Catching up with "Hurt Bae" and the breakup video that dropped on Valentine's Day and is still going strong on social media
NEW YORK (AP) — What does a truly nasty breakup get you? Internet fame, for some, or is it more like notoriety?
It's a little bit of both for Kourtney Jorge and Leonard Long III, 23-year-old exes who sat for an on-camera interview in a video that went viral after the Conde Nast Entertainment site The Scene dropped it on Valentine's Day.
The edited six minutes and 30 seconds of their hour-and-a-half standoff had the two dissecting HIS cheating ways and HER tearful willingness to hang on and wait, patiently, for an apology that eventually comes.
The video has been viewed about 48 million times on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, spawning the hashtag "Hurt Bae" and a slew of funny parodies and other memes.
The stone-faced Long, currently keeping a low profile, has been trashed on social media as the devil himself in the aftermath. Jorge had her Instagram account hacked and a bogus fundraiser started on her behalf via a fake Twitter account, along with thousands of messages, mostly in support.
"We never thought it would get so big. It's really shocking to both of us and kind of overwhelming," Jorge said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "I think the video gave me a lot of closure with our relationship. I've moved on."
Lauren Lumsden, digital director of The Scene, said Wednesday it all started last year, when the site put out a casting call for former couples wounded by cheating as the first in an original series titled "Broken."
Jorge and Long, who were college sweethearts and best friends, and whose last names were not used in the video, were heavily vetted before filming, Lumsden said. Both were paid "nominal appearance fees" as the first in the planned series of six episodes, Lumsden said, but she and Jorge herself vehemently denied that any scripting went on.
"I couldn't have made that up if I tried," Jorge laughed.
To put it succinctly, Lumsden summed up the phenom: "It's been insane."
The Scene put Jorge and Long on a stark set, facing each other in director's chairs with sappy background music on point and captioning that serves to emphasize the juiciest stuff. Jorge, who took the lead in contacting the site, and Long, whom she dated for nearly four years, were filmed back in November, just after they had started one in a series of "breaks" in their up-and-down relationship.
On camera, a soft-spoken Jorge asks him why he cheated: "What did you do?"
To which Long responds: "I had sex with other girls. I did everything."
Jorge, an aspiring model and actress with a day job as an office assistant, said in the video that she knew of his infidelities after going through his phone, stumbling on photos and texts from other women. One time, she caught him with another woman in his room and he told Jorge to leave.
How many times did you cheat? Jorge asks on camera.
"I ... I ... I ... I don't know," an emotionless Long said. "I wasn't counting."
She walked off the set at that, but returns.
Ultimately, Jorge concludes she was "stupid," young and inexperienced (Long was her first love) to stay with him after she figured out his wandering ways. Long, on the other hand, explained his behavior this way in the video: "It had more to do with me just not being able to commit because at the time I really didn't want to. ... You did everything that you needed to do to be a good girlfriend and I was lucky to have someone like you."
Jorge said she shed a lot of tears before they parted ways for good after the video's release. The two live in different states, she in New York City and he in Washington, D.C. They have barely spoken.
Before "Hurt Bae," as the internet has dubbed Jorge and the whole shebang, The Scene had few takers who passed vetting for its "Broken" series. Since, Lumsden said she's sitting on 500 emails of couples willing to come forward.
"Some are tragic cheating stories that, honestly, make Leonard look not that bad," Lumsden said.
The Scene would like to follow up with another "Hurt Bae" video, but had no commitment from Long at this writing. Jorge said she would be interested and thinks Long might be, too.
"I think he wants to clear his name a little bit," Jorge said. "I think he's been treated kind of unfairly. I've accepted his apology and I think to judge things based on a six-minute video is unfair."
Long did not immediately respond to messages and emails seeking comment, but he said on The Scene's Facebook page the video endeavor was his attempt to take responsibility, learn and grow. Of his mountains of haters, he said, "you all think that you're experts on a relationship that lasted for years from watching a video that was edited down into a couple of minutes. People express their feelings differently. Everyone doesn't cry at a funeral."
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