YouTube star Jake Paul is once again involved in controversy after being accused of promoting a gambling website to his young audience.
The 21-year-old internet personality uploaded a video on Sunday titled “Spent $5,000 ON MYSTERY BOXES & You WONT Believe WHAT I GOT… (insane),” where he opens virtual boxes on Mysterybrand.net.
The website allows users to pay real money to open prize-filled mystery boxes. The prizes apparently range from fidget spinners to Apple TVs to luxury sports cars.
In his video, Paul spends hundreds of dollars to open the virtual boxes. While he starts by winning low-value items like Converse sneakers, he eventually lands big prizes, such as Apple Airpods and an iPhone.
Fellow YouTube star RiceGum posted a similar video on Monday, where he too spent hundreds of dollars opening boxes. Towards the end of his video, RiceGum questions whether the website is a scam but he doesn’t offer further investigation.
For his part, Paul was upfront that his video was a sponsored post. “We partnered with [Mystery Brand] because they’re the best and they have the dopest site and they have all the dopest products,” he told his subscribers.
“On their site, you can literally win a Rolls Royce… You can win iPhones and iPads and all sorts of goods.”
However, Paul and RiceGum are now facing criticism for advertising what could be considered a gambling site to their young viewers.
“Jake, I tried this website and I completely got scammed out of a large amount of money,” wrote YouTuber Maddy Black. “I am very upset to see that you would be sponsored by a company that scams people out of money.”
Another commenter added: “I don’t like these mystery boxes being promoted by influencers especially ones that have such a young impressionable audience. This is gambling and shouldn’t be promoted to kids. Sorry.”
YouTuber Keemstar also tweeted that he was offered $100,000 to partner with the site, but he turned it down, not realizing until now that the website is possibly a scam.
There was a thread posted on Reddit back in September on which users questioned whether Mystery Brand is a scam or not. The responses are mixed.
Paul and RiceGum have yet to publicly address the controversy.