The rise of Logan Paul, the 22-year-old millionaire who has 20 million followers -- and keeps royally upsetting YouTube

John Sciulli/Getty Images for go90

The past few months have been a roller coaster ride for Logan Paul.

The 22-year-old social media star has built a career off the now-defunct Vine app and later, off of two simultaneous YouTube channels. His Midwestern good looks, slapstick humour, and intricately planned and executed viral videos have earned him millions of dollars and legions of diehard fans.

But Paul has become embroiled in multiple controversies in recent months, costing him advertising on YouTube and a movie deal with YouTube Red.

Here’s how Paul went from a 10-year-old making homemade videos in his backyard in Ohio to one of the most famous – and controversial – social media stars in the world:

Paul got his start at age 10, posting videos to the internet using an app called Zoosh.

Logan Pauls Greatest/YouTube

Source: Insider

By high school, Paul transitioned to now-defunct video sharing app Vine. He started sharing Vine videos that usually included him doing stunts, telling jokes, and playing pranks.

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Paul amassed a huge following on the platform. By the time Vine shut down, he had 9.4 million followers.

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The Vine app is obsolete now, but Paul’s channel still exists online.

Thanks to his success on Vine, Paul was able to transition to other social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. Advertisers came calling, and Paul began earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue for sponsored posts.

John Sciulli/Getty Images for go90

Source: Forbes

Paul dropped out of Ohio University and moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to pursue a career in entertainment.


Source: Business Insider

He began taking acting classes and snagged a few small roles in TV shows like “Law & Order” and “Stitchers.” He told Business Insider in 2015 that he hoped to become a household name and appear in R-rated movies. “It’s time for me to grow up and expand my brand of comedy,” Paul said.

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Source: Business Insider

“I want to be the biggest entertainer in the world,” Paul said at the time. “That’s my deal. I’ll do whatever it takes to get that. As many hours as is needed.”

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Paul began posting videos to YouTube, and now runs two channels — an official channel and a “Logan Paul Vlogs” channel — which have about 4.5 million and 16.6 million subscribers respectively.

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Paul’s YouTube channels now earn him an annual $US1 million and $US14 million respectively.

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Source: SocialBlade

Paul has also started doing his own ad campaigns. He was the face of Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ first social media star campaign, appeared in a Hanes ad, and partnered with Pepsi.

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Source: Insider

Paul’s younger brother Jake also got his start on Vine, and has since gained fame on other platforms.

Clayton Chase/Getty Images for Music LodgeJake Paul, left, and Logan Paul.

Jake is slowly surpassing his brother in followers, but has also been embroiled in controversy. In 2017, he was accused by his neighbours of turning his neighbourhood into a “war zone,” and subsequently left his show on Disney Channel.

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Source: Deadline, Insider

Logan Paul, by contrast, remained relatively scandal-free until 2017. But in September, old tweets were unearthed in which Paul perpetuated racist stereotypes about African-American and Asian men.

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Source: Next Shark

Soon after, another scandal hit: in December, Paul posted a video of him and his friends discovering a body in Japan’s so-called suicide forest.

YouTube/Logan Paul

In the video, Paul and his friends were planning to camp in the forest overnight but stumbled upon a corpse hanging from a tree. Paul blurred the face of the body, but he and his friends stood around the corpse and filmed it before leaving the forest.

Outrage over the video was swift, and nearly 200,000 people signed a petition to have Paul kicked off YouTube. He was removed from Google’s Preferred Ads program and a planned YouTube Red movie deal was suspended after he uploaded the video.

Source: Insider, Business Insider

Soon after, Paul issued an apology for posting the video. “I’ve never made a mistake like this before,” Paul wrote on Twitter. He announced he was stepping away from posting on YouTube and “taking time to reflect.”

Logan Paul/Twitter

Source: Twitter, Insider

By the end of January, Paul was back on YouTube with a documentary about suicide survivors. “From this point on, I want to make an effort to contribute and immerse myself in the conversation. So I’m pledging to donate $US1 million to various suicide prevention organisations,” Paul said.

Logan Paul Vlogs/YouTube

Source: Insider

But only a few weeks later, Paul made another misstep when he posted footage of himself Tasering two dead rats. YouTube has now temporarily suspended ads on videos made by Paul, citing his “recent pattern of behaviour.”

Logan Paul Vlogs/YouTube

Source: Business Insider

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