Former Vine star Jake Paul is often in the spotlight — though usually not for a good reason. Paul is known for stirring up drama: The social media star has had public social media wars with virtually every YouTuber out there, not to mention several brushes with the law.
Below, we’re made a timeline of some of Jake Paul’s biggest controversies so you can get a clearer picture of how the star has progressed (or, more aptly, stayed exactly the same) over the years.
February 2017: Paul ends up in a YouTube war with Alissa Violet.
In the summer of 2016, Jake Paul unofficially launched Team 10, a “unique incubator for aspiring influencers.” Essentially, Paul got some of the biggest names in YouTube together to live in a house in Beverly Grove and create engaging content. The original members of Team 10 included Alissa Violet, AJ Mitchell, Alex Lange, Neels Visser and the Dobre Twins, all of whom moved into the Beverly Grove house that Paul rented for $17,000 a month.
What’s a Jake Paul project without some drama, though? In February 2017, the YouTuber’s content creator collective was the talk of the town after he kicked out his rumored girlfriend, Alissa Violet.
While Violet was part of Team 10, she and Paul collaborated on several videos. Their undeniable chemistry earned them the nickname “Jalissa” — and though they never actually confirmed they were dating, they never said they weren’t dating, either. They even sold merch with #Jalissa on it because capitalism.
If Jalissa was a thing, though, it didn’t last long. On Feb. 21, 2017, Violet revealed that Paul had kicked her out of the Team 10 house. It wasn’t an amicable separation, either: According to Violet, Paul threw all her stuff downstairs and put a new lock on her door. In a series of videos, she also noted that Paul had beed “treating [her] like absolute s*** for a while.”
Paul had his own version of the story. In a now-deleted tweet, he claimed that he and Violet had been dating and that she had cheated on him. “I am the victim, not her,” he said.
Violet then took to Twitter to clap back at Paul’s accusations. She claimed that she didn’t cheat and that Jalissa “was never real” since Paul “had girl after girl over every other night.”
“I have cried myself to sleep almost every single night living in this house,” she wrote. “He would tell me he loved me, then hook up with a girl in front of me that same day.”
Paul and Violet exchanged some more carefully worded messages online after that. Paul backtracked (seemingly to win favor with his fans) and said that he and Violet would “work it out”; Violet continued to bash Paul, calling his actions “manipulative.”
July 2017: Paul gets fired from his Disney Channel show.
Thanks to his success on Vine and later YouTube, Paul scored a leading role on the Disney Channel show “Bizaardvark” in 2015. He played Dirk Mann, a teen who, much like himself, hosted an online series called “Dare Me Bro” where he fielded dare requests and happily obliged.
Though “Bizaardvark” lasted three seasons, Paul only appeared in two of them. In 2017, Disney Channel announced that he would be leaving his role, claiming that it was “mutually agreed” upon. Paul echoed this sentiment, noting that he had “outgrown the channel” and wanted to “move forward” in his career.
In August, Paul admitted the truth. He and his fellow Team 10 members had been making the news quite a bit that year thanks to their rowdy YouTube stunts, to the point that their neighbors were calling the situation a “living hell.” According to the YouTuber, that was the last straw for Disney.
“They basically called me and were like, ‘Yo, what’s going on, what’s going on?'” Jake told the Hollywood Reporter in 2017. “And I just explained the situation, and they were like, ‘OK. We want to expedite this process of weaning you off the show.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s fine. But it’s going to look like you guys fired me.’ And they were like, ‘We can say that we mutually parted ways and blah, blah, blah.’ And that’s the reality of the story.”
August 2017: Paul comes under fire for making a “xenophobic” comment.
Not long after Paul and Disney parted ways, the YouTuber came under fire for “racist” remarks he made in a video blog.
On Aug. 1, Paul posted a video titled “SELF DRIVING TESLA IN DRIVE THRU PRANK (FREAKOUTS).” At one point while filming, a Kazakhstani fan approached Paul and asked if he could snap a photo with the influencer. When Paul notices the fan’s accent, he asks where he is from, and he tells Paul that he is originally from Kazakhstan.
This is where things get dicey. At around the 11:50 mark, Paul tells the fan that it sounds like he’s “gonna blow someone up” because of his accent. “You’re like, ‘Send the nuke!'” Paul continues to joke in poor taste.
Paul received a lot of backlash online for his comments, but for some reason, he kept the video up anyway.
August 2017: Paul accuses Violet’s new boyfriend of assaulting his assistant.
Remember Alissa Violet, Paul’s ex-girlfriend whom he kicked out of the Team 10 house in February 2017? Well, she started dating FaZe Clan co-founder FaZe Banks in June, and Paul seemingly wasn’t happy about that.
In late August, just days after telling fans he was ready to grow and be a better role model, Paul used his YouTube channel to accuse Violet’s new boyfriend of assaulting his assistant Meg at Warwick, a club in L.A.
In the video, Meg explained that while she was out at the club, she noticed Banks hooking up with another girl. She then said that she got lost on her way back from the bathroom because she had never been to Warwick before, and while she was looking for her friends, Banks allegedly clotheslined her so hard that he left marks on her neck. Paul claimed that he was making a YouTube video about the situation to bring attention to the issue of assault, not to start drama.
Well, in his own YouTube video, Banks clarified that while he was at Warwick that night, he had no recollection of clotheslining Meg. However, he also did admit that it was a possibility that he had done it unintentionally since he was drunk.
Banks also called out the members of Team 10 for manipulating screenshots and painting the situation in a negative light. He shared screenshots of a conversation he had with then-Team 10 member Nick Crompton in which Crompton said that Meg thought the attack was an accident.
In light of Banks’ inability to recall what happened that night, one of his friends who was with him at the club, Taylor Caniff, even noted that it was possible that one of the Team 10 members had drugged him. Banks also threatened to sue Paul and Team 10 for defamation of character and slander.
All in all, the situation was messy. Paul lost more than 60,000 subscribers within 24 hours after the accusations went public, while Banks gained 200,000.
On Aug. 19, Paul posted his final YouTube video about the whole ordeal and admitted that he didn’t handle the situation well.
“I truly felt like we weren’t handling the situation the right way,” Jake explained in his video. “We weren’t being good role models for you guys online and it’s just like this whole high school drama back-and-forth thing that’s never going to end. And I’m all about positivity and doing things the right way … I don’t want anyone to look bad and it’s just not the right way to handle the situation.”
January 2018: Paul launches his Edfluence scam.
Many of Paul’s followers are young, easily influenced teens — and the YouTuber is a pro at taking advantage of them. In January 2018, for instance, he scammed his millions of subscribers with Edfluence, an online school of sorts that was supposed to teach people “how to be social media famous.”
Paul advertised that for just $7, fans would be able to get access to a “roadmap to success.” That was far from the reality, though: That initial $7 payment only unlocked access to a few basic videos that didn’t reveal anything you can’t find with a quick Google search. To get access to the good stuff — the stuff that turned Paul into a social media sensation — you’d have to pay an additional $57.
As YouTuber Drew Gooden noted in a recent video revisiting the scam, Edfluence was the perfect scam. It lured young fans in with the promise of a low, one-time $7 payment — then, once the parents were out of sight and the credit card information was stored, left those kids to pay the remaining $57.
Paul also promised anyone who paid for Edfluence that they would have a chance to join “Team 1000,” an exponentially larger version of his infamous Team 10. Team 1000 never saw the light of day; anyone who paid the $64 to access Edfluence was simply left with a few disappointing videos and a lot of regrets. Also, Edfluence no longer exists, so people can’t even access those disappointing videos anymore.
January 2018: Paul gets called out for using the n-word.
If you thought Paul learned his lesson after making a xenophobic comment in 2017, you are sorely mistaken.
In January 2018 — right around the same time he was scamming his young, susceptible fans — Paul was caught on camera using the n-word.
As TMZ reported at the time, Paul was hanging out in Palm Springs during Coachella weekend back in 2015 when he started freestyling over Rae Sremmurd’s “Throw Sum Mo” beat. During his freestyle, he drops the n-word several times.
This specific Jake Paul controversy didn’t receive as much media attention as his other incidents since at the time, his brother Logan was the subject of the internet’s wrath. Not long before TMZ shared the clip of Jake, Logan filmed a blog at the Aokigahara forest in Japan, often referred to as the Suicide Forest. At one point in the video, Logan and his friends came across a dead body — and proceeded to make jokes about it. People were furious.
February 2020: Paul gets into a Twitter war with Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik.
In February 2020, Paul made the mistake of going after one of the most popular celebrity couples in existence: Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid.
In late February, the YouTuber said in a series of now-deleted tweets that he “almost had to clap up [Zayn]” (yes, he spelled Zayn’s name wrong) “because he is a little guy and has an attitude.”
According to Paul, the former One Direction star “started yelling and freaking the f*** out.” and basically told him to “f*** off for no reason.”
“Stop being angry cause u came home alone to ur big ass hotel room hahah,” Paul added.
Malik didn’t respond to Paul’s tweets, but his girlfriend — supermodel Gigi Hadid — did.
Lol cause he doesn’t care to hang w you and your embarrassing crew of YouTube groupies ..? Home alone with his best friends like a respectful king cause he has me, sweetie. Unbothered by your irrelevant ugly ass. Go to bed …— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 23, 2020
“Lol cause he doesn’t care to hang w you and your embarrassing crew of YouTube groupies ..?” the supermodel clapped back. “Home alone with his best friends like a respectful king cause he has me, sweetie. Unbothered by your irrelevant ugly ass. Go to bed.”
Paul issued a public apology not long after Hadid roasted him.
May/June 2020: Paul is caught on camera allegedly looting during a Black Lives Matter protest.
In May 2020, footage surfaced of Paul and his friends seemingly looting and vandalizing an Arizona mall during a Black Lives Matter protest that broke out in the wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Paul can pretty clearly be seen on camera stealing a bottle of liquor from a store and wreaking havoc at the mall, but on May 31, he took to Twitter to deny the accusations being hurled at him.
“To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” Paul said in the statement. Rather, the vlogger claims that he and his friends were at the mall to “peacefully protest” and “[film] the events and brutality that were unfolding in Arizona.”
Fans weren’t buying Paul’s story — and apparently, neither did the Scottsdale Police Department. On June 5, they charged the 23-year-old with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly.
July 2020: Paul throws a huge party amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What do you do when the whole world already hates you? You throw a party during a global pandemic, of course!
Just weeks after facing criminal charges for his looting scandal, Paul decided to throw a day-long party at his home in Calabasas, Calif., with influencers like his “ex-wife” Tana Mongeau (that’s a whole other story) and TikToker Bryce Hall.
This angered both neighbors and local authorities. Speaking to Fox 11, Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub noted that Paul and his friends were “acting like COVID doesn’t exist.”
“They’re having this large party, no social distancing, no masks, it’s just a big, huge disregard for everything that everybody is trying to do to get things back to functioning,” Weintraub told the outlet.
August 2020: Paul’s house is raided by the FBI.
On Aug. 5, FBI agents served a search warrant to Paul at his Calabasas residence and left with multiple firearms. According to a statement from the FBI Phoenix field office, the department was “investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May 2020,” which is how they ended up searching Paul’s home as well as the graffiti mansion in Las Vegas owned by Paul’s friend Armani Izadi.
“Just to clarify things and set the record straight, the FBI raid is entirely related to the Arizona looting situation that happened,” Paul said. “It’s an investigation. There are rumors about it having to do with so many other things that have nothing to do with me or my character and the s*** that people are making up is absolutely absurd.”
November 2020: Paul tells a reporter that COVID-19 is a “hoax” and then throws another party.
Ahead of his big fight with former NBA star Nate Robinson, Paul hopped on a call with Daily Beast reporter Marlow Stern to talk about his boxing career and former controversies. During that interview, the YouTuber noted that he believes “it’s time for our nation to open up and go back to normal” and that COVID “is a hoax.”
Once the interview was published, Paul took to Twitter to claim that his words were taken out of context. Further, he claimed that Stern had “[made] stuff up” entirely for the sake of clicks.
That didn’t sit right with Stern, so he decided to release an audio recording of the moment Paul said he thought COVID was a hoax. In the clip, you can very clearly hear Paul say the exact words transcribed in the article.
How did Paul respond to this? Well, following his victory over Robinson, he threw a massive afterparty at his house — and in videos of the gathering, nobody appears to be wearing masks or social distancing.
If you enjoyed this story, check out another social media star known for stirring up trouble — Tony Lopez.
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