YouTube star Jake Paul has been called out after claiming that Covid-19 is a “hoax” and saying the US should “open up and go back to normal”.
The 23-year-old told The Daily Beast: “It’s time for us to open up. Obviously, it’s a controversial subject, but it’s time for our nation to open up and go back to normal.”
He said that he believes the seriousness of the pandemic has been exaggerated, claiming that America’s lockdown measures are more detrimental to the country than the disease.
“There are people losing jobs, there are small businesses who are going bankrupt, there are millions of people who are unemployed right now,” he said. “People are turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with everything that’s going on.”
Paul added: “[Lockdown] is the most detrimental thing to our society. Covid cases are at less than one per cent and I think the disease is a hoax.”
When Paul was informed that coronavirus was responsible for more than 260,000 deaths across the US, he was apparently dismissive. “Ugh. Yeah, and so has the flu,” said Paul.
The publication, however, pointed out that “the flu kills between 20,000 and 70,000 people a year".
He added: “It sucks. I don’t want those people to die, and nobody wants them to die but it is the process of life. And s*** happens so… I don’t know.”
Fellow YouTube star Tyler Oakley was among those to criticise Paul for his comments.
In a Twitter post, Oakley wrote: “This entire @thedailybeast interview… wow. What a mess. @Jakepaul remains aggressively ignorant & so embarrassing.”
Others appeared to criticise the publication for giving Paul a platform.
“Y’all need to stop acting like Jake Paul being a dumb douchebag is breaking news,” tweeted YouTuber Philip DeFranco.
“When you give someone the chance to grow and they continually over the years reveal themselves to the be the worst kind of person, that’s the one place you should believe them.”
“Jake Paul is an adult man who still complains habitually about his high school english teacher because she told him she was worried about his future, so it makes sense that he has a little kid's grasp of being asked to stay inside and not do fun things,” wrote pro-gamer Jenny Nicholson.
In July this year, the internet celebrity came under fire for hosting a party despite coronavrius restrictions.
Video footage from the gathering shared on social media showed large groups of people partying without masks and social distancing measures at Paul’s mansion in Calabasas, Los Angeles.
Paul was condemned by Calabasas mayor Alicia Weintraub, stating: “It’s really just a party acting like Covid does not exist, it’s acting that businesses aren’t closed… We all have to do our part.”
In June, the Youtube star was charged by police after looting an Arizona mall during a Black Lives Matter protest.