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In the finale of the Shane Dawson YouTube documentary, Jake Paul sat for a long interview where he theorized about why so many people hate him, the alleged bullying of former Team 10 members, and how he might be emotionally stunted.
But the most intense moments of the 105-minute eighth episode were when Paul discussed his volatile relationship with ex-girlfriend Alissa Violet and his brother Logan Paul.
It’s the rawest moment of the entire documentary series, and it shows Jake Paul in an entirely new light. Earlier in the series, Dawson wondered aloud if Paul was a sociopath, but in this interview, Paul expresses how hurt he was when his brother betrayed him with Violet.
“It was the most alone I felt in my life,” Paul said. “I felt like I lost everything.”
In episode 7 of the documentary, Dawson interviewed Violet, who has 3.6 million YouTube subscribers and 8.6 million Instagram followers. She said Paul emotionally—but not physically—abused her throughout their relationship.
“I wasn’t like getting abused every night when he came home from work,” she said. “It was never physical abuse. If we filmed a video, and he had to push me into a bush, normally, you’d nudge someone or pretend to push someone. He would actually shove me. … He would just do it way too hard …
“I want to clear the air. He’s not a physical abuser. But mentally and emotionally … every day, 2,000 times a day. I can’t even remember a conversation where it was me walking away feeling good about myself.”
Then, she got together with Logan, an act she later said, “I’m still disgusted by it, because it’s not who I am. It’s not who I ever wanted to be. But it happened.”
Dawson talked with Jake Paul extensively about what that meant to him and how he responded.
“I did a bunch of things that pissed her off, me not knowing how to treat her or being mean to her,” Paul told Dawson. “She wanted to get revenge. We were living together, we were doing business together. We were dating, we were not dating. It was a terrible situation.
“She came up with a plan in her head that she wanted me to feel that way that she felt. Out of spite, she began a relationship with my brother behind my back without me knowing about it. It was a sexual relationship, and it was while we were on and while we were off. In the back of her head, I know that she wanted me to find out. That was her way of hurting me and getting revenge.”
In her interview, Violet said she and Paul never officially dated. But when Jake Paul was told about his brother and Violet, he said he was devastated and heartbroken.
“Why would my brother do this?” Jake Paul said. “In our fucked-up relationship, we did a lot of things to hurt each other. But that was it for me.”
Jake Paul, though, said he’s forgiven both parties.
“I brought her so much pain,” Paul said. “No one in this situation is innocent.”
Paul and Dawson also touched on a variety of other controversial topics. Here are the big moments.
Paul is self-aware that he’s hated by a large portion of the YouTube community. He said he knows an older generation of YouTube viewers think his videos, including “It’s Everyday, Bro,” are “garbage and cringy” and he said a lot of his controversies would lead people to believe that “this kid is a jackass.”
Paul said his channel grew so quickly and that he made so much money early in his YouTube career that he basically didn’t care about the consequences of his actions. For Paul, all he cared about were the clicks.
“For every action, there’s a consequence. I know that now,” Paul said. “But I don’t think I realized that at the height of my vlogging days. I would act and not care what the result was. It was dumb.”
The only real pushback Paul gave to Dawson was when Dawson said that many people believed that Paul was trying to manipulate his young viewers to buy his merchandise. Dawson also said he believed Paul had been emotionally stunted as a child and that, in some cases, he still doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong.
“It’s fucking stupid people think that’s manipulative,” Paul said. “I don’t see a problem with it at all. Just because my fans are younger, does that mean I’m manipulating them? I don’t think a kid would actually believe that, that [they’re] not cool if [they] don’t have that. A big part of my content is to make someone’s day. To me, that’s what the merchandise is about. It’s being a part of that community, wearing something that actually means something.
“I know I promote the shit out of my merch. For people to say I’m trying to manipulate younger kids, it’s ridiculous.”
After the Martinez twins left Team 10 last year, they said Paul and his friends constantly bullied them, pranked them, and called them racial epithets. In response, Paul told Dawson that the Martinez’s new manager “flipped the switch inside their heads to turn them against us.”
Paul said his videos were lightly scripted and that with all of the pranks, the Martinez twins knew ahead of time what was coming. “Those pranks,” Paul said, “were fake.”
He also attributed the language to a frat-boy culture in the Team 10 house—in which the Martinez twins also contributed—and how he was raised.
“Growing up, there was no line,” Paul said. “You could say anything. … That’s how I was raised. I think the Martinez twins came into that environment … and anything was a joke. We talk about each other’s moms, sisters. We dissed each other. Anything that was said about me or my family, it was just a joke. That was just comedy.”
Dawson also gave some advice to Paul on how he should phase his father, Greg Paul, out of his business life. In an earlier episode of the documentary, Erika Costell, Jake Paul’s girlfriend, revealed that Greg Paul lives with his son.
“I know Greg means very well and he does help with a lot,” Costell told Dawson. “But him living here has put a lot of stress on Jake. I know that for a fact. There’s a certain energy. The energy shifts when he walks in the room. It’s not a good situation. I think everybody in the house knows that. It’s not good to have him living here.”
Jake Paul seemed to agree with Dawson’s assessment, though he also defended Greg Paul, who recently had his email hacked and later denied that he had sex with underage women. “My dad’s in there right now to look over everyone’s shoulder,” Paul said. “My old business teams were stealing money from me. In that capacity, it’s been super helpful.”
There’s plenty more to be unpacked from Dawson’s final episode. Here’s the entire video.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.