Many people are still shocked to learn that you can make a fortune as a YouTuber. After all, some of us remember when there was no monetization on the platform and while a viral video might make you famous, it was the fleeting 15-minute variety.
Those days are over, with some YouTubers massing millions in wealth.
Jake Paul is one of those, with an estimated net worth of around $19 million.
With money like that, though, theft is something you’d think he wouldn’t bother with. After all, he has so much to lose. And yet, it didn’t stop him from heading to Scottsdale, AZ, and allegedly take part in the looting there.
Now, the social media personality has found himself charged for his behavior.
Social media influencer and YouTuber Jake Paul has been charged by police in Scottsdale after allegedly participating in weekend looting and riots.
Police said Thursday that 23-year-old Jake Joseph Paul was identified as being present among hundreds of tips and videos sent to officials. He reportedly unlawfully entered and remained inside Scottsdale Fashion Square mall when it was closed.
Officials say Paul, who has a large following on YouTube, “was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly and the rioters were ordered to leave the area by police.”
Paul has been charged with criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanor charges. Police say he was issued a summons to appear in court in a month, but was not arrested.
Paul has denied he played any role in looting, though video of the incident suggest that he may have obtained goods–in this case, a bottle of vodka–looted from a restaurant in the mall.
The YouTuber has claimed he was there as a documentarian and that he’ll continue to document things he feels are important. Of course, since much of the content on his channel seems more to be focused on things like vlogs and “day in the life” kind of content, I’m more than a little skeptical of his claims.
After all, has seen now controversy can raise the profile of a YouTuber.
His brother, Logan Paul, caused massive outrage following his uploading of a video recorded in Japan’s Aokigahara, often known in the West as the suicide forest, where he finds someone who had hung themselves. The video was soon taken down by YouTube after the outrage went viral, yet Paul has maintained his career despite the anger.
In fact, his popularity continues to grow as he’s amassed over 21 million subscribers on the platform despite the incident.
Paul’s taking part in the activities in Scottdale may well be part of an effort to raise his profile, particularly by involving himself in an effort being celebrated by the media. Even being charged is unlikely to have a negative affect him in the long run, but may actually help boost his profile.
So yeah, I’m skeptical. Especially since Paul’s older brother also seems to be playing up support for Black Lives Matter, potentially as a way to garner some goodwill with a media that’s likely to lap this kind of thing up.