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The Real Reason Trevor Left Trailer Park Boys

On the first few seasons of the cult classic mockumentary Trailer Park Boys, there were a lot of characters vying to be the series' clown. As lackies to the other bumbling petty criminals, the duo of Cory (Cory Bowles) and Trevor (Michael Jackson) take the cake. These two buddies are rarely seen apart from one another and are almost always getting set up by Julian (John Paul Tremblay) and Ricky (Robb Wells) to take the fall for one of their schemes.

However, that all changed during the show's seventh season. Cory and Trevor were absent, their characters having been sent to a psychiatric hospital indefinitely. On Trailer Park Boys season 8, Cory reappeared, but Trevor was gone from the show for good.

For a while, fans were left wondering why Trevor had suddenly been dropped from the show, but when actor Michael Jackson (not the one you're thinking of) went on record about his experience making the hit series, it became very clear why he chose to leave after six seasons.

The pay was terrible on Trailer Park Boys

In a lengthy recounting of his time on the show, now archived on Reddit, Jackson described a number of atrocious working conditions he experienced. One of the most consistent and troubling complaints was how poorly the cast was compensated, even after Trailer Park Boys became a huge hit.

According to Jackson, the first season was a very haphazard production and the cast was all paid scale, which is basically minimum wage for unionized actors. At this time, he didn't have a problem with being paid a small wage: "This was fair as we really didn't have any acting experience and I don't think anybody thought the show would be successful." He added that they were paid the same amount for the show's second season, which still didn't feel unfair, as the show still wasn't very successful at that point.

It was during season 3 of Trailer Park Boys that the low wages became a major issue. By then, the series had gained a large audience and grown in popularity, but despite that, the cast was still only being paid minimum wage. Though the Trailer Park Boys stars did receive a pay increase of 15 percent beginning in the fourth season, Jackson stated that they were still making less per day than his actor friends who were appearing in fast food commercials. He also claimed that at one point, he demanded a raise — only to be told that that wouldn't be possible since everyone in the cast was making the exact same amount. This, he later found out, was a lie.

The film crew for Trailer Park Boys were overworked

The bad pay for the cast of Trailer Park Boys was only part of the problem. On the production side, Jackson reported that the crew was often completely overworked and understaffed. During the second season, the actor even pulled triple duty, working as the key grip and electrical specialist in addition to his on screen work. "Normally a show would have a gaffer and a key grip and anywhere from 3 to 5 grips and 3 to 5 electricians. I understood that [Trailer Park Boys] was low budget and didn't need a huge crew but they didn't have any electrics and I was the only grip," he stated.

Outside of his own personal experiences, Jackson said he often witnessed crew members who had to work day and night because they lacked the resources to effectively handle the workload. "[Property master Rev. Bob Chaisson] basically worked 24 hours a day trying to dress/build the sets and [production] refused to let him have enough people to help him do it properly," the actor said in his recounting of the filming of season 3. According to Jackson, these issues plagued production for as long as he was on the show.

Michael Jackson didn't feel that the Trailer Park Boys producers showed the cast respect

Above everything else, Jackson felt there was a lack of respect from some of the producers of the show to the cast and crew. The actor apparently felt the effects of this dynamic hardest by the time season 5 of Trailer Park Boys rolled around. "Here we were on what was probably the most successful Canadian TV show making just a bit more than scale," he stated. Meanwhile, according to Jackson, the producers were making "millions of dollars easily" from merchandise and DVD sales.

During Trailer Park Boys season 6, which would be Jackson's last on the show, he had another gig to attend to in the midst of filming and told the production manager there were certain days he was unable to be on set. The message wasn't passed along, and after he got called in on one of his scheduled days off, Jackson claimed that producer Michael Volpe told a co-worker that he believed Jackson "had given up on the show and was trying to do a bad job on purpose."

"This was easily the most hurtful thing the show ever did to me. I'm not a good actor, but I always tried to do the best job I could. Even when the writing wasn't great, I tried to create something special, and to have a greedy lawyer without a creative bone in his f****** body tell me this really hurt," Jackson said of the accusation. "I will never forget this."

Even though he had another year left in his contract, Jackson refused to come back for another season of Trailer Park Boys after that.

Fans are split over Michael Jackson's reasoning for leaving Trailer Park Boys

Reading what Michael Jackson had to say about the working conditions and general atmosphere on set and behind the scenes of Trailer Park Boys is certainly difficult and disheartening. But not everyone has sympathy for the actor. Fans of the series have been vocal about their feelings regarding Jackson's explanation for exiting Trailer Park Boys, and some have been quite harsh.

"He honestly sounded like a spoiled little kid. What did he expect to get paid on a Nova Scotia tiny-budget show? If he would have stayed with the show, I bet the Netflix checks are much better. Just seemed like he was pissed he wasn't a star or making millions," one fan wrote in a Reddit thread after reading Jackson's explanation. 

Another added in a comment on that thread that Jackson didn't come across as spoiled at all: "No, I side with [the actor who plays] Trevor on everything. Their working conditions were not ideal and the fame went to the main people's head." That was rebutted by another fan arguing on Reddit that Jackson shouldn't "expect to be getting paid more than producers and actors who also [write] and produce."

Over on libcom.org, another site where Jackson's comments have been archived, Trailer Park Boys fans expressed both outrage toward and sadness for Jackson.

"I am sorry that you had such a negative experience in your young life/career. I am disappointed that you come off as not being appreciative at all for the opportunity," one wrote in a particularly pointed tone. "There are kids your age that would welcome the chance to make any type of money, let alone the notoriety. Remember, every chance is an opportunity. Count your blessings love, and good luck in all you do."

Another commented, "You are a spoiled b****** [...] You are lucky you were ever given that job. Yes the show does suck a little bit more without Trevor and Cory. But clearly you two are d******. Do you really think you're going to land a job like that ever again? Thanks for ruining the show and your career all at the same time."

To balance things out a bit, there was at least one kind comment: "R[e]ally sorry to hear of your experiences [...] I still (and believe I always will) enjoy TPB, but the absence of Cory and Trevor is surely felt! I wish you the best in your future career and sorry, much success to the TPB franchise. You're missed."