The New York Times recently did a deep dive into the failed Team 10, a social media and influencer house created by YouTuber Jake Paul. And what the news organization found out from former members was quite concerning, ranging from allegations of bullying and harassment to sexual misconduct.
Team 10 was founded in 2016, bringing teenage influencers together under one roof to create content for their collective fans. Jake Paul told The New York Times that the goal was to create an “empire” of sorts, with Paul at the top. It was the first of its kind at the time, although there have been plenty of influencer houses since, even within esports.
According to journalist Taylor Lorenz, each influencer would live in the Team 10 house, a rented mansion in Los Angeles, and they wouldn’t have to pay any rent. In return, the teens had to regularly produce content for social media and also participate in brand deals. But it wasn’t the high-class dream that many of the influencers expected, especially when Paul started performing an abundance of pranks on his housemates.
I interviewed former Team 10 members, staff, and many creators who lived with and interacted with Jake Paul.
They allege bullying, harassment, and exploitation. Two women allege sexual misconduct. https://t.co/UsOpbFEWhx
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) April 22, 2021
“When it comes down to someone having to do something to get attention, every single day you have to do crazy stuff,” former member AJ Mitchell said. “If you go back and look at those videos, you see a lot of crazy stuff and you’ll see why kids are drawn into it because it was a house full of kids doing whatever they want. Every day it was a new crazy thing, but people wanted to watch it.”
Paul allegedly manipulated the teens to do whatever he wanted, including participating in pranks and other hijinx. Since Paul had so much social influence and could potentially make Team 10 members famous in an instant, team members felt like they had to listen to him or risk not getting tagged in Paul’s videos. And over time, Mitchell and others noticed they were also left in the dark when it came to the money coming in to Team 10 and the brand deals that Paul dealt with privately.
Even though he was living in a mansion, Mitchell told Lorenz he was sleeping on a floor and never had enough food to eat.
Meanwhile, Paul’s pranks and behavior were starting to spill out further than inside the Team 10 house walls. Neighbors were starting to complain. Some even stated that Paul and his Team 10 house were making the fancy neighborhood feel like a “war zone.” Paul was forced to move the Team 10 house elsewhere.
Around this time, former members of Team 10 came forward to share their own stories regarding the craziness of the living situation. Two YouTubers, Ivan and Emilio Martinez, explained in a video how they were bullied, discriminated against, and mocked for their English skills. The Spanish influencers said that they were also tortured with pranks.
“They didn’t even love us. We were really upset. [We] went to sleep scared,” the brothers explained.
A year later, Paul’s ex-girlfriend Alissa Violet, who shared a room with Mitchell during his time at Team 10, was interviewed about her experience dating Paul. She said he was mentally and emotionally abusive “2,000 times a day.” She recalled numerous conversations where she would never feel good about herself thanks to his words and behavior.
Earlier this month, TikTok influencer Justine Paradise accused Jake Paul of sexual assault. While at the Team 10 house in 2019, Paul allegedly forced her to perform oral sex. Paradise explained that she was “physically restricted” and “emotionally restricted.” She said she plans to file charges, though Paul has denied the accusations.
A model who worked with Paul when she was 17 also came out with sexual misconduct allegations. Railey Lollie said Paul often called her “jail bait” and even groped her while filming a video in 2017. She told him to stop and ran out of the room in response. Lollie quit shortly after that incident, Lorenz wrote.
“I was with Jake for months, and I saw what kind of person he was behind the scenes and what kind of person he put out to the rest of the world,” Lollie said.
Despite all of the ongoing accusations and negative experiences revolving around Paul’s Team 10 endeavor, the social media star is already planning more ventures. Paul has moved on to fighting, where he’s reportedly earning an eight-figure salary. It’s unclear if this is an attempt at rebranding or if Paul is just happy to make some more money while participating in combat sports. But it hasn’t stopped former Team 10 influencers from coming forward with their stories of abuse.