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One of TikTok’s Biggest Stars Roasts Dudes for Their Misogyny, Racism, and Fatphobia

Drew Afualo, TikTok’s misogyny watchdog, is using trolls’ tactics against them and giving her 7.5 million followers some laughs.

Afualo

Afualo

Photographer: Savanna Reudy for Bloomberg Businessweek

Drew Afualo’s laugh is a weapon, a cri de coeur, and a cleansing fire. It’s a staccato, full-chested explosion of high-pitched emotion and outrage. It’s also brimming with the shock of recognition: Of course this jerk would say that. Afualo says it’s just how Polynesian people laugh (she’s Samoan), but she deploys it as a kind of punchline and for a very specific purpose. She makes some of the most popular videos on TikTok, the app that effectively owns youth culture, by roasting dudes online.

The common threads uniting her targets are racism, fatphobia, and above all, misogyny, a poison familiar to any woman who’s voiced an opinion on the internet or walked a busy city street. In a typical video, which comes in at under three minutes, she shows a clip of a man shouting something about how he’d never date a fat woman or how a girl needs to try harder with her appearance. Then she cuts back in to laugh at him and break down what a loser he is.