Born in Stockton, California, Lee found his claim to fame as a support cast member on “Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood,” the same franchise that helped propel acts like Cardi B into popularity. From there, he launched his media company and gossip outlet Hollywood Unlocked in 2015, which has since garnered 2.8 million followers across Instagram and 300K YouTube subscribers to date. His work extends beyond the media world, as he’s developed working relationships with celebrities such as Floyd Mayweather, Rihanna, Drake, and most recently Kanye West.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Jason Lee “Drink Champs” episode. Check them out below.
1. On cancel culture
This past month, Whoopi Goldberg was given a two-week suspension from ABC’s “The View” for her beliefs surrounding the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Joe Rogan was “canceled” after clips surfaced of the host using racial slurs during “The Joe Rogan Experience,” an ordeal that was met with support from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. On “Drink Champs,” Jason Lee compares the several different outcomes of cancel culture and how they vary depending on race.
“Cancel culture really only sticks for Black people. White people, they can get canceled today, and tomorrow they can be [on] a whole ‘nother magazine. They can have another Fortune 500 support them,” Lee emphasizes. He cites actress Awkafina, Whoopi Goldberg and Joe Rogan as names who have been “canceled” recently, subsequently having different consequences for their actions. “Cancel culture really ain’t real unless it’s our culture it applies to because then they don’t just cancel us, they try to destroy us.”
2. On his TMZ lawsuit
Earlier this year, public figures Kanye West, Madonna, Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Brown and several others were spotted listening to Drake’s “Come Thru” alongside Jason Lee, who reported the news shortly after copywriting it. TMZ later reposted the content without properly crediting Lee, leading him to publicly blast the outlet. The news company removed the post and eventually uploaded it again with the proper credits.
“We haven’t filed it, but it’s in the process. It’s not surprising that white people steal from Black people and Black culture. Harvey [Levin] has been a cocksucker of mine for a long time, and I don’t know if it’s because he’s old or if he’s on his way out,” the media personality told N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. “I told TMZ that you can use my content like I use yours, but there’s proper crediting. There’s a culture that exists in media. There’s a proper way to handle business.”
3. On Peter Rosenberg
In early 2020, Jason Lee went on Hot 97’s “Ebro in the Morning” to discuss LGBTQ+ stereotypes, gossip media and “Love & Hip Hop,” amongst other topics. Labeling the segment as “literally one of the worst interviews” he ever did, Lee claims that Peter Rosenberg was trying to gaslight him into saying things that were provocative. This past year, he also called out Rosenberg and Ebro following their support of Karen Civil amid her dispute with Lee. While the beef between the two parties did simmer down for a bit, it resurged in February after Rosenberg took shots at the Hollywood Unlocked CEO via Instagram.
“All the people I associate with are relevant. Peter Rosenberg — a privileged ass boy who grew up in the suburbs, got a fucking job talking about hip hop and became some guru that knows hip hop songs. You’re not fucking Black,” Lee tells N.O.R.E and DJ EFN. He later sends shots at Hot 97, stating, “I ain’t fucking with Hot 97 and any of their content, so any other person at Hot 97: I don’t give a fuck if you interview Jesus and the next coming. You’re not getting posted. Fuck ya’ll as a company.”
4. On setting boundaries and giving people space
While discussing his friendship with Rihanna and A$AP Rocky — whom N.O.R.E reveals will appear on “Drink Champs” soon — Jason Lee is asked if he’s ever been asked to keep quiet or hold news. He recalls catching wind of Rihanna’s pregnancy before the news broke and ultimately waiting until it surfaced online out of respect for the singer. “Even the people I’m closest to still feel like they gotta be careful, which I respect, but they still give me dignity. I’m not an animal. I’m not searching for a story because I get the stories all day,” he insists.
N.O.R.E interjects, asking about Lee’s protocol. “I have rules: no outing, we don’t attack children, and then private time is private time. So, if you bring me into your private space, I respect that. I tell my friends, ‘Leave your phones in the car or in your pocket. No social media.’ And then when they come in my personal space, it’s still personal time. There’s none of that,” he explains.
5. On Big Sean and Kanye West reuniting
Back in November, Kanye West made headlines after appearing on “Drink Champs.” During the interview, he stated that signing Big Sean was the worst decision he ever made. After a series of tweets, Sean joined the show to chat with DJ EFN and N.O.R.E. about Ye’s comments, leaving G.O.O.D. Music, and his career. At the top of the year, the two rappers were spotted together, seemingly leaving their publicly-aired-out issues in the past. Jason Lee recalls being present when the two “Drink Champs” alumni made amends.
“I walk in the back and the lights are down, and it’s Pusha T, French Montana, Big Sean, Ye and me. I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be here.’ Whatever y’all four niggas is talking about, I don’t want to know because part of me [feels] like celebrities get uncomfortable with me in the room,” Lee shares. “Ye is like, ‘Fuck that, we not doing this behind the scenes, we doing it in your face.'” I love the fact that these two Black men — who are clearly both successful, who clearly have a respect for one another, who were honest and purely transparent on this show — were able to get it off but have a respectful conversation.”
He continues, “Kanye looked at him and said, ‘I don’t take back shit I said about you. Everything I said I meant it.’ And Big Sean said, ‘Everything I said, I meant it, but I want to get to a place of healing.’ And they did it in respectful way, but a very serious and honest way.”
6. On Black Future Month
Last month, Ye declared February “Black Future Month,” a time to celebrate Black culture and youth. He also debuted “The Future Brunch”— co-hosted by Jason Lee — which brought together 50 Black journalists and media executives to discuss ways to amplify Black voices. “One thing [Kanye West] said to me is that Black History Month reminds us all the time — every year, this is the month where they remind us about the lynching and the slavery. What we doing to invest in the future?” Lee asks. “Let’s do Black Future Month. We not going to discard the past, but we’re going to focus on the future.”
7. On Melyssa Ford leaving Hollywood Unlocked
Following his departure from “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood,” Jason Lee launched his renowned media and gossip platform Hollywood Unlocked in 2015. The next year, he nabbed TV personality and former video vixen Melyssa Ford as co-host for the outlet’s FOX Soul show. Unfortunately, two years after joining, Ford got into a car accident that left her with traumatic brain injury and a massive concussion, causing her to leave the gig for a brief hiatus. In 2020, Ford returned only to leave again — this time, permanently — after her mother passed away from colon cancer. She notably appeared on “Drink Champs” this past December and discussed why she left Hollywood Unlocked, prompting Lee to clear the air on their fallout.
“Fame don’t mean shit because she wasn’t more famous than anybody we interviewed. She never booked a guest. She never paid for production. She showed up — sometimes unprepared — and did her job and got her flowers just like she was supposed to,” he shared. “When I saw her speak on me in the show, there’s a lot of shit she left out. When you manage a show, when you own a show, it’s not just what you see on the video. It’s what you don’t see: production, some people not showing up, co-hosts getting charges, co-hosts doing shit. It was all types of shit happening …”
N.O.R.E later asked if giving Ford a portion of ownership in the show would rectify her staying in the long-term. Lee answers, “The show is thriving, doing a lot better than it was then. The fans are still here and those that left, we don’t care. Those that are new, we love them.”
8. On Cardi B and Nicki Minaj’s feud
Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s reported feud has been well-documented over the past few years. In 2018, the two got physical at the Harper’s Bazaar ICONS Party during New York Fashion Week. Since then, the beef has seemingly died down with both artists focusing on family, their music careers and brand partnerships.
Despite their gripe with one another, Jason Lee admits that Nicki Minaj is a phenomenal artist: “She’s an icon in her own right, and I was a fan of her music — and I’m still a fan of her music.” However, he shared that amid trying to bring the two artists together, Minaj made her beef with Cardi B personal with everyone and later called him a “cocksucker” during her Queen Radio show.
“Cardi’s never, still to this day, talked bad about Nicki. We ain’t hating over here. We trying to keep it moving,” he notes. N.O.R.E interjects, asking if Lee was ever a Minaj fan. He replies, “I was never a Barb. Those people are sick. They’re literally chemically imbalanced, sick people.”
Later in the interview the CEO insists, “I’ve never hated Nicki. Now we’re in a place where she recently reached out, and I’m now in a place in my life where I’m open to a conversation with Nicki Minaj. Privately and publicly though, I would never want to be her friend because I don’t trust her. I don’t think she’s a girl you can trust. She’s one of those girls who … she’ll shake your hand, but she got a razor blade in her pocket.” He continues, “If I do interview her, it has to be a real conversation. It’s not going to be a radio run where she talks about [‘Do We Have A Problem?’ featuring Lil Baby]. I want to get straight to it, no chaser. Let’s get to the real shit, and I don’t think she’ll pull up for that.”
9. On beefing with Karen Civil
Closing off the interview, N.O.R.E asks the Hollywood Unlocked frontman how he and Karen Civil can put their well-documented issues to the side. Lee replies, “We don’t. Next question. Is that it? No we don’t, but I will say this is the absolute entire last interview conversation I will ever have about that name. I wish Karen the best. I think that although we’re not suing her because the statute of limitations has run out, and honestly chasing her down with the FBI and trying to put her in prison would be a full-time job, the industry and the culture knows what she is now.”