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Arts and Entertainment

Who Is Jake Paul And Why Is He So Hated?

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
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YouTube star Jake Paul (he has nearly 10 million subscribers) got into a spot of trouble back in July when KTLA visited his Beverly Grove abode. The news crew was there to investigate claims that Paul and his housemates were wreaking havoc in the neighborhood. There, KTLA reported on evidence that pretty much supported all of the neighbors' complaints; Paul had lit a mattress on fire once, had revved motorcycles on residential streets, and had performed various attention-grabbing stunts that drew crowds. Neighbors were threatening to file a class action public nuisance lawsuit.

That KTLA report was damaging in the sense that it led Disney to fire him from the show Bizaardvark. But it was also a boon in that it fed into the quasi-mythology of Jake Paul (his subscriber count on YouTube added nearly 1 million since the KTLA incident). On Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with the 20-year-old Paul. In it, Paul espouses a weird brand of self-awareness that couldn't really be defined as self-awareness. Rather, it was like an awareness that he should be self-aware. Here are some choice selections from the interview:

Paul got introspective (kinda) about the whole fiasco:

"Looking back, I see why everyone was like, 'Yo, this kid sucks,' " said Paul. "Cause I look super immature."

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As noted at THR, his stunts on social media led to a big windfall for him at a young age:

According to THR, Paul and his brother had built such a large following on Vine that, by age 17, Burger King and other brands were approaching them with fat contracts. As Paul approached the time to enroll in college, he was already making six figures. He ultimately chose a life of internet stardom over higher education. "I finished my junior year of high school and flew out to Los Angeles," he says. "I didn't know the difference between a manager and an agent. But I got here and just started hustling and meeting anyone I could."

After signing on as a Disney star, the company kept a close watch on Paul's antics on social media, and they didn't like what they saw:

"I was becoming edgier with my content," said Paul. THR cites an incident where he flashed the middle-finger at the camera, and another in which Paul and his friends saunter into a Target and take over the PA system, singing "Happy Birthday" to the entire store. Paul would get testy warnings from Disney's talent division. "I don't know if they were having someone scan my videos full-time, but I'm guessing they were," he says. "There kept on being moments like that every few weeks."

In which Paul compares his work to Dr. Dre's:

Speaking on his ventures outside of Disney, Paul said he's a game-changer in social media, just like how Dr. Dre had re-mapped the hip-hop scene. He launched a YouTube-centric talent company called Team 10 as his attempt to "replicate what Dr. Dre did in the music industry in the social media business."

On Disney's decision to release him from Bizaardvark:

"They basically called me and were like, 'Yo, what's going on, what's going on?' " said Jake. "And I just explained the situation, and they were like, 'OK. We want to expedite this process of weaning you off the show.' And I was like, 'Yeah, that's fine. But it's going to look like you guys fired me.' And they were like, 'We can say that we mutually parted ways and blah, blah, blah.' And that's the reality of the story."

In a separate piece on THR, writer Seth Abramovitch included some outtakes from his interview with Paul. Abramovitch broached the topic of racism in 2017:

Paul's stance on the topic, it seems, is to refrain from engaging. "Honestly, it's crazy to me and I try to keep my nose out of it. And like I don't have any racial preferences or dislikes or whatever," said Paul "So to me it's all so crazy and like I said, I just try to keep my nose out of it and spread positivity and encourage others to kind of [ignore] that stuff."

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And coming back to the KTLA incident:

"So I was like, all right, I'm gonna go out there and literally my goal was to act like an idiot. That person that you see on camera is not who I am on a day-to-day basis."

On a separate, non-THR related bit of news, Paul uploaded a video on Wednesday in which he does his usual antics (this time at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami). Upon returning to his L.A. home, a friend/manager-type person informs Paul that "higher beings" have served them a notice saying that can't film at their house anymore without a permit. "After today, if we film at this house, we can face up to six months of prison," the friend says as he's being interrupted by others who are dabbing and cooing at a dog. "This is, like, serious," the friend maintains.

"Can I make Instagram stories?" another YouTube star at the house asks. Eventually, it begins to sink in that this may, indeed, be serious. But Paul ultimately shakes it off. "It's still everyday, bro. Don't even worry about it," says Paul.

"We're probably not allowed to talk about it," a co-hort warns him.

"We're not talking about it," Paul concludes.

You can watch it all play out (if you want) here: