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Dawson—who has already produced well-received YouTube documentaries on Jeffree Star and Tana Mongeau—set his sights on Paul earlier this year. The episode opens with Dawson listening to a voice message from Paul in which he declares that he’s excited to be the subject of Dawson’s next series. “I’m putting a lot of trust in you,” Paul said. “If someone can do this and have it be fair, it’s you.”
But Paul—who dropped his own video at the same time Dawson did on Tuesday, saying that fans should go into the series without any preconceived thoughts about either YouTuber—also sent out a warning to Dawson.
“People hate me,” Paul told him on the message. “They literally hate me. …If [the documentary] is going to hurt you, I don’t want you to do it.”
Dawson then spends much of the next 40 minutes on the first episode of “The Mind of Jake Paul” wondering if Paul is actually a sociopath, defined as a person who can be charming and charismatic but who also tries to manipulate the people around them and who feels no guilt at the harm they might cause.
In the first episode, Dawson doesn’t interact with Paul beyond those text and voice messages, but he enlists the help of YouTuber iNabber to run him through the rise and (potential) fall of Paul’s YouTube incubator group Team 10; Paul’s past relationship with Alissa Violet and the nasty aftermath of their breakup; and the alleged bullying of Spanish YouTubers the Martinez twins.
In the end, iNabber suggests that Dawson start the interview process with Nick Crompton, the former “England is my city” star who left his job as chief operations officer of Team 10 in May and accused Greg Paul, Jake’s father, of being the major cause of drama.
But in a snippet of an interview with Dawson, Crompton said, in reference to Jake Paul, “I don’t know how to explain that man.”
As he wrapped up his interview with iNabber, Dawson asked him what the No. 1 question of this documentary should be.
“Is the Jake Paul on YouTube different than the Jake Paul in real life?” iNabber said. “That’s what I want to know. I think a lot of people want to know that. … The real controversy to me is, ‘Is he who he says he is?’”
Dawson said, “That’s the sociopath question.”
Dawson, who estimated that the chance of a happy ending for this documentary is about 10 percent, ends his first episode by looking at the camera and declaring, “This is going to be a nightmare.”
Watch the entire first episode of the documentary below.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.