If you didn’t think Jake Paul could get more problematic, think again.
On Monday, the viral star tweeted to his 3.7 million followers that anxiety is all in your head, writing: “remember anxiety is created by you. sometimes you gotta let life play out and remind yourself to be happy and that the answers will come.” He continued, “chill your mind out. go for a walk. talk to a friend.”
Twitter users were quick to point out how damaging the since-deleted tweet was, especially given that Jake’s audience skews very young.
Many felt the message was victim-blaming— that it reinforced stigma and encouraged his young audience not to seek professional help if they really need it.
After some pretty severe backlash, Jake deleted his original tweet.
Now, the YouTuber-turned-boxer is defending himself against the criticism, claiming his original tweet made a positive impact.
“everyone clowning my tweet but it’s now spreading more awareness about anxiety,” he tweeted. He finished by saying he, too, suffers from the mental illness and linked an article from Health Line about coping with anxiety.
Despite attempting to right his wrong, Jake’s tweet further fueled the fire.
Fellow YouTuber Taylor Nicole Dean tweeted back at him, saying those “clowning” his original tweet were providing useful information, writing: “ur tweet spread [bad] info about anxiety bc it can stop people from getting help when it’s needed thinking they can just walk it off and chill :/…those “clowning” r the ones providing good info.”
Rapper Mac Lethal also joined in, saying he’s had anxiety since he was a child despite taking the steps to alleviate it daily, as per Jake’s suggestion.
Others noted that there’s a difference between feeling anxious and having a legitimate anxiety disorder—the latter of which is a chemical imbalance in the brain and cannot be fixed by “going for a walk.” Many also replied saying they wish they could cure their mental illness by “chilling their mind” or “talking to a friend,” but it’s not that simple.
Jake has made no further comment on the matter.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety or mental illness, please seek help. Visit Mental Health Australia or call 1300 22 46 36.