Within the past year, Logan and Jake Paul have become household names. Originally gaining popularity from their promise to produce daily content on their YouTube channels, their fame has shifted as questionable content has been posted time after time. Now, critics quickly follow the words “Paul brothers” with the word “problematic.”
In January, Logan Paul posted an incredibly inappropriate video set directly in the middle of a well-known suicide forest. The video arguably ruined his career, resulting in YouTube and many YouTubers cutting ties with him and his work. In spite of his efforts, Logan Paul has yet to gain enough momentum to rebuild his reputation, even after posting a full two-minute-long scripted apology.
Because he’s Logan Paul’s younger brother, Jake Paul has not been able to avoid the controversy, leading him to post videos that many see as an overcompensation for his brother’s wrongdoings.
He has recently self-proclaimed himself as an “imperfect role model,” following his 22-minute long documentary on the impact of the Parkland shooting. While the feelings in his video are there, the last attempt effort is just too little, too late.
Before mentioning his YouTube documentary, now is a good time to mention that less than a year ago, Jake Paul posted a video where he and his YouTube friends, who refer to themselves as “Team 10,” spun a homemade wheel and dared each other to get tattoos of whatever word or object it landed on.
Paul, appropriately enough, spun and landed on a picture of a machine gun, so he now has that tattoo, which he later decorated with the Gucci logo, along the majority of his thigh. As he got this tattoo, he stated, “Am I cool? I’m cool, right?” to which his friend responded, “You are now.” The video has over 19 million views.
Fast forward a year, and Jake Paul, for obvious reasons, is wearing jeans to cover up his “cool” tattoo as he sits opposite various survivors of the Parkland shooting. The video itself is undeniably moving, as Jake Paul interviews the survivors and provides a space for them to speak out and spread awareness.
Without a doubt, the video was incredibly emotional, but critics have been discussing Jake Paul’s involvement. Looking past the moving statements by students and parents, people find it difficult to fully support the production because the whole video feels too much like just that: a video.
Looking past the fact that Jake Paul posted a video only three months ago titled “BREAKING INTO MY OWN HIGH SCHOOL..,” critics can clearly see that he understands the severity of the issue.
Throughout the entire documentary, Jake Paul added somber music to the background to set the mood. However, his actions and facial expressions are exactly what they need to be and come across as staged.
Some find it difficult to ignore the fact that the video already has 4.5 million views and is bringing attention not only to the Parkland students but also to Jake Paul. As one of the top comments on the video states, “So now most hated YouTubers use very serious topics to clout off of? This is sad.”
While everyone needs to talk about the Parkland tragedy, Jake Paul’s benefit from the attention he’s receiving from the documentary is very clear.
On top of Paul’s questionable motives for creating the documentary, about six minutes into the video, he sits down in a blazer and a t-shirt to Skype Florida Senator Marco Rubio to talk about stricter gun laws, something that, ironically enough, neither of them supports. When Rubio answers, Jake Paul greets him and says, “Hey, what’s up, man?”
Subsequently, Paul continues to prompt Rubio by asking about how difficult it is to pass laws, and they have a discussion about how laws are not always the answer. As the victims of the Parkland shooting mention the March for Our Lives movement in his video, Jake Paul’s affirmations against stricter gun laws seem out of place.
A few days after posting the video, Paul tweeted a five-step plan to help avoid future tragedies involving guns. While his ideas all come from a good place, he does not offer more details on what he is doing to move these ideas into action or how others can help. His Tweet was also a week ago, and he hasn’t mentioned anything related to guns since.
However, Paul recently bragged on his twitter about the $200,000 donation that he made to a Twitch streamer. In the vlog, he celebrates and says, “I’m giving my friend $100,000 over the internet. How crazy is that!” Let’s compare this to the $25,000 that he donated to the March for Our Lives movement.
To put it in perspective, in September, Jake Paul posted a video titled “This Was Actually The Worst Day Of My Life…” where he discusses how he flew to Italy to visit the Lamborghini factory and to purchase a Lamborghini for himself. When the factory informed him that he wasn’t allowed to film inside, Paul threw a fit, calling it the worst day of his life.
Notably, Paul lives an abnormal life and is constantly met with opportunities that he is very lucky to have. Because of this, he will never truly understand the Parkland tragedy as, hopefully, not many will.
All in all, Jake Paul is one of those YouTubers who believes his internet fame is enough to change the world. While some YouTubers are able to use their following to make an impact, it takes more than posting one video, tweeting a simple sentiment and donating a fraction of the money made vlogging daily events to make a change.
This is where Jake Paul gets caught. While he is able to fly back to his life in Los Angeles after being “changed by this experience,” the victims of the horrible Parkland shooting are not able to fly off and leave their lives behind.
Their tragic experience has truly changed them and not for the better. While the premise of the video is important and allows victims of the tragedy to vocalize their concerns to a large audience, for Jake Paul, the video was not enough.
Time and again, the Paul brothers make precarious decisions, giving the YouTube community a bad name. The fact that people have to question if a documentary on such an important topic was created for exploitation leaves behind a bad aftertaste. Jake Paul has proved that while the famous are capable of helping the less fortunate, some efforts are really too little, too late.