By Frazer Harrison/.
Remember Jake Paul? He’s that obnoxious YouTuber who got fired by Disney—he had a role on a show called Bizaardvark—after a particularly odious appearance on a local newscast, in which Paul bragged about how much his neighbors hated both him and his prank-loving roommates. (Among other offenses, Paul and his crew had set a bunch of furniture on fire in an empty pool, as 20-year-olds with way too much money and spare time are wont to do.) But just one month later, Paul wants everyone to know that he’s a totally different guy. “Humbled,” even. That said, he also wants you to know that a lot of this is not really his fault.
“Looking back, I see why everyone was like, ‘Yo, this kid sucks,’“ Paul told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the local news report. “‘Cause I look super immature.” (Indeed, it should be noted that at the time of Paul’s firing, this writer’s go-to teen source described Paul as a “very trash person.”) In the newscast, Paul and his gang of YouTubers climbed onto the news van, ambushed the newscaster with a T-shirt cannon, and refused to apologize for the disturbance that they were causing, through both their own raucous antics and the swarm of fans that regularly teems on the street outside their house, because Paul shares his address with his followers. As T.H.R. notes, the neighbors are still debating launching a class-action lawsuit.
Paul’s initial reaction to the furor surrounding the video was flippant at best; he even released a music video in which he rapped about what he called an incomplete picture of him painted by the media.
Now Paul is striking a more apologetic tone. But though he acknowledged in his T.H.R. interview that the newscast wasn’t exactly his best look, it appears he also isn’t ready to accept full responsibility: “We’re not even that loud,” he added. “Like, yes, we had a furniture fire get out of control in our backyard one time. But that didn’t harm a single person.”
As outlined in T.H.R., Paul’s trajectory has been pretty straightforward thus far. He and his brother started making videos in Ohio; when his Vine following grew, he realized he could make a living off those clips, and moved to Hollywood after his junior year of high school. Since then, he’s tried to make a name for himself within “traditional media” while also maintaining his social-media standing. (“I believe the stars of the future will need both.”)
His biggest break in the traditional-media realm was his Disney show, Bizaardvark, in which he appeared for 37 episodes. (Upon severing ties with Paul, Disney said in a statement, “We’ve mutually agreed that Jake Paul will leave his role.”) The way Paul describes it, the tension between his persona and House Mouse’s fuzzier image had already been mounting before he got axed: “I was becoming edgier with my content,” Paul admitted. For instance, he posted a video in which he flipped the bird “for literally half a second.” The brass at Disney talent relations responded by allegedly sending him angry e-mails. As Paul said, “I don’t know if they were having someone scan my videos full-time, but I’m guessing they were. There kept on being moments like that every few weeks.”
These days, Paul is far from destitute. He still has his massive YouTube following, as well as a mini-tour planned and a slew of merchandise. And if there’s one thing Hollywood loves, it’s giving white men second chances when they behave badly.
Still, Paul admits that this ordeal has caused problems in at least one area of his life: house hunting. “The problem is, we can’t put my name on the lease,” he told T.H.R. “Because if they look me up now, then they would see all this bad stuff.” Perhaps he should consider hooking up with the Property Brothers; they can find him a house, and in return, he can star in one of the movies they’ve written.
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