Instagram ‘meme queen’ is accused of trying to extort $320,000 from LA pet groomer
An Instagram influencer with almost six million followers has been accused of trying to extort $300,000 from a pet groomer by launching a smear campaign that led to death threats, after an employee accidentally cut her mother’s dog’s tail.
Riley Tully, the influencer behind popular account Meme Queen, allegedly tried to launch a ‘shakedown’ against Healthy Spot groomers near Los Angeles, threatening to use her massive social media clout to ruin their reputation if they didn’t pay up, according to legal letters.
The row erupted on Instagram leading to rabid animal rights supporters sending the pet store chilling death threats including, ‘I’ll cut your f***in arm off’ and ‘kill them! They need to burn!’
According to documents, Riley’s mother’s Pomeranian, Noel, was rushed to the vet on January 23 after a groomer at Healthy Spot Costa Mesa slipped and cut the dog with clippers while trimming her tail.
Instagram influencer Riley Tully, aka ‘Riley Beek’, has been accused of launching a smear campaign against Healthy Spot pet groomers in Costa Mesa, California
Riley is the influencer behind popular Instagram account ‘memequeen’ which has 5.8million followers
Legal letters obtained by DailyMail.com claim Riley threatened to use her social media clout to destroy Healthy Spot’s reputation after a groomer accidentally cut her mother’s dog’s tail in January. The influencer began sharing posts about the incident on her meme account (pictured) in April
During the emergency procedure, the animal hospital amputated three inches off Noel’s tail.
The store paid the vet’s bills of $2,237, apologized profusely to the dog’s owner Aimee Tully, fired the worker for not following their safety policies, and offered to pay the Tullys any ongoing medical expenses.
But according to legal letters obtained by DailyMail.com, the accident then descended into a dog’s dinner of a dispute.
Aimee hired trial lawyers Abuershaid, Lee and Le, who wrote to Healthy Spot on February 3 warning that ‘If we do not receive a response from you by Friday, February 5, 2021 5:00 P.M. PST, we will begin exploring Ms. Tully’s legal rights against you and Healthy Spot.’
Healthy Spot hired their own attorneys Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump and two weeks later a partner at the law firm wrote back with a stunning allegation of a $320,000 extortion plot by Aimee and her influencer daughter Riley.
Riley took to social media to share pictures of her mom Aimee’s dog, Noel the Pomeranian, who was rushed to the vet on January 22 after an employee at Healthy Spot accidentally cut her tail while grooming her
Social media posts show she launched a public campaign against the pet store, demanding it take ‘responsibility’ for Noel’s injuries, even after the owners agreed to cover the Tully’s vet bills
Amid the onslaught of criticism earlier this month, Healthy Spot’s owners (pictured) released their own video decrying the ‘smear campaign’
‘We write as counsel for Healthy Spot to memorialize and respond to the extortionate demands made by your client’, attorney Katherine Kleindienst wrote.
‘Healthy Spot had already covered the costs of Noel’s veterinary care—the only damages recoverable under California law in cases like these where a pet is accidentally injured.
‘You acknowledged on the call that if a civil case were filed, “there’s not much recovery there.” Nevertheless, you conveyed your client’s demands that Healthy Spot: (1) pay the Tully family $300,000; (2) donate $10,000 to $20,000 to the Orange County Pomeranian Shelter in Noel’s name; (3) issue a public apology; and (4) enact an undefined ‘policy change.’
‘Your client’s demands have nothing to do with the health and wellbeing of Noel. Rather, they are a transparent attempt to capitalize on Noel’s injury and shake down my client by threatening to ‘blast’ the company on social media unless Healthy Spot pays hundreds of thousands of dollars.’
The lawyer for the pet store warned that the alleged threat that ‘absent a hefty payment your clients will “blast” Healthy Spot on social media and implicate Healthy Spot in potential criminal charges against the former groomer’ may fall under California laws against extortion, adding: ‘You and your clients would be well advised to tread carefully.’
Riley’s mother Aimee (pictured) lawyered up after the accident, which resulted in the animal hospital amputating three inches off Noel’s tail
Messages obtained by DailyMail.com show the influencer threatened the pet groomers with the power of her 5.8 million followers and warned that the situation was ‘not going to go away’
Soon the store began to receive threats and criticism, with some users calling for Healthy Spot to be ‘shut down’ or ‘burned to the ground’
One Meme Queen fan wrote to Healthy Spot: ‘F***ING DISGUSTING YOU DESERVE TO ROT!!! PIECE OF S*** MOTHERF***ER ILL CUT YOUR F***IN ARM OFF!!!!!’
After Noel’s accident, the Tullys hired a lawyer and demanded Healthy Spot pay the family $300,000; donate $10,000 to $20,000 to the Orange County Pomeranian Shelter in Noel’s name; issue a public apology; and enact an undefined ‘policy change’
Screenshots obtained by DailyMail.com show an Instagram message sent by the Instagram influencer to the company warning of the power of her 5.8 million followers.
‘My other instagram account has 6 million followers. I am absolutely willing to post the story there if you continue in failing to handle the situation,’ Riley Tully, who goes by Riley Beek on Instagram, wrote.
‘This has been a nightmare from hell for my family and you should be ashamed at the way your company has handled it, or lack there of. I have had dozens of people message me some really disturbing stories about their own awful encounters at your locations.
‘Stories of dogs teeth being pulled, broken bones, and gaping wounds at the hands of your inexperienced groomers. This is not going away. Shame on you for ‘suspending’ the groomer who did this. They should be fired IMMEDIATELY.’
The Tullys’ lawyers wrote back to the pet store saying the allegations of extortion ‘could not be more far from the truth’ and that ‘Painting our stance as a ‘shakedown’ and an ‘extortion’ is off base.’
Attorney Harrison Le wrote that the Pomeranian ‘has been in a constant state of fear since the amputation’ and refused to eat or go on walks.
‘[Noel] defecates and urinates indoors, and cries all hours of the night,’ Le wrote.
Lawyers for the pet store responded to the ‘extortionate demands’, arguing that their requests have ‘nothing to do with’ Noel’s health
An invoice obtained by DailyMail.com show Noel’s emergency trip to the vet cost a total of $2,237, which Healthy Spot agreed to cover
‘Medication and steroids have no effect. Noel’s health is worsening every day, and Ms. Tully presently finds herself having to make the difficult decision whether Noel should undergo supplemental surgery or become euthanized.’
The dispute carried on into early April, when Riley began to post about the incident on her Instagram account Meme Queen, a handle that usually shares memes, funny pictures and jokes – and a whirlwind of hate descended on Healthy Spot.
The influencer wrote that ‘Noel’s tail had been severed from the bone and was dangling from her body. She was rushed into emergency surgery where most of her tail had to be amputated.’
Soon the store received threats including from one Meme Queen fan wrote to Healthy Spot: ‘F***ING DISGUSTING YOU DESERVE TO ROT!!! PIECE OF S*** MOTHERF***ER ILL CUT YOUR F***IN ARM OFF!!!!!’
Another user, jayy_fig, wrote: ‘Looks like I’ll be taking a trip to make sure you guys are forever ruined count down the weeks @healthyspot’ and user, mandarin.exe, wrote: ‘SUE THEM!!!!! KILL THEM!!! THEY NEED TO BURN!!!!’
‘[burn] that place to the ground’ a fan called stuffmyfupalikes said.
Riley also posted two allegations from other social media users of the store killing or hurting their pets.
Riley used her Meme Queen account to accuse Healthy Spot of ‘refusing to accept responsibility’ for Noel’s injuries
She shared posts claiming Noel was left ‘traumatized’ and is in ‘constant pain’ after the accident
Amid the onslaught of criticism earlier this month Healthy Spot released their own video decrying the ‘smear campaign’.
‘We are proud of the business we’ve built. Our company has helped thousands of customers improve the health and care of their pets,’ the firm’s founders Andrew and Mark said.
‘We were heartbroken that this happened on our watch – and took full responsibility for the incident as soon as it happened.
‘Our team immediately took the dog to the vet and covered the cost of its care. Numerous Healthy Spot team members – including me – reached out to the pet’s family to apologize. We made it clear that we would cover any veterinary expenses associated with the pet’s injury – now and in the future.
‘They asked for $300,000. It was clear that they were seeking to weaponize the platform of the pet owner’s daughter – who is a social media influencer with millions of followers.
In an interview with DailyMail.com, Riley denied any extortion and claimed that her mother had told her nothing about the fiery legal letters between Healthy Spot and her lawyers. She also posted a video on her personal account (right) denying the allegations
In a letter responding to Healthy Spot’s lawyers, The Tullys’ attorneys the allegations of extortion and wrote that the Pomeranian ‘has been in a constant state of fear since the amputation’
‘Their lawyer promised that if we made this large six-figure payment to the dog owner, she and her daughter would sign non-disclosure agreements.
‘Otherwise… if we did not, they would blast us on social media and damage our business.’
The pet store owners said hundreds of fake negative reviews were posted about the business, and they and their employees had received death threats and messages about burning down their store.
In an interview with DailyMail.com, Riley denied any extortion and claimed that her mother had told her nothing about the fiery letters between Healthy Spot and Aimee’s lawyers.
Riley said her social media posts to her millions of followers were ‘just to bring awareness to the situation’ and that she had been contacted by other pet owners whose pets had allegedly been injured at the store.
The influencer added that she was ‘only interested in standing up for the animals and exposing what’s happening behind the scenes here.’
When contacted, Healthy Spot referred DailyMail.com to their videoed public statement.
Riley also posted a video on her personal account, denying allegations of extortion.
‘We have never threatened Healthy Spot with extortion, never ever,’ she said in a video filmed in her car.
‘That never happened, that is a complete and utter lie. There is no shred of truth in that statement.’