- Jake Paul apparently proposed to Tana Mongeau on Monday – to immediate scepticism about their engagement.
- Paul is a practiced hoaxer who creates elaborate fake personal narratives for his YouTube channel.
- He even used a similar playbook for a fake marriage to YouTuber Erika Costell a year ago.
- It all shows that YouTube’s influencer community operates like one big reality TV show. And like any reality TV show, you should assume everything is fake unless proven otherwise.
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On Monday, YouTube stars Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau had some news to share: They were engaged!
After weeks of are-they-dating-or-not speculation, Paul proposed to Mongeau. She said yes, tweeting out the news and sharing an Instagram video of the diamond ring.
The relationship – and subsequent engagement – is probably fake
As soon as they shared the news on social media, fans and reporters alike expressed doubts. It wasn’t even clear if the two were in a relationship before now. And both of them are in their early 20s – Paul 22, Mongeau 21 – so it all seemed rather sudden.
Those doubts are perfectly legitimate. There’s no reason to believe the “relationship” has any tether to reality. Both Paul and Mongeau are habitual liars who make up personal stories for attention and, in turn, business opportunities. The engagement is in all likelihood a sham.
Their ‘relationship’ started mere months ago and has been treated as a joke the entire time
The supposed relationship began just two months ago, in April, when Mongeau made a teary video about splitting from her cheating ex-boyfriend, Brad Sousa. Eagle-eyed viewers observed that Mongeau dispatched the video from Paul’s Team 10 House, the Calabasas mansion where he and his collective of YouTubers live and make videos. Mongeau seemed to be using Paul as a rebound, and she seemingly confirmed it with another video two days later.
The two then denied being in a relationship in another video, but kissed each other anyway, making the situation even more ambiguous. In the past two months, as my colleague Lindsay Dodgson observed, they have spent a lot of time on each other’s channels and refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend – all while treating it as a joke.
Jake Paul’s previous ‘marriage’ was totally fake
Paul’s proposal, charitably viewed, could be seen as erasing that ambiguity and making the relationship solid. If they had previously buried their true feelings by treating it with ironic distance, then the diamond ring is – literally and figuratively – a crystallization of their feelings into something tactile.
But it’s probably not, and you don’t need to look any further than Paul’s own YouTube channel and relationship history for the evidence.
For around a year, he was in an apparent relationship with Erika Costell, another YouTuber. From the beginning, it was fake.
“We’re not even actually dating,” Paul told the New York Times in 2017. “It’s like the WWE. People know that’s fake, and it’s one of the biggest things of entertainment.”
Nonetheless, Paul made “Jerika” videos with titles like “WE ACTUALLY GOT MARRIED…” (they didn’t) “OUR FIRST DAY AS A MARRIED COUPLE!!” (it wasn’t), “Our first fight as a married couple… (sad)” (he’s fine) and “JERIKA GETS REMARRIED **new love**” (not how it works). They aren’t exactly in the tone of someone who takes marriage seriously.
The two “broke up” in 2018, following millions of video views and a distinctly awful music video.
Paul’s playbook for his relationship with Mongeau isn’t even original. Prior to his alleged engagement to Mongeau, Paul apparently bought her a $US124,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. During his “marriage” with Costell, he supposedly bought her a Tesla. (In a video posted earlier this month,Mongeau said she doesn’t even have a learner’s permit.)
Outside of his relationship history, Paul doesn’t exactly have the cleanest record. He hawked “mystery boxes” to his audience of young kids, which were widely considered a scam, and has participated in a lot of hoaxes and violent stunts. He isn’t someone you can trust.
YouTube is just one big reality TV show
Until now, Mongeau was best known for TanaCon, a festival that promised to star YouTube celebrities but spiraled into a disaster when she didn’t sufficiently plan for the 15,000 people who attended the event.
Mongeau’s relationship history, though, is more grounded in reality than Paul’s. She was in a polyamorous relationship with actress Bella Thorne and rapper Mod Sun for a year before Mongeau left it in February. (Thorne shared photos of herself crying in response to the Mongeau-Paul engagement on Instagram.)
And to Mongeau’s credit, her YouTube channel isn’t filled with pranks and stunts – that’s more of Paul’s domain.
But Mongeau still has something to sell. She’s coming out with a reality show on MTV called “Tana Turns 21,” which will stream on YouTube. The trailer, suspiciously, was released the same day she and Paul announced their engagement. At the end of it, the two share a kiss, and Mongeau claims they’re “falling in love.”
Meanwhile, she’s tweeting about the massive press attention the “engagement” has received.
— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@tanamongeau) June 25, 2019
And that’s what the YouTube influencer community – where people like Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau – really is. It’s one big reality TV show filled with manufactured drama, where the players leverage their feuds and relationships to sell products or advertising through their channels.
The job of an influencer is to sell a story of their life to an audience. That story doesn’t have to be real. And, in this case, it almost definitely isn’t.
- Read more:
- YouTube stars Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau appear to be engaged, but no one can tell if their relationship is for real. Here’s what we know so far.
- Bella Thorne shared photos of her crying after her ex-girlfriend Tana Mongeau got engaged to Jake Paul
- Jake Paul bought his fellow YouTuber ‘girlfriend’ Tana Mongeau a $US124,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen for her 21st birthday
- Jake Paul and other influencers are promoting ‘mystery boxes’ to their young audiences. Critics say it’s a scam.
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