to end the controversy” given that they knew each other.
The account was shut down without FourFront revealing its involvement
On April 22, FourFront took down the @antialice account. However, it did so without first disclosing that the company ran the account and hired Kimball as an actor.
Kimball’s contract for the “Alice” character, which Insider reviewed, included a clause meant to protect actors from these situations. It states that if the role put the actor’s reputation or safety at risk, as determined by the producer “in good faith,” the company would authorize the actor to publicly disclose that they were playing a fictional character.
Benjamin told Insider over email that “if [Kimball] had come to us at any point and said she wanted to go public, we absolutely would have.”
Kimball told Insider that while the company was not “unkind or cruel,” she felt that the onus was on her as an individual to deal with the backlash.
“Things went as badly as they could have with an acting job like this and despite the clause that they said they would ‘in good faith’ make a public statement, they never did,” Kimball told Insider.
FourFront began to disclose that its characters were fictional in the wake of the ‘Alice’ incident
Benjamin told Insider that this incident was a “catalyst” to clearly state on character accounts that those people were fictional. He also said that the company agreed that Alice’s story, which critics claimed inspired sympathy from some viewers, was “not a good creative decision,” and he understood why people were offended by it.
Kimball said she wished that she could have “demystified” what was actually happening with the account to followers who were upset. And had the account disclosed that Alice was fictional, Hendricks said that she may not have reacted so strongly.
Now, Kimball worries that the incident could impact her budding acting career.
“I’m still trying to figure out how to fully enter the industry,” Kimball told Insider. “Having things that are going to look so weird behind me, that’s the part of it that’s personally upsetting, aside from not actually being able to respond and assist people that were upset.”