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  • Robert Farago

Trevor Jacob Keeps His Pilot's License!

But heads for the rebar hotel. Another influencer wasn't so lucky...

One of drug dealing’s cardinal rules: don’t use the product! But what if you are the product? What it you make your living doing stupid shit for clicks, or selling a marketable version of your life on social media? How does that work out?

If you’re on the Jackass side of the equation, nothing short of intentionally crashing an airplane is too extreme or “off-limits” in the pursuit of endless views, likes, comments and shares.

Actually, that’s OK too, apparently. Just ask Trevor Jacob.

The 30-year-old Olympic snowboarder, Red Bull motorcyclist, pilot and skydiver jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, albeit his own, and let it to crash for clicks. A “mid-flight emergency” caught-on-camera, conveniently enough.

Fortunately, Jacob aimed his unguided missile into an uninhabited area. No one was injured in the making of his YouTube tomfoolery. Also to his credit: the mainstream media went ape shit over the “scandal.”

Less fortunately - at least for Jacob’s immediate future - the pilot thwarted the FAA’s investigation into the crash.

He airlifted the plane’s remains (via helicopter) to a discreet location, Sawzalled the evidence and dumped the parts in various locations, spree-killer-style.

The legal blowback for the “destruction and concealment of evidence with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation”: a six month stay at Club Fed.

In a video uploaded yesterday, we learned that the FAA hasn’t pulled his pilot’s license for the stunt gone right. Nor has YouTube banned Jacob’s high-flying hi-jinks. And he still has a cute girlfriend, a fat ass puppy and big ass smile for the camera.

Whether or not the GF and lab will still be wagging their tails when Jacob emerges from lock-up is an open question. Whether or not our social media mad world will continue to turn a blind eye to/reward creators of irresponsible and asinine social media content is not.

It’s easy enough to dismiss this vein of online Jackassery as “harmless fun” – as long as you’re callous enough to dismiss the people who die attempting to create it as desirable Darwinism. But there’s an even darker side to the more “serious” side of the influencer racket…

The Wall Street Journal’s article Behind the Tragic, Instagram-Perfect Life of an Ex-Disney Executive tells the tale.

Long story short, Disney Exec turned wildly successful social media star Dave Hollis ended up drinking and drugging himself to death. The addiction that killed the influencer-come-lately wasn’t alcohol, cocaine, ethanol or fentanyl. It was social media.

Following his tell-all-writer wife’s lead, Hollis shared his domestic drama with the world. Unlike other members of social media’s “here’s my heart on my sleeve” set, Hollis didn’t need the money. Just the attention. Positive attention.

When Hollis split from his wife, his “fans” turned on him, accusing the male mommy vlogger of betraying their trust by misrepresenting (a.k.a., “spinning”) his life and times. They weren’t wrong.

Months later, Wehan described Dave’s drug use as the “locked door” that influencers never open to their followers… Most troubling of all was how Dave, the man who’d surrounded himself with friends since childhood, who had nearly half a million followers at his command, had died alone. 

Jacob isn’t the first social media star to do something stupid that will influence others to try something equally dumb and illegal. Nor will he be the last.

Hollis is hardly the first social media self-help guru to lose his shit, disappear into drugs and depression and pay the ultimate price. Nor will he be the last.

Sensationalism and compelling personal drama. Those who best cater to either predilection on social media find fame and fortune. What they risk losing: their life and/or themself. Whatever that is.

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