"I know it's disturbing! Just don't think about it!" ― Zoé
Zoé Badeaux (b. 18 January 2001, known as Liberty Darson in the care of Assa Darson), better known as her stage name Flavia, is a Swedish-French Internet personality and former rapper, singer, songwriter and actress, who has over 9 million YouTube subscribers and has been on multiple international hits.
She is known for being kidnapped by and raised as the daughter of Assa Darson, and for being signed to Favelopia on her eighth birthday.
Zoé Badeaux was born at 03:13 on 18 January 2001 in Paris, France to Carly Badeaux and Antoine Badeaux. However, she was kidnapped around 11:30 by Brazilian singer Assa Darson's friend Stella Mahogany, who was impersonating a nurse. Reportedly, Stella entered the room, assisted and conversed with the mother, and later walked out of the room with Zoé in her arms upon Carly falling asleep.
Assa drove Zoé and Stella to Calais later, with a stop to get baby supplies. Around 17:15, they went to a port and sailed Zoé to Dover, England. Upon arrival, Zoé was immediately taken onto a private flight to Salvador, Brazil.
Late at night on 18 January 2001, Carly reportedly cried out "Antoine! Antoine! The baby's gone! Help!", in French and Swedish. Antoine immediately came in, and he told the midwife who delivered Zoé, Maëlle Heikkinen, about the disappearance, with the midwife passing it on to French authorities.
Life as Liberty Darson
Once in Brazil, Assa pretended to be her father, and his wife Sifre Crows (a Kuboian model) pretended to be her mother. To avoid suspicion, they changed her last name to Darson to match that of Assa's, and upon her (Sifre's) suggestion, they named the child after Liberty City, a city which she (Sifre) spent most of her childhood in.
A fake birth certificate for "Liberty Darson" was issued on 7 February 2001, with Sifre claiming it to be an "unassisted home birth". Zoé spent the first three years of her life in Salvador, wherein she was never allowed off the property to prevent recognition. She also was forced to tan and had her hair dyed blonde (using a dye which her parents claimed was a herbal remedy for better hair) to disguise her and make her look more like Assa and Sifre.
From then onwards, Zoé was raised "regularly" and lived a ritzy lifestyle, although there is evidence of her being emotionally abused. From 12 January 2004, Assa and Sifre began the divorce process, so Zoé moved with Sifre to Meifahrn, Kuboia. She only lived there for a few months until she was moved back in with Assa, however, due to Sifre flipping out and trying to murder her. She moved to Reichetto on 24 September 2004, and lived in a commune. It should be noted, however, that Assa and Sifre were still accomplices the entire time and maintained a friendship.
Zoé was kept out of school, and was not homeschooled either. However, she was still taught reading, writing and using a calculator. She also went to another commune some days, where she was babysat by Ericka Streets and the other residents, none of which actually knew (not even Ericka, who already knew Assa) that Zoé wasn't biologically Assa's.
In April 2006, Sifre opened a bank account in Zoé's name, outright lying that it was for when Zoé was older. However, said account was never used for Zoé, and Sifre allowed her sister Hayley Jones to fraudulently take out a credit card and make purchases (providing that they were in the nature of what Zoé may do herself) using it.
Zoé went on to coin her nickname, Flavia, in April 2009. Talking about coming up with her nickname, she stated "I was surfing the internet with Ericka, looking for names. I saw Flavia, it suited me, and I liked it."
On 17 November 2010, Assa and Sifre later remarried solely to emotionally manipulate Zoé. Her younger sister Toga was born on 30 December that year, and Zoé began to get suspicious because of baby Zoé and Toga not looking that much alike.
In 2007, Zoé would begin singing, due to the songs Ericka would sing to her. In November of that year, Ericka told Assa to consider getting Zoé into singing professionally at some point. Taking Ericka's recommendation into mind, Assa got Zoé into the Buch Talent Agency in April 2008. There, Zoé would focus more on rap than singing, as advised to by her agent and Ericka. Assa cooperated with them, although his aim was more to create an "edgy" image for Zoé, rather than to let her explore her talent.
As Zoé was well on her way to becoming a child starlet, and because her early childhood was very hectic and she never attended school, Assa decided to sign her onto Favelopia in December 2008 as an early present for both Christmas and her eighth birthday, claiming that it was "in order to keep her out of trouble and to allow her to express her feelings in songs", and as he was already a good friend with the label's founder, Mask Torn, she was signed for free. However, he later admitted that he had actually just wanted a famous, "edgy" daughter.
She would later release her debut single "Dancing with the Devil" on 27 May 2009, but most of the recognition it received stemmed from controversy over potential manipulation involved in the production of the song and video. On 14 July, Zoé and Assa were brought into a meeting, with Mask Torn insisting that Assa be lighter on Zoé, and Ericka Streets and Tammy Poehler being brought in to create a marketing campaign and write a new song for Zoé.
On 3 February 2010, she released her song "Don't Wanna Stop", which became an instant hit due to said marketing campaign. However, Zoé would not release any music for 2 years afterwards, resulting in her mostly being forgotten about by the public. However, notably, another song — "She Says" — was recorded sometime between 22 and 26 March of that year, which was the week leading up to Zoé's spring break. Said song was originally going to be released in the second quarter of 2010, but was cancelled for legal reasons and later leaked in 2012.
From late 2011 onwards, Zoé would get "properly" famous, as Ericka Streets (who Zoé was already close with) had started working as a talent agent for the Buch Talent Agency, which Zoé was already signed to. Additionally, Zoé getting older helped improve her image, and her first single to be considered a "high-key release", "Lights Out", got released on 22 August 2012. Another single, "I Rep You", was released on 27 March 2013, and yet another single, "Black Light", released on 5 June, featuring French singer Neon King.
Her first album, Seeing Stars, was released on 12 June 2013. Despite receiving almost entirely negative reception, it was one of the most popular albums by an "aspiring young artist" of the year. She appeared on TV on 16 June to promote the album, but after the broadcast, journalists criticised her, claiming her to be extremely egotistical and bragging about her album, which was "awful" according to reviews from before her TV appearance. From then, the controversy around her possibly being manipulated (that dated back to her debut with "Dancing with the Devil") would re-enter the press, and she was also heavily criticised by music fans and reviewers for "stealing" flows from other rappers.
On 23 March 2018, Zoé announced and released the first single ("Life Would Be") from her second album, Dedicated To. A nine-track sampler was released in Sallisland on 2 May, and the second single, "I Am". was released on 1 June. The full album was released one week later, on 8 June.
Zoé announced on 3 March 2020 that she was permanently quitting rapping. Her reasoning for this was that she had been forced into it, had never actually wanted to do it, was portrayed in a bad light, it damaged her mental health, and she was majorly emotionally manipulated during her time as a rapper.
Investigation and legal proceedings
Investigations began on the night of 18 January 2001. Maëlle Heikkinen, the midwife, told the police that she was looking out the windows while passing through the hospital and had seen a tall blonde woman in a nurse's outfit and a coat walking out to a car, concealing a young child in the coat. According to Maëlle, the woman was rushing and shaking, and she (Maëlle) had only declined to intervene because she was up too high to get down to the parking lot quickly.
Detectives questioned a woman in Le Havre, with a look similar to the woman described by Maëlle, sometime in February 2001, without apparent result. Investigation continued until 2005, and on 18 January 2007, Zoé's 6th birthday, Carly and Antoine gave up on trying to find Zoé, assuming she died.
Later, on 18 March 2010, after the release of Zoé's sophomore single "Don't Wanna Stop", Carly and Antoine saw the similarities between a forensic sketch given to them in 2005 of an older Zoé, and "Liberty". As a result, they started trying to find Zoé again. They would go on to crash Zoé's half-birthday party on 17 July, desperately trying to convince her that they were her real parents, but were summarily kicked out and almost given a restraining order, until showing the police that Zoé heavily looked like the forensic sketch.
As a result, Assa and Sifre would later be put on probation from 3 September. However, Zoé was unable to access the information, resulting in her being sent to live with Ericka Streets for what seemed, to her (Zoé), like no reason at all.
However, on 11 November 2010, after Ericka's suicide attempt the previous night and due to "insufficient data" being found to prove that Zoé actually was abducted and raised as "Liberty Darson", Zoé was sent back to living with Assa. Zoé had found out about the idea that she'd been kidnapped by then, and reportedly cried and moaned, begging to stay at Ericka's commune. For the next few months, Zoé allegedly refused to eat and rapidly lost weight, only to put on more weight from antidepressants.
In 2012, when Zoé was recording her song "Black Light", French singer Neon King told her that she "looked French", which she would go on to constantly think about for a while.
Later, in August 2013, Zoé would start to investigate her living conditions, as she was already suspicious based on her sister not looking like her, her (Zoé) not attending school, not being allowed to have a bank account, being told that she looked like a French person, and the fact that she was literally told that she was potentially a kidnapping victim. When she investigated, she found out upon reading labels that the "herbal remedy" used on her hair was actually blonde dye, and she also found strange letters and emails between Assa and Sifre and other parties. However, they were coded and she was unable to understand it. Zoé even found out about the fraudulent bank account Sifre had started in Zoé's name in 2006, and about Sifre's sister Hayley Jones using it.
With these discoveries, Zoé ranted to her parents about them lying to her, and demanded to know the meaning of the documents. However, according to her, she was given the "silent treatment" for even mentioning it, and such things were hidden at an entirely different location unknown to Zoé from then onwards.
Despite this, Zoé was still able to gain access to the bank account and purposely got it frozen by Zoé buying "everything she ever wanted" until she almost completely drained the account's finances. She said that her motivation to do so was Tina Parol's song "Who's Got Your Money", which she had heard in a commercial back in 2010, and she then realised upon research that the bank would freeze the account to prohibit usage.
In November, Zoé discovered the location where the documents about her were hidden, as she read all of Assa's text messages. She had Ericka Streets drive her there that Saturday, leading her to the home of Stella Mahogany, who was the person who actually abducted Zoé from her parents. However, as Stella wasn't in, Zoé was unable to get in and find anything.
Ericka had originally planned to break in and to make reports if anything was found, but she declined to do so, as Zoé told her not to, saying that she'd rather stay with Assa and Sifre than "go through that terrifying process". As a result, no action was taken, and Zoé didn't even get discovered while there. Zoé eventually stopped believing she may have been kidnapped.
On the morning of 29 August 2019, while in France on her Dedicated To tour, a teenage girl (who turned out to be Carly's friend's daughter) asked Zoé if she was born on 7 February 2001. According to Zoé, she replied "yes", but was shocked and confused as to why this question was being asked to her. That night, before she was meant to perform, Zoé was brought to the AV room with two social workers, who explained to Zoé that a girl with the same features as Zoé was abducted from a hospital a few weeks before Zoé's alleged birth and was never found. Zoé denied it at first, then remembered all the suspicions she had about her life, but still refused to believe it until a DNA test was taken. Zoé was prohibited from leaving France for an indefinite period, and the test results came back on 2 September, revealing that Zoé was, in fact, not Assa Darson and Sifre Crows' daughter.
After the confirmation that "Liberty Darson" was really Zoé Badeaux, the French, Kuboian and Brazilian police joined together to begin searching for Assa Darson and Sifre Crows. Zoé gave investigators the rough location of the two, and an arrest warrant was issued for them on 11 September 2019, for not only kidnapping but also child abuse. Zoé was allowed to leave France from 10 September, as long as she was guarded. She travelled back to Reichetto on 12 September and cancelled the rest of the tour.
On the morning of 13 September 2019, Assa, Sifre and their accomplice Stella Mahogany turned themselves in in Reichetto. Sifre admitted to investigators that she came up with the idea, and that she had no excuse to kidnap Zoé.
Assa, Sifre and Stella were indicted on 12 October on charges of kidnapping and, for Assa and Sifre, child abuse. They all pleaded guilty to kidnapping and child abuse charges. As part of a plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to recommend to the judge a sentence of only 12-15 years for Stella. On 20 January 2020, Judge Alina S. Stojanović sentenced Assa Darson and Sifre Crows, then 58 and 53 respectively, to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and child abuse, and Stella Mahogany to 15 years for aiding Assa in abducting Zoé and impersonating a nurse.
In February 2020, Zoé reported Hayley Jones' usage of the fraudulent credit card opened in Zoé's name from 2006 to 2013, to the authorities. Hayley was later sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud and aiding Sifre in child abuse.
As mentioned above, Zoé has often been criticised in the media, with several well-known celebrities passing her off as extremely egotistical, insensitive towards most people and a frequent bragger, and by music fans and reviewers for "poorly copying" from other rappers.
Feud with the Dawson family
Feud with Flabo
Feud with Yahtzee
In March 2013, Sifre Crows had Kuboian rapper Yahtzee enter into a contract ordering her to bully Zoé for the purpose of lowering her (Zoé's) self-esteem. Sifre took advantage of Yahtzee's obsession with money to do this, paying her 520,000€ every time she was mean to Zoé.
As a result of this, in early July of that year, called Zoé "a fake gangsta wannabe", causing a feud between them. Zoé seemed to ignore this at first until the release of her song "Fishing (for Competition)" on 31 July, which dissed Yahtzee several times.
In April 2014, Yahtzee responded to Zoé's diss track of her, releasing a freestyle parody of "I Rep You" to diss Zoé back. Zoé responded with death threats.
Sifre and Assa, of course, showed pleasure towards the feud, and Assa allegedly sent an email to Yahtzee congratulating her for making Zoé "feel like the piece of shit she really is". It was noted that Zoé was reported to be severely upset and stressed out due to the feud. Because of this, Yahtzee was attacked with severe online and public shaming, and extreme praise by Sifre and Assa.
On Zoe's 16th birthday in January 2017, it was reported that Yahtzee sent Zoé over 4,000,000€ worth of presents. Zoé showed shock towards this, and she and Yahtzee were later seen together in a Hartlanian pub in April 2017 on good terms. It was later revealed that they resolved things through Yahtzee admitting that she was merely paid to do this, and that she was actually proud of Zoé. The two have collaborated three times since, and Yahtzee goes out of her way to back up Zoé in her modern controversies.
Ban in Sallisland
On 8 May 2013, it was reported that Flavia music was to be banned from Sallislandic radio and television with immediate effect, due to Assa Darson fabricating a contract with Pakage to distribute it.
As such, no Flavia music received airplay (barring songs which merely featured her) in Sallisland until 2 December 2017, as a legitimate contract for distribution was made that June. However, "Dancing with the Devil" and "Don't Wanna Stop" are still not played, due to the license only being made for the content of the Seeing Stars album, resulting in the license for the said two songs never being validated.
Juicebox Awards voting scandal
At the Juicebox Awards 2014, Zoé won the award for "Best New Rapper". However, it was reported the next day that almost all of the votes for her were her voting for herself, using VPNs to change her IP address. Since this was against the rules, Zoé's award was taken away and destroyed on live TV. She was also banned from appearing in the award show for the next 20 years.
In 2017, at the MyMusic Awards, Zoé slapped Club 2 presenter Tamí Aguado in the face and almost full-on beat her up for calling her (Zoé) a "flow stealer" in response to Zoé bragging about being "up so high already", and Zoé was ganged up on and attacked by Tamí and Xoey Dawson later that night, with all three of them being brought into police custody for 3 days and 5 hours.
In January 2018, leading up to the release of Zoé's second album, Assa Darson attempted to get a trademark registered for the "Flavia" name on Zoé's behalf. However, singer Flavia Hershey objected to this and sued them back as she was planning to release perfume under the name "Flavia", and in March, the trademark was denied.
- The Flavia stage name is officially transliterated into Sallish as "Flavja", matching the Portuguese pronunciation, but as Zoé pronounces it as "Flay-vee-ah", it should be transliterated as "Flàvija".
- She sued her workout app because she broke her hip doing the splits.