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Jake Paul is inextricably intertwined with his older brother, Logan Paul. Jake can’t escape Logan’s YouTube shadow. He gets confused for Logan in real life (as does Logan for Jake). And in the eyes of much of the world, Jake and Logan might as well be the same bratty social media star.
It’s as if their DNA is coiled together like a pair of jump ropes. Separating the two strands shouldn’t be difficult, but somehow, they always find a way to get stuck together: They’re always those Paul brothers from YouTube.
They’re both controversial, sure. They’ve both been silly and goofy and stupid with their channels and the content they post. Both of them are hated, and both of them are loved. They’re different but they’re also basically the same, and there’s nothing that Jake can do about it.
“I think it’s part of the appeal,” Jake Paul told the Daily Dot as he prepares for his YouTube boxing showdown with AnEsonGib this Thursday on the DAZN streaming service. “It’s something I have to deal with. People mix us up on a day-to-day basis. People come up to me and say, ‘Logan, can I get a picture?’ Both of us are ex-controversial YouTubers. They say, ‘They did this and they did that.’ It’s all, ‘Paul, Paul, Paul.’ They don’t know.”
When Logan Paul uploaded the infamous Japanese suicide forest video at the end of 2018, briefly engulfing his YouTube career in flames, Jake Paul also felt the effect. Yes, the two Pauls likely share many of the same YouTube subscribers (Logan has 20.1 million subscribers, and Jake has 19.7 million). Yes, their fans can tell the two apart, but much of the rest of the world either can’t or doesn’t care to try.
So, when Logan does something bad, Jake also suffers the consequences.
“It’s annoying, for sure. It sucks,” Jake Paul said. “His suicide forest video has hindered my career in many, many ways. I didn’t do anything. But I’m attached to it, and people want to drag me down. He’s been in more controversy. I have had a cleaner slate than him. But at the end of the day, he’s my brother. Family is bigger than anything. We ride it out.”
Make no mistake, though. Jake Paul has had plenty of controversies himself. From starting a blaze at his old rental house after lighting his furniture on fire to making a terrorist joke about a fan, from allegedly verbally abusing an ex-girlfriend to potentially manipulating his young audience, Jake Paul has burnished his career (and made millions and millions of dollars) for uploading controversial moments to the internet.
His Team 10 incubator group has crumbled around him multiple times. His dad has been criticized for his heavy-handed ways.
But as Paul said, he’s been relatively clean lately. Well, mostly clean. There were a few days last month when, after his ex-girlfriend Alissa Violet had a messy public breakup with FaZe Banks, Paul used Violet to bring publicity to a new song he was about to release.
what I never got to say... “These Days” December 13th🤐🎶 pic.twitter.com/PBh0Q2SJqH— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) December 3, 2019
During the interview with the Daily Dot, Paul talked about how he’s kept himself out of controversy lately, a mostly agreeable statement.
“Thank you,” Paul said, “Now, go put that in your article.”
Sure, but hardly anybody would believe it.
“Well, that’s true,” Paul said.
But wait, what about the Alissa Violet thing?
“That was three years ago.”
No, the one where you just used her to sell your new song.
“That?” Paul said with a laugh. “That’s just marketing.”
Meanwhile, none of the turmoil Logan has caused Jake has stopped the younger brother from following his older brother into the boxing ring—and it hasn’t stopped Jake from aligning himself with Logan and Logan with Jake for online views whenever possible.
When Logan Paul began beefing with YouTuber KSI in 2018, Jake Paul started a feud with KSI’s younger brother Deji. Paul ended up knocking out Deji in their YouTube boxing match, and now, he gets to make his professional debut on Super Bowl week in the city hosting the Super Bowl. His trainer is Hall of Famer Shane Mosley, who has extolled Paul’s work ethic.
Like Logan, who told the Daily Dot in November that he didn’t know where he was in his YouTube career because it sounded like a “path that you’ve made up,” Jake Paul isn’t interested in being defined as a “YouTuber” anymore.
“YouTube will always be a part of my life,” Jake Paul said. “It’s just not as exciting anymore. Me and my brother both started that four years ago and we became the best at it and changed the culture for the rest of YouTube history. We’re looking for something more exciting.”
Jake Paul said he isn’t worried about staying relevant to a young audience that eventually will move on from caring about the Paul brother exploits. He said they’re the masters of content creation, and with those skills comes the knowledge of how to transition their fan base(s) away from YouTube vlogs and into something else. Like music videos. Or films. Or boxing matches.
It sounds like AnEsonGib isn’t buying the premise, though.
“With Logan Paul, he had controversy and he’s come back,” he told the Daily Dot. “Jake Paul, on the other hand, tried for a period to show he was a good person. From all the controversy he’s had within his own [Team 10], he has to play the bad guy. That’s the only avenue he has. But maybe he had another choice.”
Paul is taking a different avenue now. He’s moving down his own path and leaving behind much of what made him a YouTube superstar in the first place. That trail just happens to run parallel to the older brother that Jake can’t—and won’t—shake.
- 2019: The year Logan Paul stopped giving a f*ck about his critics
- KSI is still a huge YouTube fan, but the streaming star wants so much more
- 2 hours of Jake Paul
For a year-round sports fix, sign up here and check the “sports” box to receive our weekly boxing newsletter. You’ll hear about all the biggest fights and best knockouts from the Daily Dot’s streaming sports guru Josh Katzowitz.
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.