Inside The Tween Drama Around Vine Star Jacob Sartorius

If you are over the age of 15, you probably haven't heard of him. And that's OK.

Hello, fellow adults.

I am one of you, and I am here to tell you about something you need to know about. It's very likely that you didn't realize you needed to know this, but just trust me on this one.

This is something that you will eventually learn about sooner or later, and you might as well get in early, so you can impress all the 10-year-olds you know.

This is Jacob Sartorius, and he's the hot new thing with kids. But also, he's controversial.

Jacob is a social media star — think Cameron Dallas (the Vine star) or Tyler Oakley (the YouTube star) — but like, way way way younger.

Don't worry if those names don't mean anything to you. You're an adult — you have other things going on in your life. All you need to know is they're cute boys who are wildly popular with young girl fans on social media.

He has a song called "Sweatshirt" out:

View this video on YouTube

Sample lyrics (very pre-teen friendly):

"So baby if you are not ready for my kiss
Then you can wear my sweatshirt
And you can tell your friends we'll be together till the end"

First things first, young girls like him because he's "cute".

Don't judge here, fellow adults. Think about who you had crushes on when you were in middle school. None of us can turn our noses up at the Tiger Beat crushes of adolescents. None of us are without guilt here.

I have two words for you, fellow adults: Scott. Baio.

Three more: Jonathan. Taylor. Thomas.

We were all tweens once. It's a humiliating age. Just let 11-year-old girls live their lives. They'll grow out of it.

Look, he's young. Very young. This is kind of funny.

Jacob grew his popularity on Vine, where he does funny videos like this, about how parents just don't understand:

He's also popular on an app called, which is for kids to make videos of themselves lip-synching.

View this video on YouTube

So, obviously, his fans are young girls (like these).

One 13-year-old I talked to on Twitter explained that the reason she loves Jacob is that he stands up for victims of bullying, and talked about being bullied himself in seventh grade. She's also a fan of other Vine stars like Cameron Dallas (an ancient 21 years old).

Plus, he's cute, he makes funny videos (OK, well, funny to a 13-year-old), and he sings.

The controversy about Jacob is actually about how he treats his fans.

A lot of the teens most annoyed at Jacob aren't just people who hate cheesy teenpop music or the somewhat cloying nature of Vine stardom. In fact, some of his biggest haters are fans of teenpop and Vine stars, but they just hate Jacob specifically.

One anti-Jacob teen I talked to who had been tweeting about how he sucks explained to me, "People, like myself, don't like Jacob Sartorius because he's famous for no reason whatsoever. He's been known to hate his fans (there's proof all over Twitter)! He said he just does what he does for the money. His song, 'Sweatshirt,' is a flop. His fans are odd. He's just doing it all wrong."

A series of allegations claim that Jacob acts poorly to his mostly young female fans. There are a few videos of him being rude that have gone viral within this fan world.

Here's an example in which a fan posted a video of meeting Jacob where she felt he appeared to be "disgusted" at her body size.

its literally only for a quick sec but enjoy jacob being disgusted at my size. :-))

I've watched this video clip like it's the Zapruder film, and I'll be perfectly honest: I don't totally see where he looks disgusted. Awkward, perhaps.

However, this fan clearly felt insulted by him and was made uncomfortable — I don't deny her perspective of the interaction. She was the one who was there, and she was the one who felt he behaved rudely.

This supposed screenshot of Jacob insulting fans gets passed around a lot by his detractors. (I suspect this is fake, but we can’t confirm either way.)

Look, I can’t verify this either way, but as an Internet Professional, I’m calling bullshit on this. Even the most diabolical teen wouldn’t talk like this. It’s just too on-the-nose for what the rumors and criticism about him already were (that he hates his fans and is just in it for the money).

Considering how many haters he has, it’s not unreasonable someone would fake a screenshot like this to try to scare his fans.

Another key example is this video where a fan asks Jacob to shoutout her three friends, and he says he can't possibly remember three names.

Whooooo is this lmfao 😩


But the most scandalous thing is the following screenshots, which have gone viral.

UPDATE: A rep for Jacob says these screenshots are from a fake Facebook account.

A representative for Jacob says that the screenshots below that have gone viral are from a fake account – a Jacob imposter account. The messages were from January of this year, but Jacob did not join Facebook until March.

So these are NOT actually Jacob asking for nudes. This is someone posing as Jacob – which is way creepier! This might be a real adult trying to trick a young girl into sending sexually explicit photos.

A young woman claimed that Jacob sent her these messages asking her to send nudes.

The young woman did not respond to my DM asking about these.

BuzzFeed reached out to Jacob but he did not respond to our requests to talk.

Another wrinkle in the controversy is whether or not Jacob was kicked off the Magcon tour.

Magcon is basically a bunch of Vine stars going on the road and putting on a show and meet-and-greets. It's basically the same concept as DigiTour, which you can read all about on BuzzFeed here.

Jacob started out on the Magcon tour this year, but at some point he left. The rumor, according to J-14, which is The Intercept of teen idoldom, is that Cameron Dallas, the Vine star who runs the tour, fired Jacob for being a dick to fans.

Fans noticed that Dallas and Jacob had unfollowed each other after Jacob left the tour along with two other Viners. Drama!

So there it is, adults. That's Jacob Sartorius.

Some young kids love him for his music and his comedy Vines. Other kids hate him because, well, some older kids are always going to want to crap on the stuff younger kids love. And even other kids hate him because they're fans of Vine stars but they think he's a bad seed.

Point is: You're probably going to hear more about him. And now you know.

Listen to this week's epsidoe of BuzzFeed's Internet Explorer podcast for more discussion of Jacob:

  • Katie Notopoulos

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