The formerly Philly-based director behind Snoop Dogg’s controversial music video featuring a mock assassination of President Trump says he “click-baited the president” after finding his own website redirected to Trump’s official site Sunday.
Directed by YouTuber Jesse Wellens, 34, the recently released video for Snoop’s “Lavender” remix created a wave of controversy last week with the mock execution of a clown version of President Trump named Ronald Klump. In the video, Snoop fires a handgun at Klump, putting out a “bang” flag rather than a bullet, in classic Looney Tunes style.
The video below contains foul language and mature themes. Please watch at your own discretion:
“Lavender” created somewhat of a beef between Snoop and Trump, who tweeted following the video’s release earlier this month that the rapper would likely face “jail time” had he targeted former President Barack Obama:
Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
Additionally, the video drew a strong reaction from Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who implied that the Secret Service ought to “kill” Snoop and fellow rapper Bow Wow, who piled on Trump in the wake of the “Lavender” video’s release. Others, such as rapper Rick Ross, defended Snoop.
“I think it’s dope any time that you can exercise your right and speak your mind,” Ross told Billboard last week. “Speak your mind at all times, so whatever Snoop says, believe that.”
Wellens, the video’s director, first rose to prominence in 2007 as the YouTube star behind PrankvsPrank, featuring pranks that he and his now-ex-girlfriend Jeana Smith would play on each other. That channel also spawned a spinoff BFvsGF, which Smith now operates. Wellens runs the PrankvsPrank account.
Philadelphians may remember Wellens as Ed Bassmaster's right-hand man in the prank surrounding the death of hitchBOT, the friendly, hitchhiking Canadian "robot" who met an early end in Philly in 2015. Wellens moved to New York City following his breakup with Smith last year.
Speaking to Billboard, Wellens, a New Jersey native, said that the idea for the video came after the death of Philando Castile, who was shot to death by Minnesota Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez in a traffic stop in June 2016 (Yanez has since pleaded not guilty on manslaughter and firearms charges). Wellens said he wanted to “bring the clowns out” with his video.
“I just had been seeing this go on in the world politically, and I actually was a cop for six years in the military, so I can kind of see it from the cop’s point of view, too” Wellens told Billboard last week. “When I originally wrote the idea of the video, the video of [Philando Castile] getting shot came out online and it was causing riots. We just kind of wanted to bring the clowns out, because it’s clownery — it’s ridiculous what’s happening.”
Snoop Dogg, meanwhile, defended Wellens’ work, saying in a video posted online that Wellens' concept “is so right on point.”
“The whole world is clowning around, and [Jesse’s] concept is so right on point with the art direction and the reality,” Snoop said. “Because if you really look at some of these [expletive], they are clowns.”
Wellens may not have gotten out of the incident unscathed, News broke Sunday afternoon that his website appears to have been redirected to the official website of President Trump, which it continued to do so at the time of publication. The YouTube star, however, is taking the apparent hacking in stride, writing that he “click baited the president,” which was important because “the world had needed a talk.”
������ they got me. https://t.co/ReGxtWGlos
— Jesse (@Jessewelle) March 19, 2017
I mean basically click baited the president...and he clicked�� Art is made to start a discussion. I think the world had a needed talk.
— Jesse (@Jessewelle) March 19, 2017
Wellens last year signed with talent agency WME, and has recently stepped up posting non-prank-oriented content to his YouTube channel. Most recently, Wellens appeared in YouTube Red’s Prank Academy, and detailed his experience of directing Snoop Dogg in a vlog: