Raging Bulls––t: Paul vs. Mayweather

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S1: None of it’s real aliens are coming in June, just be ready tomorrow. I break the fucking simulation and beat the greatest boxer in the history of the part of the planet.

S2: Hi, I’m Rachel Hampton.

S3: And I’m Madison Malone Kirchherr. You’re listening to. I see. Why am I?

S2: In case you missed it, Slate’s

S3: podcast about Internet culture.

S2: How are you doing today, Madison? What’s going on in your world?

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S3: You know, not much. I’m very sweaty. I think that’s going to be a constant for the next couple of months in the bigger world of royal baby has been born unto not us, but onto Twitter.

S2: The way you said that made me think of Jesus Christ being born into the world. And I don’t think this child is quite reaching that level. But yeah, you know, another little Sussex, are they still Duke and duchess? I don’t understand what happened outside

S3: the sencer

S2: when they seceded from the royal family who kept what

S3: we are, of course, talking about child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a new baby girl named Lilibet, Diana Lilibet being the childhood nickname of Queen Elizabeth and Diana being you know

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S2: who I mean. This name is very much giving me Tudor vibes, giving me War of the Roses, giving me Lancaster. Like Lilibet. We’re really we’re reaching back through time.

S3: I think it’s a very sweet tribute. I also feel as though it is a fan fiction named Dreamt up from like the epilogue of Harry Potter, some albar Severus energy.

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S2: That’s not even a bad picture name. J.K. Rowling came up with that herself. The fact no names are better than the ones J.K. Rowling came up with. Let’s be real here.

S3: No, no, no, because the epilogue is not real. We do not recognize it. And Daniel Radcliffe wrote Harry Potter, these are facts.

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S2: You know what? I accept this new form of history

S3: that’s enough about the Royals until the next season of the Crown, at least for me. On today’s show, however, we’re going to be talking about another infamous family. That’s right. We hear and I see why am I finally going to talk about the Paul brothers, Jake and Logan

S1: lowlanders, but they still haven’t spoken your face. Your father did.

S3: I got it as a note. This does mean we’re also going to be discussing suicide, allegations of sexual assault, domestic abuse. So feel free to skip this episode if any of those topics are too sensitive for you. We totally get it. But as you can tell by that long list of sugar warnings, Paul, one and Paul, two, the brothers, Paul, are they’re every bit controversial is perhaps one way to describe them.

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S2: Yeah, that’s definitely one way.

S3: We’ll probably come up with a few more before the show is over. There also are two of YouTube’s biggest stars. And the platform, by allowing them to be two of its biggest stars, have tacitly endorsed some of their more unsavory, tasteless, horrifying antics, which have been a constant source of conversation since the brothers emerged on the influencer scene back in like 2014, the olden days, Ye Olde 2014.

S2: Over the weekend, the brothers Paul made headlines again, specifically Logan Paul, who collided with another completely uncontroversial figure in his own right, none other than Floyd Mayweather. There’s nothing going on with that man. There’s no controversy. No, no Logan. Paul went eight rounds with Floyd Mayweather in a widely televised boxing match. Very widely publicized has been publicized since March. One of the biggest things that happen in boxing. And, you know, if you were sitting there wondering how did this Vine star go from making kind of dumb six second videos to stepping into the ring with the unbeaten champ? Well, we’re here to tell you and we’re also here to tell you what it says about the nature of Internet fame that none of Logan palls, various and manifold missteps in the past have stopped his meteoric rise.

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S3: Rachel, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am uniquely and darkly qualified to have this conversation.

S2: I, I did know this about you, and I am very glad that you were here to take me through this ride, because to be completely, 100 percent honest with you and ah, I see why my listeners, I have largely ignored the Paul brothers since they’ve immersions at the scene. I saw the antics. I saw the videos, I saw all the various headlines that were like the latest Logan Paul controversy explained. And I was like, you know what? I only have room in my heart for like four controversial people and none of them are the Paul brothers. So I don’t know what’s going on with them.

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S3: That’s really fair. I have spent easily five years on the Paul Brothers beat. I have been known to refer to myself as an anthropologist madson.

S2: Every day you test my patience,

S3: we’re going to get into the who, what, where, when and why of of the Paul brothers. But I feel like to to help Centaurus. I want to I want to talk about the time I went to a Jake Paul pop up in twenty seventeen. He had like a pop up store in New York City.

S2: What, why did you go. What. I went there.

S3: I dare how it was in Manhattan. It was like West thirty seven street.

S2: Oh of course

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S3: it was in December. It was absolutely freezing and I just stood outside in line all day with people, namely like little kids and their parents who had come from all over the country, like from the Midwest and from Texas, like all over the country, with no guarantee that they were going to see a Paul brother. Like the only promise was the only promise was that you could purchase their merch. Can you kind of

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S2: describe the crowd for me? Like you said, children like what is like the demographic makeup. I’ve never quite understood, like what their audience is actually made up of. Is it mostly teens?

S3: These were a ton of children like let’s say, and not even teens is maybe too old, like possibly like preteen, like age nine to thirteen. Feels like that was like the big chunk of kids who took off school to stand in line. I just feel like that helps establish the like cult of personality that surrounds the men we’re going to get into today.

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S2: I feel like you establishing how young his audience is, not just on his, but for me has only made everything clear. We’re going to talk about even more horrifying is because if there’s anything I know about the Paul brothers, it’s that perhaps children shouldn’t be watching them.

S3: All right. So who are the Paul brothers? That’s really, I think, where we have to begin, Logan and Jake. All our social media stars, influencers, they came up on Vine, so they originally started out as Venus, you know, doing raucous pranks, outlandish comedy, put some scare quotes around comedy.

S1: Hey, who are you going to homecoming with? Nobody. Do you want to go to Home Depot with me and just chill? Boy Jerome. Jerome.

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S3: As with almost all Internet celebrities that come out of nowhere, these guys are traditionally attractive, blonde haired, blue eyed, maybe. I’ve never checked that closely. They’re very muscular. They’re aggressively heterosexual, and they establish themselves as vind guys back in, you know, the era of Vine, Rap and Grapevine.

S2: I mean, that’s the interesting thing about kind of Vine fame, is that the people always falling on vine more like black teens. But I was fully kind of aware of this other genre because the thing is, what black kids were doing on the app was actually funny, what people like Logan and Jake Paul were doing. I was just like, I don’t get it.

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S3: It was sort of hit or miss in the beginning. Right? Like Logan, Paul and Jake, Paul made some funny stuff, but also, I think had a very acute understanding of what they were doing and the brands that they were building. And they have only continued to expand upon that since then.

S2: When you say they knew what they were doing. Can you elaborate on that?

S3: Yeah, I’m remembering I had a friend, Caroline Moss, who wrote a profile about them for Business Insider in 2015 or profile about Logan for Business Insider in 2015. And she spent some time with him and he performed a never released song called Stank Dick, which sort of clashed with the the image of like being wholesome or like maybe wanting to pivot to television. And again, it’s never been released. So no one has ever actually heard Stank Dick. But it seems like that was sort of the brand beginning to form.

S2: All right. Yeah, keep taking me. I feel like you love telling me about curse things. And this whole episode feels curse. Continue to curse me.

S3: I say our curse, but also I begrudgingly for years and years. And I think that this is what has kept me interested in the Paul brothers, is that there is a savvy to it. There is a calculation to their their brand and growing empire that I am darkly fascinated by, like the harnessing of how platforms work and how fandoms engage with people. Like I find that to be really in trancing. Yeah. And also they just they do dumb shit all the time. So it’s, you know, this like really fun, delicious combination. After Vine, they continue their rise on YouTube. I think of both of them have over 20 million subscribers. Now, YouTube is not really their thing anymore. They’ve they’ve diversified their their revenue streams. Perhaps it’s best when I say the name Logan Paul, like, what’s the first thing they come to you comes to your mind?

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S2: Oh, I mean, the first thing is like the suicide force thing.

S3: Yeah. So Logan Paul logged a dead body that he found in Japan’s so-called suicide forest on New Year’s Day in twenty eighteen. The suicide forest is known by its name colloquially because it is a place with a very high proportion of deaths. It is a place where a significant number of people have gone to take their own lives. So something sort of grim already about the idea of Logan, Paul and his group of YouTube comrades marching into the forest with cameras strapped at the ready.

S2: Kind of grim. Feels like an understatement, but yes.

S3: Yeah. So the thing that when I when I say that, I, I find the the mental calculus that the Paul brothers are doing in real time when they make these decisions to be darkly fascinating, like the suicide forest video is a really great example of that, because there’s a moment in the video where Logan is like pulls out a bottle of Soki from his backpack, takes a drink and is like, fuck it. I don’t care if I’m drinking and cursing in this video. It’s already getting demagnetized, which is to say he already knew it, like violated YouTube’s policies. YouTube’s reaction was a non response. Hey, yeah. Like limited his ad sense money, which is how YouTube’s make make money on YouTube, monetize video, the things they run ads against, which is what Logan was talking about when he said he knew the video was getting demagnetized, a video in which he’s seen drinking alcohol. And, you know, showing a corpse is not one that advertisers want to be seen against.

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S2: Yeah, I feel like what I remember of this controversy was the kind of lack of response from YouTube besides like the bare minimum of demonetization, which like people they monetize for shit that they shouldn’t be.

S3: So all the time

S2: being demanded has for something that is horrifying is like the it’s the bare minimum, like the bars below the.

S3: Grüne Yeah, it’s funny, during that time I talk to a lot of his fans, like gangsters, the low gang kids, mostly just trying to get a sense of like if their opinions of Logan Paul had like, if anything, if this could change their opinions, sway their minds about him. And it was sort of this wild look inside the mind of the fandom, because the responses I got were people telling me no, like that’s just Logan. Like he found a dead body. He had to flag it. Oh, Logan comes back with a suicide prevention PSA. It is extremely tacky. Don’t seek it out. All of these things just continue to build and build and build on the infamy of Logan. Paul and his brother Jake uses a similar model, has had a similar career trajectory. Jake founded Team Ten, which is like a social media incubator slash collaborative house in Los Angeles area that was best known for just making its neighbors miserable. Like one time they lit a fire in an empty swimming pool kind of thing.

S2: Oh, okay. Yeah. You know, as one does, he

S3: was up on a Disney Channel show like a kid show called Biz Aardvark. For a while, Jake Paul left the show, but it was very clear that, like, it all ended because of the fire in the pool and the noise complaints. And leaving the Disney show, though, does inspire a rap track entitled It’s Every Day, Bro.

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S1: It’s Every Day, bro. With the Disney Channel float on YouTube in six months, never done before will pass on the competition. Man, Cutie Pie is next, man.

S2: I’m I’m sorry. There’s just this way in which white men, white women do the same thing. Just white people in general kind of use like adjacency to black culture as a way to, like, distinguish themselves and make themselves seem edgy. And it’s like not only deeply cringe, but also just deeply offensive in so many various ways.

S3: It’s everyday. Bro is also like Jake Paul’s motto in that he blogged every day

S2: for how it like for how long

S3: years this was his thing. He was like a daily blogger.

S2: I can’t imagine that in all. I mean, we kind of talked about this during our David Dobek episode, but like the danger of daily blogging, when you are like Logan Paul or Jake Paul or generally a kind of frat Brosque thing is that you were essentially putting a camera inside of a frat house, which is feels like asking for a lawsuit in a lot of different ways. So I can’t imagine that those daily blogs nightcaps are like a shit ton of stuff that we don’t have time to talk about. But what a rich text.

S3: And it’s about to get worse.

S2: I think that was possible. But all

S3: right. I feel like the pivot that’s coming here is not terribly surprising. But there have been in recent months, years, as recently as this year, a number of women who have been involved with Jake Paul coming forward with allegations of actions ranging from emotional abuse to groping to to sexual assault.

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S2: And I think this is largely why I had ignored the Paul brothers up until this point, is that there’s this kind of knowledge just kind of looking at them and their fan base and the things that do manage to flow into my sphere of the Internet. That just gave me the vibe that they are men who continually do terrible things and have not been held to account for any of them. But I think what makes all of this worse is just how much money they’re making doing this. Like they’re very controversial figures from like before the Internet who you’re like they’re just constantly doing fucking stunts for like two thousand dollars or whatever. But the Paul brothers are millionaires

S3: and everything they do is about building their brands and building their businesses and and building them in a way that they can exist off the platform. And that’s what’s really critical about what they have done, is because they’re not tethered to they weren’t tethered to Vyn, they’re not tethered to YouTube or to Twitter or to Instagram. They use those platforms. They harness them, certainly. And those platforms have been very, very good to them. But Logan and Jake Paul, are social media a platform behemoth at this point?

S2: We are going to take a break so Madison can lower her blood pressure, do a few stretches.

S3: Thank you. I appreciate that.

S2: But when we come back, we’re going to get into the Mayweather of it all and how the Paul brothers recent turn towards boxing is actually really in line with the kind of a platform brand that they’ve built for themselves.

S3: More on that after the break.

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S2: And we’re back, Madison is arrested, relaxed, prepared to tell me some more coerced content,

S3: I’m at least one of those things. We are now going to pivot our discussion to discuss Logan Paul’s pivot into boxing.

S1: Logan Paul, a master self marketer who’s accrued over sixty six million social media followers. He seriously believes he is capable of pointing a tear in Mayweather, this cloak of invincibility.

S3: Logan, Paul and Floyd Mayweather announced this big pay per view fight. This is not a new thing for Logan, Paul. He’s been on the pay per view boxing scene for months now.

S2: I think the Paul Brothers general turned towards pay per view boxing. That’s kind of floated up into my feet. And I was like, why nobody who’s an actual boxer is going to want to fight these absolute chubb’s

S3: OK, but then enter for and

S2: Mayweather non-observant and other unde undefeated like 50 o like in his career. And this is the only fact I know about sports. And he’s like he retired and came out of retirement for this to fight Loganholme.

S3: I feel like we should maybe digress for just a minute for a Yeah. Floyd Mayweather. I see. Why am I a Wikipedia article?

S2: Floyd Mayweather has been accused of violence against women at least. And when I say at least, I really mean at least seven times and has been convicted of violence against women. At least twice, so two terrible people beating each other up is what happened this weekend and they weren’t just beating each other up, they’re beating each other up for money.

S3: Floyd Mayweather has likened the match to legal bank robbery and has claimed that he stands to make a hundred million dollars while Logan Paul. Claimed a figure somewhere in the 20 mile range, given the source, that’s likely an inflated figure. But still we are talking about some serious money at stake for both of these guys.

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S2: Truly love when terrible people just make a shit ton of money being terrible.

S3: Both Logan, Paul and Floyd Mayweather have been using the other person’s history as like fuel for the fight. So they did a press conference where Mayweather. Yeah, where Floyd Mayweather said he was going to make lockable pay for what he did in Japan. And Paul, like firing back in the beef, said that we all know what Floyd Mayweather did to his wife, no mutual grossness, that these acts of violence, to varying degrees, nuance people are are being reduced by their perpetrators as like fun Barbes to throw in a fight to make more money.

S2: This really grows like tongue in cheek, winking at a sole domestic abuse.

S3: Yeah. Also, I feel I realize we have not the fight is fake.

S2: Oh yeah. Of course it’s it’s not even a real fight rights exhibition.

S3: Right. And Logan.

S1: Paul, stand by my mother. Wow. Logan, Paul, hands down. Going for the

S3: weekend. Paul went eight rounds with Floyd Mayweather, which

S2: I know Floyd Mayweather is retired, but that he had to be going easy on

S3: him. But Logan, Paul gets to say he went eight rounds with Floyd Mayweather and in the end did not lose. And Floyd Mayweather gets the very visible reality that he probably could have completely demolished Logan Paul and instead will take his very large check and go home. Thank you very much.

S2: The worst people are the best at game of buying our attention spans.

S3: And there also I will, like, go to my grave screaming that it’s unfair to just be like these are bozos who got lucky and got famous. Yeah, but with the other half of my chest, I will go to my grave screaming that these platforms and the systems that support the platforms, they allow for the rise of a certain type of creator. They allow for the success of a certain type of person, and they allow for that person to fuck up over and over and over again and still be the thing that the algorithm and thus the people see and want to see more of. And the Paul brothers fall perfectly into that category.

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S2: I mean, both Floyd Mayweather and the Paul brothers in a lot of ways kind of strike back at the notion of counterculture and it’s just going to keep working for them. And I think that’s what’s so frustrating about once you kind of reach a certain level of fame on the Internet or your audience has kind of chosen to write or die with you, is the platforms either can’t hold you accountable or have no will to hold you accountable because your success is their success.

S3: There’s a piece from The Washington Post a few years ago that I think about often on this topic about how was an internal report sourced from like YouTube video moderators. And basically the company policy internally was to give preferential treatment to Logan Paul, to Steven Crowder, to Cutie Pie, to these big creators, these tent poles for the platform who are now actively violating the platform’s terms of service in a way that might have gotten a smaller creator access. But YouTube needs those guys. And when I say those guys, I mean any number of amorphous blob of human who has come to fill that space like there will always be.

S2: I think that’s also what’s frustrating about all this is so many times the platform kind of makes it seem like, oh, it’s just the algorithm or it’s just what people are clicking on. And that is literally never true. There is active support being given by companies like YouTube to people like the Paul brothers, and there’s no way to have any kind of checks and balances on that preferential treatment. It all just comes out like six years after the fact. And now we are stuck with, you know, Logan. Paul is probably going to run for president in 10 years. You know, he is you know, he is going to be it might be a joke campaign and it might not. But that piece of shit is running for office.

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S3: Do you watch D’Angela Wallace’s videos ever?

S2: I don’t. But you have told me multiple times. But D’Angela Wallace and I. I love I love how much you love him.

S1: The Paul brothers are YouTube’s most infamous sibling duo. Jake Paul is the younger brother, and he’s definitely the worst. He’s not just about YouTube. He’s been in this string of run ins with the law, culminating in an FBI raid. It’s a lot. So basically, I just want to look at how the heck

S3: we got here. He and I did an interview with him earlier this year, and he talked a lot about how being a black creator means he never gets a second chance and how that, like, looms over his head constantly as he makes these videos about very sensitive topics and how that’s such a fear and that there’s a real clash in in living with that while making content about people who truly think that there is no repercussions for anything ever.

S2: The amount of chances that are given to people, to white people, to white men. If I had a dime for every

S3: president, you could fund your run for president.

S2: I could afford a house. The pool that I could set fire to.

S1: I set fire to my pool.

S2: All right, I think that’s that’s a that’s a good note to wrap up on.

S3: All right, that’s the show I see why am I would not be possible without support, Slate Plus helps us keep the show going. It means you get to listen to your episodes ad free. It’s a dollar for your first month. So please consider supporting our podcast that way. We’ll be back in your feed on Saturday because we are not every day, bro. So please subscribe. Consider leaving us a rating in a review and Apple podcast and maybe tell your influencer YouTube former Vine star turned boxer friends about us. You can follow us on Twitter at A.I.M.. I underscore POD, which is where you can ask your questions. Questions about boxing will probably be ignored. Questions about influencers turn boxers very much welcome. And of course, you can always drop us an email at. I see. Why am I at Slate Dotcom? Who knows? We might just have you on the show.

S2: I see why Miles, produced by Daniel Shrader, our supervising producer is Derek John for with Ministry of Culture editor, Gay Brothers, editorial director of Audio Free Online or Not.

S3: Logan, Paul and Floyd mother worked with Logan for Logan, will keep

S2: the pills and keep keep on the.