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What Can We Learn from Shane Dawson’s Series about Jake Paul?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UAB chapter.

In the past few months, Shane Dawson has started doing these documentary style series on YouTube with controversial Youtubers. He researches and interviews them about their most dramatic, public scandals to reveal the closest thing to the truth as possible. He recently aired the finale to his most intense and controversial subject: Jake Paul.

Jake Paul is one of the most hated Youtubers on the internet. In this series, we learn a lot about Jake’s background and motivations behind everything he does, from the videos he makes with Team 10 to his family and relationship history. Needless to say, the series gets very emotional and discusses some very dark issues.

After watching these videos and learning so much about Jake’s personal life, what can we take away?

If you’ve watched the series, it’s clear that there are a hundred different sides to one story. People are bound to pick sides and lash out at others, but do we ever know the full story? Loyalty and trust are very important in any kind of relationship, but when it breeds hatred and hostility toward an opposing party, it becomes irrational and dangerous. Especially when this relationship is among fans and public figures.

Fan bases are quick to jump to conclusions and believe anything that their idol tells them, so when two celebrities have a feud, people have to choose who to side with and send hate toward the “enemy.” But even when someone is telling their own truth, not intending to spread lies or drama, it is exactly that: their own truth. Everybody has their own version of the events in their lives, and their perspectives are biased and flawed. That doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. It just means we have to take every side into consideration before we act, or refrain from acting at all.

Popular opinion is always guided by favoritism, so we constantly make someone out to be Public Enemy No. 1. In this case, it was Jake Paul, but it happens all the time. Take Tonya Harding for example. In the 90s, she was one of the most hated public figures, but the movie I, Tonya shows a different perspective that allows the audience to understand Tonya’s story and her past. Tonya’s experiences illustrate how the media can manipulate information and paint someone out to be a horrible human being, and usually, there is nothing they can do about it that won’t make it worse.

We live in an age where fake news is ever-present, and we have to be careful not to get sucked into all the lies. It takes a lot of time and energy to triple-check your sources and make sure the information you read is credible, but we still have to be wary of how misinformation can influence our own perceptions of people and the world.

Ultimately, we must accept that nobody is all bad or all good. Life is more ambiguous than that, and all people are vastly complex. So rather than forming opinions and picking sides without knowing the whole story, we could simply stop villainizing others and accept that we are all human beings who all make mistakes. We are here to grow and to change through these mistakes. Next time you find yourself or your friends hating someone you don’t even know, try and see it their way. Perhaps instead of wasting your energy with an antagonistic mindset, you could learn something about yourself and how your own experiences have shaped you.