Some of YouTube’s biggest channels are facing backlash from both viewers and other YouTube creators after promoting a form of loot box-style gambling with a company called Mystery Brand. Both Jake Paul and Brian “RiceGum” Le have run sponsored videos promoting Mystery Brand — a $100,000 offer that other YouTube creators said they’ve also received and turned down. The sponsored videos show Paul and Le clicking on a variety of mystery boxes looking to win top prizes. Much like loot boxes in gaming, the format lets players spend anywhere from $12.99 to $100 on boxes and open them up to win an unidentified prize. Prizes differ from USB cords and fidget spinners to designer clothes, cars, and houses, according to the site. In the videos, Paul and Le spend thousands of dollars on boxes, and winning everything from $4 fidget spinners and $60 Converse sneakers to AirPods, an iPhone XS, and sneakers worth $1,000. The thumbnails on the creators’ videos include expensive items like designer shoes, iPhones, and iPads. Le’s video is titled simply “How I got AirPods for $4.” But three days after Le’s video went up, something changed. Within 24 hours, he and Paul were facing callout videos from Ethan Klein, Kavos and, perhaps most damaging, PewDiePie, who named the sponsorship as an “oopsie,” and called promoting the website “a bad idea in general,” especially considering both Le and Paul have young fans. Le responded with a short response video about his Mystery Brand sponsorship, telling fans he… [Read full story]
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