Disney Splits With the YouTube Star Jake Paul
Disney is parting ways with Jake Paul, a YouTube star who appeared on the Disney Channel series “Bizaardvark,” days after he was the subject of a television news report about neighbors who were upset with his antics.
“We’ve mutually agreed that Jake Paul will leave his role on the Disney Channel series ‘Bizaardvark,’ ” the network said in a statement. “On behalf of the production company, the cast and crew, we thank Jake for his good work on the TV series for the past 18 months and extend our best wishes to him.”
Mr. Paul confirmed the news in a tweet.
“My team, Disney Channel, and I have come to the agreement its finally time for me to move on from the Disney family and ‘Bizaardvark,’ ” he said, calling his role on the show “a dream come true.”
“I love my cast mates and will continue to support Disney, but I have outgrown the channel and feel its time to move forward in my career,” he added.
The news came at the end of a week in which Mr. Paul, 20, attracted negative attention when a local news station aired a story about him feuding with some of his West Hollywood neighbors.
Neither Disney nor Mr. Paul referred to that conflict in their comments.
Mr. Paul, who has more than 8.8 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, has cultivated a roguish public image in his videos. They have shown him trying to stage a sleepover in the White House and building a trampoline obstacle course. After the local news report last week, he posted a prank video in an attempt to fool his viewers into thinking he got arrested.
A spokesman for Mr. Paul, Brooks Butterfield, said that “Bizaardvark” had been a significant time commitment, and that before the local news clip had caused such a stir, Mr. Paul had already requested more time away from the show.
“This whole split has been amicable all the way through,” Mr. Butterfield said.
Mr. Paul is not the first YouTube star with whom Disney has cut ties this year. In February, Felix Kjellberg, better known by his YouTube moniker PewDiePie, was dropped by Disney’s Maker Studios after The Wall Street Journal reported that he had posted anti-Semitic videos.
Disney’s experience with Mr. Paul and Mr. Kjellberg emphasizes the difficult situations the company finds itself in attempting to court young people who have made names for themselves on social media, where standards are far looser than those the company has tended to enforce.
“It seems Disney has decided they have to take some risks in order to stay relevant and they are prepared to deal with the clean up,” said Marlene Wallach, the president at Wilhelmina Kids & Teens who has represented Disney stars in the past.
“Bizaardvark,” a show about teenagers who make videos for a YouTube-like online channel, has featured a handful of guests with a significant presence on the digital medium. But Mr. Paul’s YouTube videos, often featuring rowdy pranks and stunts, frequently seem directed at an audience slightly older than the one that Disney courts.