At first glance, Bebop and Bebe, a TikTok page with more than two million followers, looks like a typical, albeit somewhat idiosyncratic, family account. The page features videos of Bebop, a girl with stick-straight hair who looks to be about eight or nine years old, mugging for the camera with her mom, a peroxide blond with a fondness for ethereal makeup filters. Together they dance to songs like “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins and Louis Theroux’s “Jiggle Jiggle” remix, lip-synching poorly to audios, usually against the backdrop of what appears to be a splashily decorated preteen girl’s room, with Bebop flaunting a wide range of impressive makeup looks and hairstyles.
It’s only when you go to the comments that you start to get the impression that something more sinister may be afoot. “Wear green if you’re kidnapped <3,” reads one comment with 1,559 likes; another says, “put a heart next to your next video if you’re in danger.” (In the next video the two post, neither Bebop nor Bebe are wearing green, but the title of the video is sandwiched by heart emojis; this is not unusual, however, as there are emojis in most of the titles of their videos.) In one of the videos, to the Ting-Tings’ “That’s Not My Name,” one commenter writes: “She’s not saying hey hey. She’s saying help help.”
Over the past few months, Bebop and Bebe have become the center of a sprawling, multi-armed conspiracy theory that has largely taken root on TikTok, driving millions of views and thousands of ostensibly concerned commenters to their page. Many of these commenters believe Bebop is being forced to produce content, and that a mysterious man who is sometimes seen in the videos — Bebe’s brother, who is occasionally referred to as “the Brother” — is responsible. They also believe Bebop has an older brother, who has been locked out of his social media accounts after refusing to film with the family (a teenage boy can be seen in some older videos, but his absence can easily be explained by the fact that a teenager may not want to appear in TikTok videos with his mom and little sister anymore.)
But the speculation runs even deeper than that. Many believe that Bebop and/or Bebop and Bebe are being trafficked, due to a lock seen in the bedroom they often film in. Some have suggested that the bedroom is in fact a set (something Bebe herself confirmed in a Live, though recording from a set is not uncommon among content creators). Some have proposed, due to BeBop’s sometimes mature appearance, that she is not, in fact, a real child, but an adult or teenager being forced to masquerade as a child, a la Gypsy Rose Blanchard. This particular thread has been fueled by the fact that some (but by no means all) of Bebop and Bebe’s content is genuinely disquieting; in one video, Bebop appears wearing a low-cut police costume more typically seen on an older woman, while in another, she wears a collar commonly associated with the kink community.
Perhaps the most nefarious vein of this narrative, however, is the suggestion that Bebop is not actually Bebop, but a missing child named Aranza Maria Ochoa-Lopez, a four-year-old girl from Vancouver, Washington who was in foster care before allegedly being abducted by her biological mother, Esmerelda Lopez-Lopez. Lopez-Lopez was arrested in 2019 and pled guilty to second-degree kidnapping and robbery and first-degree custodial interference, receiving a 20-month sentence as a result, but Aranza is still missing and believed to be living with relatives in Mexico.