Actor Timothée Chalamet became a breakthrough star in 2017 after starring in the coming-of-age film Call Me By Your Name. Then 22, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his part in the film, making him the youngest Best Actor nominee since 1939.
Chalamet has been on a hot streak ever since, earning glowing reviews for his roles in Beautiful Boy as well as Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Little Women. In 2021, he will star in a film adaptation of the sci-fi novel Dune; he is also set to portray Bob Dylan in an upcoming biopic.
His busy schedule probably explains his short stint as a college student. After a year at Columbia University, Chalamet dropped out. He then resurfaced for a semester or two at New York University in 2015-2016. But during his time at NYU, the buzz on campus was not about his acting skills. An unsavory rumor about Chalamet starting a chlamydia outbreak had some students wondering if they should make a beeline for the health center.
How Did The Chlamydia Rumor Spread?
Some have speculated that rumors about Chalamet having an STI started with a bizarre piece of fan fiction on the self-publishing site Wattpad.
Others point to this short and sweet March 2018 tweet as the origin story:
Despite only having 20 likes and nine retweets, the rumor spread like wildfire. The original fanfic author, who goes by username riverphoenixgf, even added a third part to her story on June 15, congratulating herself for her prescience. “Literally I’m so ahead of my time like. i just KNEWW timmy had chlamydia before he got exposed [sic],” she wrote.
How Fans Reacted To The Rumor
Response to the rumor that Chalamet had (and spread) chlamydia was divided. Some fans and students were surprised and demanded to know if it was true. There were also instances of heartbreak and disappointment.
whenever i think about that tweet of timothee chalamet giving this girl chlamydia… i die a little pic.twitter.com/J1lEQRbQkf— Alice (@aliceemorenoo) August 4, 2018
But others didn’t seem too shocked. One Twitter user commented, “Timothee Chalamet’s chlamydia is more well known and widespread than most laws.”
“What historical event would you most want to watch as a fly-on-the-wall?” asked another user. “For me it’s the meeting where Timothee Chalamet’s team had to be briefed on the chlamydia rumor.”
But the most common reaction from fangirls was equal parts funny and unsettling.
oomf said I’m braver than the marines because I’d let timothée chalamet give me chlamydia 3 times— miss timothée (@tchalamet69) July 30, 2018
Apparently, many of them seem unbothered by the rumor.
good morning timothée chalamet i’m trying to be chlamydia positive please hmu— scarlet (@bellahashish) July 29, 2018
In fact, the consensus was, “Can I get some of that, too?” Many signaled that a quick course of antibiotics seemed like a fair trade-off for a night of passion with the actor.
does anyone else want timothee chalamet’s chlamydia? i mean it can’t only be me like look at that man pic.twitter.com/JIytEUwmbB— T ! (@sovietmodel) August 2, 2018
How The Rumor Resurfaced Over Two Years Later
In June 2020, an NYU student by the name of Jonathan Schatzberg revived the claim under the now-deleted username @jonspellednoh.
But in an instance of the game Telephone gone horribly wrong, the rumor morphed into speculation that Chalamet was also into bestiality. Schatzberg said the actor had the libido of a rabbit, but users misread the tweet. Suddenly, misinformation was spread claiming that Chalamet actually had sex with a furry creature.
Schatzberg addressed the face palm-inducing new rumor on TikTok, reacting to tweets about Chalamet’s interest in rabbits. But the video was eventually removed and re-posted on his new Twitter account:
It was a glorious example of how a tidbit of gossip can shapeshift and quickly become an outrageous new falsehood.
But of course, the resurfacing of the rumor didn’t do much to ruin Chalamet’s reputation. Once again, female fans volunteered to contract the STI.
One Twitter user wrote, “getting chlamydia to stand in solidarity with timothée chalamet.” Another was only willing to suffer if it came directly from the actor.
If timothee chalamet gave me Chlamydia I’d say thank you . And that’s on god https://t.co/GhaKixnDNV— bored and lonely (@sullengirl0) April 19, 2020
One use had a clever political angle on the rumor.
Covid is spreading through the White House staff reminds me of when Timothée Chalamet gave like half of NYU chlamydia— hannah (@discounthannah) October 4, 2020
And naturally, there were also memes.
Timothée Chalamet bringing chlamydia to the NYU dorms pic.twitter.com/JWF1gZsyjh— Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup (@HobbesRadioHour) December 4, 2020
The rumor wasn’t limited to Twitter, either. Fans took to TikTok to defend Chalamet (and hint at their willingness to sleep with the star.)
“This happened a while ago,” said user @uh_mail. “Why are y’all just now jumping on to this? I’m so confused.”
timothee chlamydia 🥰 #timotheechalamet♬ original sound – dogpuke
“I don’t give a single f-ck if Timothée Chalamet has or had chlamydia,” user @dogpuke said with a maniacal laugh. “We could share it … we could make a date night out of going to the clinic.”
So, Did He Actually Cause A Chlamydia Outbreak?
If anything, the story that Timothée Chalamet has chlamydia is less about spreading an infection or virus than it is about the spread of a viral rumor. While certified NYU students seem to be quite sure of themselves when confirming the gossip. it’s impossible to prove something that allegedly happened years ago. (After all, chlamydia typically resolves itself after 1-2 weeks of treatment.) Short of seeing Chalemet’s private medical records, we have to conclude that this is nothing more than a trendy internet meme that quickly spun out of control.
Gossip Cop can’t say for sure, but this is most likely false, given the evidence.