In the vast world of YouTube villains, there may be none as famous as Jake Paul.
The 24-year-old Vine star turned vlogger has polarized viewers with videos of dangerous pranks and stunts (though he continues to bring in millions of views). He is a serial entrepreneur linked to several dubious and misleading business ventures (though that hasn’t deterred investors). He has repeatedly offended and alienated his collaborators (though he keeps finding new ones). In 2020, he declared the coronavirus a “hoax.” It can often seem that he lives to provoke outrage.
Now, Mr. Paul is facing allegations of sexual misconduct from other influencers.
Yet he remains the blueprint for many social media stars today. Without him, it’s hard to imagine the current land rush of so-called “collab houses,” where young content creators film videos, throw parties and spur drama. Or the proliferation of prank videos on YouTube. Or the bad-boy archetype embodied by so many influencer-entrepreneurs born on TikTok.
At the center of these comparisons is the Team 10 house, an influencer collective and talent management agency founded by Mr. Paul in 2016. The vision: He and six other creators, aged 14 to 19, would live together and leverage their collective followings for views and cash. Everyone would benefit, but no one more than Mr. Paul.
told The New York Times in 2017.
raising capital to start a media company focused on influencers, said he could help him become much bigger.
Aaron Mitchell, AJ’s father, said he “was not very impressed with Jake” and that he didn’t want his son, who was 14 at the time, involved with Team 10. However, after extensive conversations with Mr. Paul’s parents, Greg Paul and Pam Stepnick; Mr. Paul’s assistant, Erica Costell, who was in her mid-20s; and Neels Visser, another member of Team 10, he and his wife, Allison, decided to allow AJ to join the group.
The arrangement worked like this: Each of the influencers could live in the Team 10 house (a rented mansion in the upscale Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles) for free if they agreed to produce regular content for social media (which Mr. Paul would monetize) and participate in brand deals. (Mr. Paul declined to comment on the financial arrangement he had with house residents.)