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 October 2021, he starred in a film adaptation of the sci-fi novel Dune, which was received with resounding appreciation.
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.
But others didn’t seem too shocked. One Twitter user commented in a since-deleted tweet, “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.
Apparently, many of them seem unbothered by the rumor. 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.
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 addressed 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.”
One use had a clever political angle on the rumor.
And naturally, there were also memes.
The rumor wasn’t limited to Twitter, either. Fans also 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.”
“I don’t give a single f-ck if Timothée Chalamet has or had chlamydia,” user @julianna 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 Chalamet’s private medical records, we have to conclude that this is nothing more than a trendy internet meme that spun out of control.