Depending on which generation you were born into, you might know the American actor and musician Jared Leto for a wide array of reasons. I personally remember him from Requiem for a Dream and the absolute trauma that movie caused my 15-year-old self. Some may also associate Leto with Fight Club’s Angel Face character while for others his face brings forth unwanted flashbacks from the car crash that was his performance as Suicide Squad’s Joker. Heck, if you’re not much of a movie buff but know a thing or two about fashion, then Leto can only represent one thing to you: Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele’s most favoured muse, placed even before Harry Styles and Lana Del Rey on the pedestal.
But Leto should be known for more than his surprisingly long-lasting acting career or the name he’s made for himself in the music industry with his band Thirty Seconds To Mars—fronted by the man himself along with his brother Shannon Leto on drums. It’s time for Leto to be dragged for more than his embarrassingly meme-worthy acting attempt in House of Gucci—it’s about time we addressed the problematic behaviour he’s been displaying for years without ever facing the repercussions. From accusations of paedophilia and rape to his bizarre cult island, we’ve gathered all the receipts.
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When the Leto brothers formed their rock band in 1998, they probably never imagined the fan base it would accumulate over the years. Thirty Seconds To Mars (also known as 30STM) went on to consistently enjoy sold-out tours and even headline numerous festivals. Known for its energetic live performances, fused elements from a wide variety of genres, its use of philosophical and spiritual lyrics, concept albums, and experimental music, the band took a strange turn when it started holding cult-like “summer camps” for its audience in 2015.
What seemed to have started as an ironic comment—in 2013, Leto told The New York Times Magazine that it was “a joke, a response to journalists saying, ‘You have such a cult following.’”—quickly turned into a golden opportunity to fleece their audience. In August 2019, while on yet another island retreat they’d held in Croatia for hundreds of fans, Thirty Seconds To Mars tweeted, “Yes, it’s a cult,” sending the internet into an understandable frenzy.
As reported by KQED in September 2019, the band’s fans “collectively refer to themselves as ‘the Echelon’, and are a group that seems overwhelmingly immersed not [just] in music nerd-dom, but rather a more general sort of love for the community surrounding the band.” I mean, just watch 10 seconds of the fan-made video below and you’ll get an idea of the megachurch vibes 30STM is giving off:
Oh, and in case you’re still not convinced, keep in mind that the Echelon also seems more than happy to don all-white uniforms and worship Leto’s feet. No biggie.
KQED further noted, “Like many cults, the Echelon espouses an us vs. them mentality via the hashtag #YouWouldntUnderstand, a refrain Leto repeats often. That idea has pushed supporters to ever more fervent degrees of devotion any time the band receives any degree of criticism.”
Looking into the band’s eyebrow-raising trips, the publication revealed that its Camp Mars event, which was held between 7 and 9 September 2019, charged $999 for two nights of outdoor camping, where you had to bring your own tent and supplies, Fyre Festival-style. The getaway also included daytime outdoor activities like rock-climbing and archery, plus two Thirty Seconds To Mars concerts, which the band called ‘Church of Mars’. More expensive dorm options were also offered, but the only way to sleep in a space that wasn’t shared with strangers was to pay $6,499 for a “VIP experience.” Neat.
But that’s all fine, because Leto declared the band “anti-greed” back in 2013. Whether the whole cult aspect surrounding 30STM started as a joke or not, what certainly seems to be serious is how aware Leto is of his fans’ dedication to him. This thirst for devotion has most definitely played a part in the worrying accusations the celebrity has faced both before and after.
In May 2018, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Dylan Sprouse—yep, that’s the twin brother of Cole Sprouse who is best known for his role as Zack Martin on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck—posted a tweet accusing Leto of sending DMs to every model aged 18 to 25.
It quickly escalated when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted the following as an answer to Sprouse’s initial tweet, “He starts at 18 on the internet?” Though the tweet has since been deleted, many netizens managed to grab a screenshot beforehand:
This was not the first time Gunn tried speaking up about Leto’s predatory behaviour either. In June of 2015, the director reportedly did a live stream on the video app Periscope in which he made similar remarks about the actor’s habits of sleeping with underage girls. SCREENSHOT did not manage to locate a copy of the video in question.
In that same year, the New York Post reported that the 30STM frontman had been pursuing teen models. “He’s been approaching all the girls and inviting them to his shows,” an anonymous source told the paper. “He’s a serial texter. He is constantly texting these 16- and 17-year-old girls. It’s really kind of creepy.”
For a man who openly held a competition in which the prize was a night sleeping in his bed and who fronts a band that is known to specifically request their fans get tattoos in their honour, to be accused of such things should have been enough to eventually lead the actor to face at least some kind of consequence. And yet, not much happened to the cult leader in 2018, even after a worrying number of allegations, some from years before then, started appearing online.
Though the article has since been wiped clean from the internet, in July 2015, pop culture writer for the now-vanished media criticism site Contemptor, Evangeline Van Houten, made some waves for her piece titled Another Cosby? A Reminder That Several Women Have Accused Jared Leto Of Sexual Assault. In it, the journalist collected several confronting allegations of sexual misconduct from fans of 30STM.
A number of victims, as young as 15, described having sex with Leto and some of the allegations suggested the singer acted despite a lack of consent or continued even when asked to stop. One account stated, “He was very pushy into coercing me to do sexual acts with him and he was quite rough and forceful. Once he was unnecessarily rough and when I told him it hurt he didn’t stop—he never did anything slowly or for my pleasure… And no, he never asked me if I was ever ok or comfortable with anything he wanted to do, simply because he is not the person to care.”
The 50-year-old actor never tried to respond to such accusations, and let’s be honest, it never seemed like he really had to, especially since barely anyone even made the effort to shed light on his alleged predatory behaviour. A Reddit thread based on the article mentioned above includes many more shocking accounts, in case you’re wondering exactly how many victims we’re looking at here.
In 2014, a Star Magazine print issue featured an interview with former adult film star Vicki Marie Taylor claiming that, back when Leto dated Cameron Diaz, she and three other strip dancers had been invited to a post-concert get-together one night in April 2002.
“The other girls and I stripped down to bikinis and hung out with Jared and the band backstage,” Taylor told Star. “After a while, Jared invited me onto his tour bus. His brother, Shannon, the band’s drummer, was already on it and the three of us were the only people there. I gave Jared a lap dance for just a minute, but then he asked me to do the same for his brother, who was sitting on a couch. As I started to dance for Shannon, Jared suddenly grabbed me around the throat from behind and said to me, ‘I can reach pure sexual enjoyment in 30 seconds just by looking into your eyes’. Obviously, it was kind of a weird situation.”
She went on to say that Leto then sat back down and watched Taylor lap dance his brother for ten minutes until a roadie announced it was time for them to leave for their next gig.
The internet is home to many (many, many) more accounts of Leto allegedly sexually assaulting (sometimes underage) victims. However, some internet users have suggested that such online accusations are not to be taken seriously due to the fact that they never actually evolved into sexual assault and rape police cases—a very stupid and uneducated way of looking at the situation.
How many times do we have to say it? The fear of not being believed makes it even harder for victims to come forward, so imagine how frightening it must be for anyone facing Leto and his somewhat invincible yet invisible team of lawyers. Almost 90 per cent of sexual assault survivors will never go to the police.
And it’s not only that victims are worried people won’t believe them, they also worry they will face horrific repercussions for coming forward with their story—whether personally, professionally or from the perpetrator themselves—especially if they go on to report the assault to concerned authorities. Seeing how much of an expert Leto is at emptying his fans’ pockets, it’s not hard to think of the many options he has under his belt when trying to silence his victims.
Over the years, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK)—real name Colson Baker—has somehow managed to continuously make headlines. First, he became known as that guy who tried (and ridiculously failed, might I add) to diss Eminem on his song ‘Rap Devil’. Give it a few years and MGK went from rap-industry B-teamer to Megan Fox’s manic pixie dream boy and Pete Davidson’s bestie. Along with Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, the duo brought power couples back from the 2000s.
What some of you may not know however, is that beyond his cringeworthy persona, Machine Gun Kelly has a pretty shady history of sexualising underage girls throughout his career. And surprise, surprise, it’s part of the reason why Eminem noticed him in the first place. Just like we previously exposed Drake’s behaviour, we have all the receipts on exactly why it’s high time we cancel MGK—here are all the times the artist said or did some questionable things. Buckle up, Megan.
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The singer’s now-infamous beef with Eminem (real name Marshall Bruce Mathers III) actually originated years before the release of ‘Rap Devil’. Back in 2012, Machine Gun Kelly tweeted about Marshall’s daughter, Hailie Jade Mathers, who was 16 at the time. The now-deleted tweet read, “Ok so I just saw a picture of Eminem’s daughter… And I have to say, she is hot as fuck, in the most respectful way possible cause Em is king.”
At the time, Eminem did not hear word of the tweet and years passed without anyone else seeming to see such a statement as problematic. Then in 2018, the rapper came out with the song ‘Not Alike’ where the lyrics read, “I’m talkin’ to you, but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly. I don’t use sublims and sure as fuck don’t sneak-diss. But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie.”
Talking to the American journalist, radio personality, executive producer and rapper Sway during a 2018 interview, Eminem explained how he ended up finding MGK’s tweet six years later. “One day, you know, you go down a wormhole on YouTube or whatever,” he said. “I see ‘Machine Gun Kelly Talks About Eminem’s Daughter’ or whatever. I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’ I click on it… He starts doing a press run, basically, about Hailie. I’m like, ‘What the fuck? Yo, my man better chill’.”
He continued, “The reason I dissed him is actually a lot more petty than that. The reason that I dissed him is because he got on—first he said, ‘I’m the greatest rapper alive since my favourite rapper banned me from Shade 45’ or whatever he said, right? Like I’m trying to hinder his career. I don’t give a fuck about your career. You think I actually think about you? You know how many fucking rappers are better than you? You’re not even in the fucking conversation.”
Between MGK and Eminem, things never died down—and for good reason. In his 2020 song ‘Zeus’, Eminem rapped, “Fair weather, wishy-washy. She thinks Machine washed me. Swear to God, man, her favourite rapper wish he’d crossed me,” while on the song ‘Gnat’ he added, “They come at me with machine guns. Like trying to fight off a gnat.” MGK took to Twitter to address the latest gibe.
As expected, fans of the two respective sides each attempted to prove exactly who ‘the best rapper of all time’ is.
But his comment about Eminem’s daughter is not the only time Machine Gun Kelly showed signs of sexualising teens. It’s a pattern for the artist.
During a 2013 interview with Fuse, the then-23-year-old singer revealed his celebrity crush to be Kendall Jenner, who was 17 at the time. When the interviewer asked if he was counting down the days until she was 18, which, let’s be honest, is a creepy question in and of itself, MGK responded, “I’m not waiting ‘till she’s 18, I’ll go now.”
“I’m 23, I’m not like a creepy age. I’m 23, she’s 17 and she’s a celebrity—there is no limits right there,” he continued. No matter how old MGK was when he made such a statement, the laws of California (where Jenner lives) say otherwise. The age of consent is 18, making whatever he ‘dreamt of doing’ to the model illegal.
“Robert Plant, who was one of the greatest lead singers ever, dated a girl that was 14,” he defended himself. “Axel Rose, who was one of the biggest badasses ever, dated a girl that was 16.” The man is literally naming some of the creepiest rock icons there are—we should have spotted the red flags. “I don’t care. Say what you want, man. If Kendall Jenner was in your bedroom naked, and you’re 50, you’re going,” MGK added in his last attempts at justifying such problematic comments.
But wait, it gets even worse.
In 2010, at 19-years-old, MGK tweeted, in what can probably be seen as his worst offence so far, “I wish 13/14/15 year old girls weren’t allowed to be hot so I wouldn’t feel like such a creeper when I look at them… I’m still 19 #imjustsayin.” Obviously, this tweet has also been deleted since then.
Oh, and in 2009, he also tweeted, “There’s a little 13 year old girl next to me going crazy over my Transformers tattoo, don’t worry though I won’t pull an R Kelly.” Charming.
In 2011, the now-idolised celebrity tweeted yet another worrying thought, “Ok so I got a Facebook message from a 14 year old just now saying ‘hey, you’re sexy as fuck. I’d tap dat’.”
As if his obvious sexualisation of underage girls wasn’t enough, Machine Gun Kelly has also previously said some questionable things about black women.
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In a 2012 YouTube video posted by Baller Alert where MGK was interviewed while walking the BET Awards’ red carpet, the presenter asked him about one of his recent tweets that stated he likes “chocolate milk.” He answered with, “I’ll tell it like this, my child is black. Black girls give the best head.” It goes without saying that his statement was saturated with misogynoir however, it remains unclear exactly why he had followed up with that statement—the generalisation that was implied in what he said and the manner in which he spoke about it were worrying to say the least.
During this interview, a black woman who was standing behind the interviewer walked away, visibly offended, and Machine Gun Kelly took it upon himself to call her a “dirty dick bitch” while still on camera—disrespecting the type of woman he half-assed ‘praised’ just seconds before. All the while, having a young pre-teen black daughter. Classy.