May 27, 2024

Controversy Between Seattle Kraken, Alex Wennberg, and BookTok

BookToker Kierra Lewis says she became interested in hockey after reading “Pucking Around” by Emily Rath in April 2023.

Lewis, 27, has 1.1 million followers on TikTok and gained her following by reacting to and recommending romance books. Lewis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.

In April, she posted a series of videos about her experience reading Rath’s novel, an adult romance book about a physical therapist who dates multiple players from the same hockey team. Lewis specifically celebrated how sexually explicit the book was in her video, advising people not to read it in public.

The book seemed to spur Lewis’ interest in real hockey players. On April 26, she posted a video with photos of the “hottest men in hockey.”

The same day, she posted two videos with clips of hockey players warming up, joking about the stretches players did before their games.

 

Lewis started posting about the Seattle Kraken hockey team, focusing her videos on the specific players she found attractive.

Players from the Seattle Kraken hockey team huddle on the ice.

Members of the Seattle Kraken hockey team.

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images


Lewis posted vlogs of herself watching Seattle Kraken games, and her commentary throughout the games focused on how attractive she found the players.

She also appeared to take a special interest in Kraken player Alex Wennberg, 28. He was featured in her first video about the hottest men of hockey, and she specifically mentioned how attractive she finds him in several videos, adding the tag #alexwennberg to videos posted on April 27 and 29.

Lewis also used the phrase “krak my back” in her videos, referencing the team and the phrase “break my back,” a sexual innuendo. 

Representatives for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL, Alex Wennberg, and his wife Felicia Wennberg, 28, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

The Seattle Kraken leaned into BookTok’s love of hockey videos and Lewis’ attention in particular.

Alex Wennberg plays hockey.

Alex Wennberg was in many of the Seattle Kraken’s videos.

Steph Chambers/Getty Images


The Kraken caught wind of Lewis’ videos, which were racking up hundreds of thousands of views.

The team’s official TikTok account commented on multiple of her videos, appearing to encourage her interest in the team and its players.

The team commented “energy unmatched” and “let’s gooooo” on two of Lewis’ videos on April 28. The comments, viewed by Insider, were still on the page at the time of writing. 

In addition, the Kraken leaned into BookTok’s interest in hockey romance books on its own page, changing its bio to “mostly Booktok” and posting videos of players walking in slow motion. 

The Kraken team invited Lewis to attend one of its playoff games on May 9, gifting her a custom team jersey that said “BookTok.” 

On July 28, Alex’s wife Felicia posted an Instagram story saying she was uncomfortable with the videos BookTokers were making about her husband, including a screenshot from one of Lewis’ videos.

A screenshot of an Instagram story.

Felicia Wennberg’s statement.


@feliciaweerenwennberg/Instagram


When Alex first became popular on BookTok, Felicia admitted she was supportive of the attention.

But on July 28, she posted two Instagram stories sharing that she had become uncomfortable with the way some people talked about her husband on the app.

“So I’ve joked before and called my husband BookTok’s w*nkb*nk and honestly did not mind,” she said in her first story, which showed a mostly covered screenshot of a video of Alex warming up. “I always thought Alex was the most beautiful person in the world and that it just seems the world finally caught up to it.”

She went on to say that she thinks some TikTok users’ content about Alex had “crossed the line” and become “predatory and exploiting.”

In the second video, she posted a screenshot of the comment section of one of Lewis’ videos, which showed Alex stretching his groin and has since been deleted. Lewis’ name was visible in the screenshot.

“What doesn’t sit with me is when your desires come with sexual harassment, inappropriate comments and the fact that with the internet we can normalize behavior that would never be ok if we flipped the genders around to a guy doing this to a female athlete,” Felicia wrote on Instagram. “I mean no hate on the BookTok community just a little request for people to think twice about their comments/videos or chanting ‘krak my back’ at humans with feelings.”

On July 29, Lewis posted what many assume was a response video.

Lewis captioned her first response video “I’m so pissed,” saying her comments were “jokes.”

“It’s pissing me off these Facebook people want to come to TikTok and make us take this app seriously,” she said.

Lewis seemed to refer to Felicia, telling fans she was “being dragged” by someone who once said “my husband is the BookTok’s panty dropper.”

Lewis also said her videos were “just for fun.”

After the Kraken unfollowed her, Lewis posted more videos about the situation and said she had reached out to Felicia.

In the same video where she shared that the Kraken unfollowed her, Lewis again appeared to voice anger towards Felicia without naming her, saying that someone who “was feeding into the whole BookTok thing” was “switching sides.”

She reiterated that she thinks of her content as a “fucking joke” and said she didn’t like that sports teams use BookTok “for clout.”

“I’m pissed the fuck off,” she said, adding that she was “blindsided” by the situation, particularly because she had not made videos about Alex since May. She also said she reached out to Felicia directly to discuss the situation but didn’t get a response.

Lewis posted screenshots of what appeared to be Instagram messages to Felicia in a follow-up video. In her messages, she said she “never meant any harm” and explained where the phrase “krack my back” stemmed from.

Lewis also messaged Felicia that she was “confused” by the situation and said she had never messaged Alex.

“I never dm or even followed your husband. But now it seems that I’m the new target since my name is in your story,” she wrote to Felicia. 

Lewis released her own statement calling out Felicia and the Seattle Kraken on her TikTok on July 29.

A screenshot of a statement on TIkTok.

Kierra Lewis released a statement on TikTok.


@kierralewis75/TikTok


Lewis posted three more TikTok videos about the situation after Felicia released her second statement.

In both videos, she voiced frustration that the Kraken unfollowed her with no warning after previously encouraging her content and that Felicia had only singled out her account in her story. In her third video, Lewis posted her own written statement. 

“On Thursday, Alex Wennberg’s wife (Felicia Wennberg) made a post not only attacking Booktok but me as a person,” the statement said. “She slanders my name by calling me a sexual harasser in reference to a saying that was clearly played off of the Seattle Kraken name ‘Krack My Back.’ Not only did she miss the joke of it being a spin off of ‘Break My Back’ but she purposelessly included my name on her Instagram story which lead to me receiving hate from her following.”

Lewis said she had reached out to Felicia to apologize and offer a solution such as deleting all the videos, but she never got a response.

The statement went on to say that the Seattle Kraken’s TikTok gained 60,000 followers after she attended their playoff game and had always appeared to encourage her videos.

“Instead of messaging me and explaining what was going on, the Kraken social media team just covered their tracks by deleting all videos related to Booktok and Wennberg,” Lewis said. “So I then went to TikTok to defend myself and explain my side of the story.”

Ultimately, BookTok was split, and Lewis and Felicia were both harassed online.

As the situation unfolded, BookTokers took it upon themselves to harass both Lewis and Felicia on their social media platforms depending on who they thought was in the wrong. 

They both received negative comments about the situation on their recent posts, with some people telling Lewis her content was inappropriate and others saying Felicia was wrong for singling out Lewis. 

In addition, people voiced skepticism for the Seattle Kraken, pointing to the team’s interactions with Lewis and its deleted videos that appeared to sexualize the players.

On Wednesday, Lewis returned to posting her normal TikTok content after a three-day hiatus.

On Sunday, Lewis posted a video saying she was going to be moving on from the situation to focus on her normal content.

“They might have had your girl down for a second, but one thing about me baby, i’mma get up and come 10 times fucking harder,” she said.

She posted a video of a $500 book haul on Sunday, and then on Wednesday, shared a video of herself reacting to a scene in “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros.

She also commented “and we back” on the video, her only acknowledgment of the controversy. 

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