How Logan Paul went from making videos in his backyard to becoming a 24-year-old millionaire and one of the most controversial stars on YouTube

Logan Paul.

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Logan Paul.
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Rich Fury/Getty Images
  • Logan Paul is one of the most controversial personalities on YouTube, where he has amassed nearly 25 million subscribers across his channels.
  • The 24-year-old star is often embroiled in controversy: He filmed a video of a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest,” Tased dead rats in another one, and once said he was “going gay” for a month.
  • Here’s how Logan Paul rose to internet notoriety, and the biggest events that have happened in his career as an online creator.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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

The 24-year-old social media star built a career off the now-defunct Vine app and later, off of two simultaneous YouTube channels. His Midwestern good looks, slapstick humor, 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 the last two years, 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.

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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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Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

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

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Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images

The Vine app is obsolete now, but Paul’s channel still exists online.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

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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.

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STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

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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Caroline Moss/Tech Insider

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.”

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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 5.3 million and 19.7 million subscribers, respectively.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Paul’s YouTube channels bring in a lot of money for the star. In 2017, Paul made $12.5 million.

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Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


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

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Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Virginia Black

Source: Insider


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


Jake has nearly 20 million YouTube subscribers, but has also been embroiled in controversy. In 2017, he was accused by his neighbors of turning his neighborhood into a “war zone,” and subsequently left his show on Disney Channel.

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Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Republic Records

Source: Deadline, Insider


Most recently, Jake Paul got married to fellow YouTuber Tana Mongeau. Logan Paul was in attendance, and has since made comments hedging that the relationship between the two is fake.

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Denise Truscello/WireImage

Source: Business Insider, ET Online


Logan Paul, by contrast, remained relatively scandal-free until 2017. In June of that year, Paul appeared at VidCon, a popular convention for teens to see their favorite online creators. Paul hid $3,000 in a secret location and was mobbed by screaming fans, and was filmed being tackled to the ground by security guards.

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Twitter/@alexa_greer_

Source: We The Unicorns


Then, in September, old tweets were unearthed in which Paul perpetuated racist stereotypes about black and Asian men.

Source: Next Shark


Soon after, another scandal hit: In December 2017, Paul posted a video of him and his friends discovering a body in Japan’s so-called “suicide forest.”

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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.

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.”

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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 $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations,” Paul said.

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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 temporarily suspended ads on videos made by Paul, citing his “recent pattern of behavior,” but they were reinstated by February.

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Logan Paul Vlogs/YouTube

Source: Business Insider


Many big YouTubers took to social media to criticize Paul, with some calling for YouTube to kick him off. However, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that Paul hadn’t violated policies enough times to get terminated, and that suspending his ad revenue was “actually a pretty strong statement.”

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
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Getty

Source: Business Insider


In light of the incident, Paul saw his views and new subscriber numbers tank. Between December 2017 and March 2018, SocialBlade statistics showed a 47% drop-off in views, and an 88% slowdown in subscribers. The controversy also cost Paul an estimated $5 million worth of business deals.

Logan Paul.

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Rich Fury/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider


Just a month later, a model who appeared in a Paul’s music video for “No Handlebars” spoke out about her experience filming with the YouTuber. The model, Eliza Johnson, said that she “felt kind of abused,” and felt she was treated differently as the only plus-size model at the video shoot.

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Logan Paul/YouTube

Source: Business Insider


During the first half of 2018, Paul drummed up interest for a fight against fellow YouTuber KSI. The fight between the YouTube stars ended in a draw, but brought in an estimated $11 million in revenue between in-person tickets and a pay-per-view livestream.

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REUTERS/Tom Jacobs

Source: Business Insider


News emerged in July that Paul was dating actress Chloe Bennet, who stars in the TV show “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” However the two reportedly split up in October 2018.

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Getty

Source: Business Insider, Dexerto


Almost a year after Paul posted the Japan suicide forest video, YouTube released an original movie called “The Thinning: New World Order” starring the controversial star. YouTube defended the movie as a collaborative effort that was released “in fairness” to fans and other cast members.

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Logan Paul/YouTube

Near the end of 2018, Paul launched his podcast, “Impaulsive,” where he interviews and chats with friends and fellow YouTubers. The show recently celebrated its 100th episode.

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Paul recording an episode of his podcast, “Impaulsive.”
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Impaulsive/YouTube

But it took no time at all for his comments on the podcast to turn controversial. In an early episode, Paul said that he was planning to “go gay” for a month for “male-only March,” which was criticized for forwarding the view that sexuality is a choice or phase. He later apologized for his “poor choice of words.”

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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Source: HuffPost


Paul was filmed in May practicing and training for a slapping competition taking place in Russia. In a video posted on Twitter, Paul is shown slapping a man so hard that he falls down, seemingly unconscious. Paul later said he pulled out of the competition to “preserve the health and wellness of everyone competing.”

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Logan Paul/Twitter

Source: Business Insider


Paul re-entered the spotlight in July when he gave a bizarre interview on Fox Business. Paul claimed on TV that he had “graduated” to become an “ex-controversial” YouTuber, and shared that his expenses surpassed his income recently.

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Logan Paul/YouTube

Source: Business Insider


Paul held a track-and-field tournament in July for YouTubers and video creators called the Challenger Games, where he bet $100,000 that he was the fastest YouTuber on the planet. However, during the race Paul pulled his hamstring and had to be helped off the track.

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Logan Paul/YouTube

Source: Business Insider


The latest estimate of Paul’s wealth puts his income at $14.5 million between June 2017 and June 2018.

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STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

Source: Business Insider


Logan Paul faced off against KSI in a boxing rematch on Saturday, November 9, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. KSI narrowly defeated Paul in the match, and said he didn’t have any plans for a third fight.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

With their previous boxing match ending in a draw, the two YouTubers faced off for a second bout on November 9 at Staples Center, this time without headgear.

The judges awarded the victory to KSI, but it was close. Two judges voted in favor of KSI, 56-55 and 57-54, and a third judge voted 56-55 in favor of Paul.

Read BI’s coverage of the boxing match here.