TikTok Star Ava Majury Discovers the Dark Side of Fame

TikTok became the hottest platform during the pandemic, yielding a whole new generation of social media stars. It didn’t take much for some teenagers to gain millions of followers and become overnight online celebrities like Ava Majury. She was just a typical 13-year-old when she joined TikTok, and her following grew quickly.

Ava Majury / Ava Majury / Cellphone / The Majurys.
Source: Getty Images

Majury’s fans, three-quarters of them male, watched her lip sync and dance to trending music. However, she noticed one fan was more persistent in getting her attention than others. Majury didn’t think much of her adoring fan until he showed up at her house with a shotgun, and her life changed forever.

New Girl in Town

For most of her childhood, Ava Majury grew up in Manalapan, New Jersey. For 12 years, she went to school with the same group of friends, her family was well-known in the community, and Majury loved her town. However, in 2019, the Majurys decided to move to the coastal town of Naples, Florida.

A portrait of Ava Majury.
Source: Pinterest

Lured by the warm climate, lower taxes, and a quieter lifestyle, the Majurys picked Naples because it was a safe community of affluent retirees and growing families. Majury’s father, Rob Majury, a former Jersey City police lieutenant, and her mother, Kim Majury, an ultrasound technician, rented a home in Raffia Preserve.

Making the Best of It

The family set up their new life in one of the many tidy homes on the curving streets of Raffia Preserve. Rob, Kim, Majury, and her two brothers were excited about the change even though the kids missed their friends back in New Jersey. Majury looked forward to making new friends at school.

Ava poses for a picture.
Source: Fox News

Unfortunately, just as she was getting used to her new school, the pandemic hit. Majury and her siblings were stuck at home like every other child, and she quickly grew bored. In early 2020, TikTok was a growing platform, so Majury created an account to entertain herself.

A “Go-Getter”

Majury was always considered a “go-getter” by her parents, friends, and teachers. When they lived in New Jersey, she designed a sticker for her laptop, which classmates admired. She started selling them and earned around $700. Majury had a business mindset from a young age, so TikTok intrigued her.

A still of Ava Majury and her parents during a press conference.
Source: ABC

Majury initially joined the platform for fun, but the 13-year-old realized she could also make money. When she started gaining more followers, Majury created two other accounts to attract different kinds of audiences. On TikTok, she has promoted many things, including teeth whitening products, emerging recording artists, and NFL games.

Surprising Her Parents

Based on her growing fan base, Majury knew she could capitalize on her newfound fame. She said she could make more money because she had three accounts. Some brands would offer her $1,000 for a main channel video, but Majury knew she could make more.

Ava speaks during an interview.
Source: ABC

When a brand approached Majury, the teenager would tell them about her other accounts with different audiences, and they would offer her more money to promote them on each page. Majury surprised her parents when they found out she was making $1,700 per video. They had no idea that she could earn so much.

Innocent Videos

Majury’s parents didn’t mind that she was using TikTok; Rob even appeared in some of her videos. He talked about one video where they were in the car, saying, “We both pointed at the camera at the same time, and the music stopped, and she started laughing.”

An image of Ava on the beach.
Source: ABC

Rob said his daughter’s videos were innocent and sweet. He liked that they could share their funny moments. Majury’s video with her father drew hundreds of thousands of views. Her videos mostly consisted of her lip-syncing or dancing to popular tunes.

Her Biggest Fan

When Majury’s TikTok following started to grow, she noticed one user commenting on her videos and trying to get her attention. Known online as EricJustin111, Eric Rohan Justin would leave comments, message Majury on Snapchat and Instagram, and show up in online games she played with her brothers.

Video stills of Ava.
Source: YouTube

She and her brothers went to a large public school where students’ lives revolved around social media. Her friends in New Jersey and Florida took advantage of her growing fame by selling Justin photos of Majury and personal information, including her phone number.

She Couldn’t Trust Anyone

Once Justin had her phone number, he would call and text her repeatedly. In one instance, he logged onto a classmate’s account and did math homework in exchange for information about Majury. She had to unfollow all her local and New Jersey friends.

A picture of Ava’s father / A photo of Ava.
Source: YouTube

Majury said her friends were not happy that she unfollowed them. They said, “You’re going Hollywood on all of us; you don’t want to talk to us anymore.” Majury was upset because she couldn’t trust her friends. However, her friends weren’t the only ones selling pictures.

Selling Her Own Photos

Before Justin seemed like a threat, Majury thought he was an adoring fan. Her parents even allowed her to sell him a couple of selfies she had already posted on Snapchat. Majury said, “I wasn’t sending anything of my body. It was just pictures of my face.”

Ava and her parents speak during a televised interview.
Source: ABC

Majury assumed he wanted pictures of her face because her pretty smile was part of her brand. Most of her content showed off her beautiful, white teeth. Justin paid her $300 for two pictures on Venmo, but that wasn’t enough for him.

She Blocked Him

After Justin paid for the selfies, he messaged her on Venmo with a breakdown of what he would pay for “booty pics” and photos of her feet. It was stuff young teens shouldn’t be sending. Majury blocked him on all accounts because he became inappropriate.

A picture of Ava / An image of Ava and her father inside a car.
Source: Pinterest

She hadn’t blocked Justin on Venmo, so he messaged Majury begging her to unblock him. He sent her $159.18, then $100, and finally $368.50 with the message, “Sorry, this is all I have left. I’m broke.” Justin wouldn’t leave Majury alone.

Her Father Got Involved

When Majury’s parents noticed that Justin wouldn’t leave their daughter alone, Rob texted him, saying Majury was a minor and demanded that he stop contacting her. They thought it was the last time they would hear from Justin because Majury had blocked all communication channels.

A picture of Majury and her father at home.
Source: Pinterest

Her father thought Justin was a harmless fan who just wanted Majury’s attention and took it a bit too far. Rob assumed Justin got the message and would stop contacting Majury once and for all. Unfortunately, his text message only made things worse.

Violent Threats

Justin was angry that he couldn’t reach Majury anymore. He felt hurt by the message from Rob but wasn’t going to stop trying to contact her. Because Majury blocked him, Justin decided to message one of her classmates so they could forward it to her.

Majury poses for a picture.
Source: Pinterest

Justin asked one of her male classmates if he had access to a gun and shared his plans to assault Majury. He wrote, “I could just breach the door with a shotgun, I think.” Justin’s adoration for the young TikTok star turned to what seemed like hatred.

Disregarding the Threats

When Majury learned of the threatening messages, she asked her classmate to forward them to her. She fearfully showed her parents, so they looked into Justin’s background. Her parents found that he lived hundreds of miles away and wouldn’t get near her.

An image of a hand holding a cellphone.
Photo by Artem/Pexels

Her father reassured her that Justin was “one of these keyboard cowboys.” He admitted that he discredited what could have been a threat. The Majurys truly believed that they would never see or hear from Justin again, and his threats were empty, but that wasn’t the case.

He Found Her

Early on July 10, 2021, Justin showed up at Majury’s home with a shotgun. He took a shot at the front door to gain entry, and her bedroom was not far from there. Majury said, “All I remember was, I heard it, I felt it in my chest.”

An exterior shot of Majury’s home.
Source: Realtor

When she looked up, there was a hole in her bedroom door from the fragments. Majury clutched her blanket and cellphone as she ran through a connecting bathroom to her brother’s room. She was terrified and shaking. Everything happened so fast.

Her Dad’s Instincts Kicked In

As soon as he heard the gunshot, Rob bolted from bed and ran out to the foyer, where debris still floated in the air. His wife followed as she called the police. Meanwhile, Justin stood outside wearing what looked like a blue Walmart vest, earplugs, and protective eyewear.

A portrait of Majury.
Source: Pinterest

Justin turned to run as Majury’s dad chased him, but Rob fell, gashing his knee. Justin stopped to clear his jammed weapon, then continued running. The family waited for the police to arrive, and Rob retrieved his handgun in case.

He Came Back

Before the police arrived, Justin returned to the Majury home. As a former officer, Rob ordered the teen to drop the shotgun. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt and attempted to calm Justin. However, his adrenaline was pumping, and Justin couldn’t listen or think logically.

Majury poses for a picture on a night out.
Source: Facebook

Instead of putting his gun down, Justin pointed it at Rob. Majury’s father fired his weapon before Justin could take a shot. The three Majury children ran to their parents’ room in the back of the house. Her brother panicked and said “This is all your fault.”

A Tragic End

While the kids hid in the house, Justin lay dead on the front lawn. Rob had killed him with one shot to neutralize the threat as he had been trained when he was an officer. When the police arrived, neighbors had already gathered to see the scene.

A picture of Majury at home.
Source: Pinterest

The police found that Justin had been carrying two cellphones with thousands of photos of Majury and hundreds of hours of her videos. What began as a teen’s lockdown activity turned into a deadly nightmare and a serious wake-up call.

Who Was Eric Justin?

After the shooting, Justin’s identity was confirmed by his father, Justin Dominic, a software engineer who was divorced from Justin’s mom. Before the divorce, Dominic lived in the US with his family and moved back to his native India when they split.

Majury takes a photo of herself.
Source: Facebook

Justin chose to stay in the US with his mom after the divorce. The 18-year-old lived in Ellicott City, Maryland and attended Mount Hebron High School. According to his father, Justin was a good student who did well in math. Dominic said, “I don’t know what went bad with him.”

Her Father Wasn’t Charged

Although he killed Justin, Rob was not arrested or charged with murder because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Justin had pointed the gun at him with the intent to shoot, so Rob fired in self-defense. Rob also legally had his gun and a license.

Majury poses for a picture at home.
Source: Facebook

Justin had flown from Maryland to Florida, where he obtained a shotgun and planned to kill Majury and her family. Rob was protecting himself and his family when he shot Justin. As a retired officer, he was properly trained to use his weapon in such events.

They Had to Move

The Majurys went to stay with friends after the shooting and felt uncomfortable returning to their former home. The homeowners’ association also sent a letter to their landlord demanding the family be evicted for several reasons, including Majury’s social media attracting the shooter.

The Majurys sit for an interview.
Source: YouTube

The Majurys were a nice and quiet family. Still, their neighbors felt that Majury disrupted the community, and they no longer wanted the family to be in the neighborhood for safety concerns. The family had no choice but to find a new home with more security.

She’s Still on Social Media

Despite the dramatic experience, Majury is still on TikTok and other platforms. A few days after the incident, her mom received an invitation from a would-be agent for Majury to visit Los Angeles, where she met other influencers and attended a few events.

An image of a teenage girl holding her cellphone while sitting in front of a computer.
Photo by Lisa Fotios/Pexels

One of the events was for “Glo-Up Girls,” a line of makeover-ready dolls advertised on YouTube. Majury’s mom thought it would be a nice distraction from the chaos. Kim Majury said she didn’t want one “sick individual” to force her daughter from social media.

New Opportunities

Although Rob was advised that he was not subject to prosecution, he contacted a lawyer to be safe. James Scarmozzino, Rob’s attorney, then connected the family to other lawyers who organized a business centered on Majury’s potential earnings. They wanted to continue her social media career.

A picture of social media icons on a cellphone screen.
Source: Pixabay

Michael Marino, a New York entertainment lawyer, created AMG Creations for Majury to manage her business. He also asked Lanny Davis, a PR manager, to represent Majury. Despite fears for her safety, Majury’s parents were on board with continuing her social media ventures.

There Are Still Dangers

A month after the horrific incident, Majury received a Venmo message from a man calling her “baby girl” and offering to pay $1,000 a month for her phone number. She immediately told her parents, and they found that the man was a registered sex offender.

A photo of a cellphone on a desk in a dark room.
Photo by Arun/Pexels

Just because her first stalker was dead didn’t mean that there weren’t more dangers waiting for Majury on the internet. Majury is still just a 15-year-old girl, and there are plenty of people hiding behind fake usernames on the internet who could easily do what Justin did.

She Has Another Stalker

Just when she thought things were getting back to normal, Majury found herself in another stalking situation. The classmate who received Justin’s messages about his plan to attack Majury was still attending high school with her. She thought he was harmless until he started following her.

Majury takes a picture of herself.
Source: Pinterest

Majury shared her concerns with her parents, who filed a report with the school. They wanted to protect their daughter’s safety and prevent another event from happening. Majury was afraid at school because no one could protect her if the student attacked her.

A Terrifying Video

Unfortunately, the school report didn’t do much. A classmate sent Majury a video of the boy who was following her at a shooting range. Fearing that he had plans to kill her like Justin attempted to, she withdrew from school to attend classes from home.

A photo of a male leg.
Photo by Sinitta Leunen/Pexels

Majury’s lawyer filed a petition in Collier County Circuit Court seeking an injunction for protection against stalking. The video the boy made at a gun range was enough for everyone to fear for Majury’s safety, and a court date was set for her to testify.

Facing Her Stalker

Majury will get a chance to face her new stalker in court. Her mother said it is a chance for Majury “to tell her story about her concerns at school, seeking protection and safety.” The classmate not only started harassing and stalking her, but he also helped Justin.

An image of a court gavel.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki/Pexels

The classmate gave personal information to Justin and helped him plan the crime that could have ended in kidnap or murder. It’s possible he was going to finish what Justin started before Majury filed a report against him. The boy’s lawyers haven’t released a comment.

She Didn’t Tell Her Fans

While it was all over the news, Majury initially didn’t tell her followers about the incident with Justin. She didn’t want people to spin it and think she had tried to attract him. She was also concerned that troubled people would make it a contest to see who could get to her first.

Majury posts a picture of herself on social media.
Source: Pinterest

Majury admitted that she has nights when she thinks she doesn’t want to be on social media anymore because of the shooting. However, the benefits have outweighed her negative thoughts. She said, “Being able to make other people smile is what I like.”

People Twisted the Story

When people saw that Majury was still on social media and even went to events a week after the shooting, they started to twist her story and blame her. Many online users blamed her parents for allowing Majury to present herself in such a manner.

A photo of young people looking surprised at a cellphone screen.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

It came out that her parents had allowed Majury to sell Justin pictures, and many were outraged that she didn’t block him in the first place. They blamed Majury for engaging with Justin even though he threatened her and acted inappropriately.

She Told Her Side

Since it was all over the news and internet, Majury couldn’t avoid addressing the situation with her followers. She thought many outlets exaggerated the story’s details, so Majury posted on Instagram to minimize what really happened because people blamed her.

Majury records herself with her cellphone.
Source: YouTube

In her post, Majury said she only sold Justin the photos because she thought it would make him leave her alone. She clarified that she blocked him when he asked for explicit content. Majury added that her parents wanted her to stay off social media, but she begged them to allow her.

She Wants Her Life Back

Majury has been homeschooled since her classmate started stalking her. She wants to be able to live a normal life again and not fear for her life when she is out in public. Majury wants to go back to school and be with her friends.

Majury makes a video of herself talking to the camera.
Source: Pinterest

Her parents said that her social media accounts are a positive environment for her because it has helped her get through the difficult time. Majury worked hard to gain a large following, and her parents don’t want to take that away from her.

Everything Has Changed

After moving homes and leaving school, things have changed for Majury. Although her parents allowed her to keep her social media accounts, they gave her stricter rules for using the platforms. Her dad said there is more security on their end, and they look at her followers.

Majury poses for a picture outside the mall.
Source: YouTube

It might be hard to monitor over a million followers, but Majury’s parents do more account reviews and check in often. They look at who is messaging her and the people who comment frequently. Majury hopes it will be a teaching experience for other social media users.

Is TikTok Dangerous?

Although TikTok is supposed to be a place for innovative content, creative collaborations, and free expression, it turned Majury’s life into a nightmare. Many of the users are young teens, as you only have to be 13 to create an account, and there are ways to get around that.

A TikTok icon is shown on a cellphone screen.
Photo by cottonbro/Pexels

While teens like Majury have used the platform to entertain and spread positive messages, viral “TikTok challenges” have caused children to vandalize and threaten their schools, follow starvation diets, and choke themselves. Teen girls are also repeatedly targeted by child predators.

How Can Ava’s Story Change Things?

Majury might not be the only one who has dealt with an online stalker, but the cases don’t usually pan out like this. She wants her experience to be a lesson to others about the risks of social media. It’s not only a lesson for young users but for parents too.

A portrait of Ava by the bay.
Source: Pinterest

While you can’t be on top of children 24/7, it’s important to teach them how to use social media responsibly. Young kids are on all social platforms, from Snapchat to TikTok, but they have to be aware of who they are talking to.

Her Court Hearing

When Majury testifies in court, it could help her get a restraining order from the boy who started stalking her from school. While that could give her some peace of mind, it doesn’t fully protect her from this person that might want to hurt her.

Ava Majury attends an event.
Photo by Amy Graves/Getty Images

While we wait to see the outcome of her testimony, we can only hope that this doesn’t happen again. The internet can be dangerous because you never know who is hiding behind the screen. Majury’s story is a cautionary tale for young social media users.