Girl Fight

Who Started Zoella’s Ghostwriting Witch Hunt in the First Place?

Did Zoella use a ghostwriter for Girl Online? (Photo: YouTube / Twitter)

As everyone knows, Zoella is currently having a ghostwriting non-scandal that forced her to temporarily “quit” the internet.

Update: If you’re looking for the NEW blog ghostwriting drama, click here.

But how did the scandal even start? We’ve combined some reader tips, with our own investigations – and have the answer.

A Gurugossiper Member Makes a Tumblr Page

According to our tipster, the whole brouhaha was initially kick-started by a member on the Gurugossiper forum, PayjamaPants, who compiled a page on Tumblr on November 24th. The original page can be found here.

The blog post was under the account name “slugella”, which presumably is a portmanteau of the words “slug” and “Zoella”.


While it was not a particularly popular post, with only around 80 notes at the time, it still managed to rank on the first page of Google’s search results when searching for “Zoella ghostwriter”.

The post mentioned that ghostwriter Siobhan Curham made a blog post on her personal website about how she wrote a novel in just six weeks (which was later deleted).

This specific post started gaining traction among the Twitterati, and the beauty blogger community..

The Accusations Gain Traction in Social Media

The specific pieces of evidence mentioned in the Tumblr post started spreading throughout social media throughout the week.

One of the people that picked it up, was beauty blogger Hayley Carr, better known as London Beauty Queen.

On December 2, Hayley tweeted a message, saying that an “untouchable” blogger may have had her book ghostwritten, hinting it was Zoella.

Accused of ghostwriting.

HolyMoly Writes the First Mainstream News Article about the Accusations

HolyMoly writer Becca Day-Preston stumbled upon Hayley’s tweets on the same day, and decided to write up an informal article on it. Becca specially mentions Hayley’s tweets as the source of inspiration.

Zoella’s Publicity Team Tries to Distract from the Accusations

Zoella’s publisher, or management, decided to issue a press release on December 2 – that mentioned how she had a record-breaking debut, even beating the debut of Harry Potter.

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Was it a coincidence that it was released on the same day that ghostwriting accusations started to surface in the media?

The record-breaking debut became a worldwide news story that was covered in major media outlets – burying the ghostwriting story.

British Media Outlets Start to Pick up the Ghostwriting Story, Followed By The Rest

After the “record-breaking” angle of Zoella’s debut ran its course, British media outlets started to cover the ghostwriting accusations.

Following HolyMoly, The Telegraph was one of the earliest who covered the ghostwriting story, which is surprising – as Zoella’s management company often gives exclusives to The Telegraph.

On the other hand, The Independent wrote the most in-depth investigation into the accusations.

From there, the story started to snowball, reaching outlets in Australia and the United States.

Is Zoella’s Book Actually Ghost-Written, and by Whom?

The publisher was eventually forced to admit the book was ghostwritten, and Siobhan Curham was the writer, who was with Zoella “every step of the way”.

Siobham Curham.

Talented author Siobham Curham. (Photo: Twitter)

Zoella found the scandal too much to handle, and decided to take an internet break, which ironically increased the lifespan of the ghostwriting story.

Are you #TeamZoella, or do you think ghostwriting of any kind is abhorrent? Comment below!

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