Logan Paul is an influencer, podcaster, and professional wrestler who has — once again — found himself at the center of controversy. A three-part YouTube series by investigative journalist Stephen Findeisen, who’s known as Coffeezilla on YouTube, delved into Paul’s recent CryptoZoo project, branding the endeavor a scam. As if matters couldn’t get weirder, less than a month later, a pig named Pearl previously owned by Paul was found abandoned by an animal rescue, which has since taken Pearl in.
The one-two punch of stories spread across social media has made Paul the subject of conversation across Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms. It has resulted in some messy discourse, with other influencers and creators weighing in from every angle. Paul has taken to social media and his own podcast to respond.
Paul first promoted CryptoZoo on his podcast Impaulsive in Aug. 2021. He said he had been working on his “own NFT project,” calling it “a really fun game that makes you money.” CryptoZoo is a blockchain “game” where players buy in-game cryptocurrency called $Z00 to spend on digital eggs that hatch into animals. Eggs could theoretically also be bred, resulting in hybrids that were rare, and thus considered more monetarily valuable.
On Dec. 16, Findeisen posted the first installment of his three-part series, entitled “Investigating Logan Paul’s Biggest Scam,” which has more than 7.5 million views. In this video Findeisen alleges that the project was a scam, and he interviews players who said they were never able to hatch their eggs. In the description of the video, Findeisen writes:
“CryptoZoo was supposed to be a fun blockchain game that can earn you money... but millions of dollars of investor money later, things are still broken. Coffeezilla investigates why. [...] This video is an opinion and in no way should be construed as statements of fact. Scams, bad business opportunities, and fake gurus are subjective terms that mean different things to different people. I think someone who promises $100K/month for an upfront fee of $2K is a scam. Others would call it a Napoleon Hill pitch.”
Findeisen posted part two and three of the series on the Coffeezilla YouTube channel on Dec. 20 and 23. In these videos, Findeisen investigates other members of the CryptoZoo team, including the lead developer Eddie Ibanez, other developers, and other crypto influencers like Jake the Crypto King. (No relation to Jake Paul, Logan Paul’s influencer brother and fellow podcaster.)
Logan Paul posted a response video to Coffeezilla on Jan. 4, which has since been deleted but has circulating widely across the internet as other YouTubers have reposted it. In that video, Paul said he did not make any money on CryptoZoo, accused Findeisen of using his name for money and views, and threatened to sue Findeisen. He also discussed Coffeezilla’s series of videos on an episode of the Impaulsive podcast.
On Saturday, Findeisen tweeted that Paul had called him and was “deleting the two responses,” as well as “dropping the lawsuit threats.” Findeisen also shared a screenshot from the CryptoZoo Discord group that depicted Paul saying he would be “taking accountability, apologizing, and coming forward with a plan in the near future.” The CryptoZoo website currently says it is “undergoing upgrades to the core infrastructure of the ecosystem.” (Polygon has reached out to Logan Paul and Stephen Findeisen and will update the story upon response.)
Logan’s response: his response was “rash and misaligned with the true issue”— Coffeezilla (@coffeebreak_YT) January 7, 2023
He’s going to be taking “accountability, apologizing, and coming forward with a plan”. pic.twitter.com/nI2tyQd28i
Just as things began to calm, the controversy around Paul reignited on Jan. 10, but for a completely different reason. An animal rescue sanctuary Gentle Barn posted a TikTok telling the story of a pig named Pearl, described as having been found abandoned in a field next to another pig, who was deceased. Fans recognized Pearl as Paul’s pet pig from his YouTube videos, and the animal sanctuary’s TikTok began circulating across social media.
According to the TikTok, Gentle Barn treated Pearl for a life-threatening infection in her uterus and for tattered ears. “From what we’ve been told, it’s believed she was purchased originally from a breeder by an influencer,” the description on the TikTok video reads.
It continues, “People often buy ‘mini pigs’ or ‘teacup pigs’ for clout online, believing they will stay small. When they inevitably grow very large and have many unexpected needs, they’re sadly discarded. While we don’t know everything she’s been through in her past, we know her life is now filled with friends, nutritious foods, the highest quality care, and so much love.” Polygon reached out to Gentle Barn for comment and did not receive a response.
Pearl was found alone in a field next to another pig who had passed away. She came to us with tattered ears and a potentially life-threatening infection in her uterus that has since been healed. She's clearly been through so much trauma that we can't begin to imagine, but she's now safe with us at The Gentle Barn. From what we've been told, it's believed she was purchased originally from a breeder by an influencer. People often buy "mini pigs" or “teacup pigs” for clout online, believing they will stay small. When they inevitably grow very large and have many unexpected needs, they're sadly discarded. While we don't know everything she's been through in her past, we know her life is now filled with friends, nutritious foods, the highest quality care, and so much love. #pigrescue #animalrescuestory #abandonedanimals #pigsoftiktok #farmanimalrescue #thegentlebarn♬ Where is My Mind? - Piano Version - The Blue Notes
Polygon also contacted Logan Paul for comment about Pearl, and received the following response:
Logan moved to Puerto Rico and was unable to take Pearl with him. He responsibly re-homed her to an amazing horse ranch where she was well taken care of.
Logan found out yesterday that the owner of the horse ranch had moved and couldn’t keep Pearl. They apparently had re-homed her to their neighbor, and the neighbor was the one who contacted Gentle Barn to take Pearl in.
Logan was unaware and shocked to learn Pearl was re-homed once again, to a person and place he had no knowledge of.
Logan immediately reached out to Gentle Barn when this information surfaced online. He has offered to help support financially and hopes to reunite with Pearl, if given the opportunity by the rescue organization.
Logan is incredibly upset to learn of Pearl’s condition and is truly grateful to Gentle Barn.
Many fans on the internet have expressed skepticism at Paul’s responses to these two controversies. It remains to be seen how they will resolve, but it’s a reminder that despite Paul’s continued success and massive follower count, his efforts to rehabilitate his image often lead to even more ridiculous results.