One of 2021's biggest sporting events took place in Cleveland over the weekend, something few would have likely predicted. YouTuber Jake Paul took on former UFC champion Tyron Woodley on Sunday night on the floor of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Despite not making good on his promise to knockout Woodley, Paul's Northeast Ohio homecoming still ended in victory. Following an underwhelming eight-round slugfest, the Westlake native won via split decision. Paul, who is now 4-0 in his professional boxing career, has never fought, nor won, against an actual professional boxer but showed once again he can hang in the ring against whomever he can annoy.
All eyes were on Cleveland leading up to and on the night of the bout. Exact viewership numbers aren't readily available just yet but in Paul's fight against Ben Askren earlier this year, PPV buys were reportedly somewhere between 1.2 million and 1.6 million. With that in mind, it's safe to assume that similar numbers would be tuned in to Sunday night's event as well. In the arena, it was a sellout crowd as well, with plenty of celebrities seen ringside, watching the fight in person.
It's safe to assume that bringing the fight between Paul and Woodley to Northeast Ohio was a success financially. That's what's bound to happen when you bring in Paul, one of the most successful and controversial online personalities out there, to town. The same can be said for Paul's older brother Logan, who is just as popular and controversial, who was a prominent figure in Cleveland this weekend as well. No matter where the Paul brothers go attention is sure to follow and it makes sense why Cleveland welcomed them, and this event, to the city with open arms.
But, Cleveland should be ashamed for embracing, championing and further enabling the Paul brothers this weekend.
If you take a look at their recent past neither Logan nor Jake Paul should be local celebrities Cleveland associates themselves with. On the internet, Jake has created plenty of inappropriate content, including uploading a video to his YouTube channel titled "I lost my virginity" which used a thumbnail of himself and his then-girlfriend Erika Costell posing semi-nude on top of each other. That video currently has 4.6 million views and has been retitled as, "MY SKI TRIP FAIL" after being flagged by YouTube's internal system.
Logan, meanwhile, uploaded a video in 2017 to his YouTube channel depicting the recently deceased corpse of a man who had died by hanging himself in Aokigahara at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, known as the "suicide forest" due to its infamy as a suicide site. The video gained 6.3 million views within 24 hours of being uploaded. Logan was also criticized for other misbehavior he was captured taking part in during the trip, including climbing onto a moving forklift at the Tsukiji fish market, removing his clothing on a crowded street, then proceeding to fight with one of the people he was traveling with, and throwing a giant Poké Ball at passing citizens, including an officer of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
When the cameras aren't on, the controversies still don't stop for either Paul brother. In January 2019, Logan remarked on his Impaulsive podcast, "What is it, male-only March? We're gonna attempt to go gay for just one month." He then went on to say that being homosexual was a choice. Jake, meanwhile, has said that COVID-19 was a "hoax", also stating that "98 percent of news (about COVID-19) is fake", and that he believed the measures against COVID-19 in the United States should end, calling them "the most detrimental thing to our society." He then incorrectly stated that the flu had killed as many people in the United States in 2020 as COVID-19 did, and claimed that "Medical professionals have (recently) also said that masks do absolutely nothing to prevent the spread of coronavirus"; he later referred to said professionals as "dozens of my medical friends."
Jake also has been accused of sexual assault as well. In April of this year, TikTok personality Justine Paradise alleged that Paul forced her into oral sex and touched her without her consent in 2019. Paradise has stated she has received harassment and death threats from Paul's fans over the accusation. Days later, model and actress Railey Lollie, who had previously worked for Paul beginning when she was 17, alleged that Paul often called her, "Jailbait" and commentated on her appearance and after a production of a video in 2017 groped her.
Bear in mind that the target audience for either Paul brother and their content ranges from 7 to 15 years old. There's still plenty of other deplorable things they've done, like Jake scamming his massive base through Edfluence, but Cleveland should be ashamed for embracing these two over the weekend. They also played a part in enabling their behavior by championing them as one of Northeast Ohio's own as well.
In the end, neither Jake nor Logan are worth your attention and should be someone Cleveland completely distances themselves from. Cleveland should embrace local celebrities like Larry Nance Jr., who was just traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, who made an effort to support 72 different local businesses that were impacted by the pandemic during last season. Or celebrate the doctors or nurses or anyone working the frontline as COVID-19, something Paul thinks is a hoax, returns with a vengeance and is still killing thousands every day. There are so many others that deserve the time, energy and attention the Paul brothers get on a daily basis. It's time to champion them instead, Cleveland.