July 17, 2024

Political Commentary

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How Jake Paul defied FBI raids and YouTube controversy to launch a business empire

2 min read

Before the 27-year-old became the third-richest content creator, raking in $38 million in 2023—and challenging boxing legend Mike Tyson to a fight to be aired on Netflix—Paul was Disney’s nightmare employee.

Fresh off gaining internet fame from making six-second comedy videos on Vine, Paul was fired from the children’s show Bizaardvark, where he played stunt-pulling Dirk Mann. In a twisted take on art imitating life, Paul was booted by Disney in 2017 for causing a nuisance with his own stunts, lighting fires in empty swimming pools, brandishing a T-shirt gun at a reporter, and organizing dirt bike drag races outside his rental house.

“We’re not even that loud,” Paul told The Hollywood Reporter after the incidents. “Like, yes, we had a furniture fire get out of control in our backyard one time. But that didn’t harm a single person.”

Even as he garnered a following of 47 million across YouTube and Instagram with his prank videos and behind-the-scenes video blogs of his budding boxing career, trouble continued to follow Paul.  

On top of allegations of sexual assault and the use of racist slurs in YouTube videos, Paul threw raucous parties at the height of COVID and was charged with trespassing and unlawful assembly after being filmed with a stolen bottle of vodka in a looted mall. The charges were later dismissed. But following the mall incident, the FBI also raided his home with a SWAT team in August 2020. The U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona later said he would not face federal charges.

It’s hard to imagine, then, that this same guy would become the face of a venture capital fund that invested in the success of brands like Olipop and Fly By Jing. Or that he would become the founder of a newly birthed personal care brand of deodorant and body spray called W—a play on Gen Z streaming slang for “winning”—that launched this week at 3,900 Walmarts, with more products launching later this month across an…

Sasha Rogelberg

2024-06-15 06:00:00

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