After years of headline-making scandals, long-time YouTube provocateur Trisha Paytas’ departure from one of the platform’s most popular podcasts landed the non-binary internet celebrity at the top of YouTube’s most disliked creators over the past week.
Paytas, who has over 8 million subscribers across their four YouTube channels, tallied seven of the top 10 videos with the most dislikes on the platform over the past week, according to data from social media tracking firm Newswhip.
The most-disliked video on YouTube this week—and the source of the broader controversy—was the 33-year-old media personality’s announcement of their departure from the weekly podcast “Frenemies.”
Launched nine months ago with fellow YouTuber Ethan Klein, “Frenemies” quickly became one of the video streaming site’s buzziest podcasts, spanning the duo’s personal dramas as well as contributing to controversies around other top creators like David Dobrick, Shane Dawson and James Charles.
Frequent sparring between the hosts, including an on-air battle in their final episode, devolved into the June 8 revelation of Paytas’ quitting over a lack of creative control Paytas said had caused them to feel “a lot of anxiety.”
Klein responded on Twitter, and later in a YouTube video, contesting Paytas’ account of the podcast breakup and apologizing to the show’s millions of fans to whom he vowed he had done everything he “humanly could to save it.”
Ultimately, the YouTube community appeared to respond to Paytas’ exit with frustration, delivering over 56,000 dislikes (nearly 10,000 more than the number of likes) to Paytas’ initial announcement—and a similar show of distaste to the slew of videos that followed expanding upon the still-evolving drama.
Responding to the frustrations outlined by many of the videos’ viewers, Paytas wrote in a comment on the initial video that they had seen the feedback from fans who “think I’m making a mistake, or being unreasonable.” “I’m sorry so many of you are disappointed in me,” Paytas wrote. “This is without a doubt the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”
Paytas acknowledged in their response to the video that the “Frenemies” podcast had helped recover some of the fans lost through years of different controversies. After joining YouTube in 2007, Paytas, a California native and then-aspiring actor, gained a following by purposefully “trolling” the internet through videos like a monologue about how dogs don’t have brains and a colorful endorsement of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election (Paytas said Romeny had her vote because he was “super gorgeous” and shared a name with their cat, Mittens). Though many of the attention-grabbing videos were light-hearted in nature, others drew waves of anger and offense on the internet, such as Paytas’ racist cosplaying of a Japanese popstar dubbed “Tishii” and their 2016 “coming out” as a chicken nugget. This gained renewed scrutiny in October 2019 when they came out as a transgender man in a widely criticized and since-deleted video in which they also said they “100%” identified with their birth gender of female. Paytas has since apologized for the video and announced their gender identity as “non-binary.”
1.9 billion. That’s how many views Paytas’ main channel, “blndsundoll4mj,” has accrued in the decade-and-a-half since it was launched.
Though Paytas is one of YouTube’s best-known creators, they claimed in a March 2021 interview with Vulture that 70% of their income comes from OnlyFans, a content subscription service popular among sex workers. Paytas said their content on the platform is bringing in around $1 million a year, making up for a drastic decline in their YouTube revenue since its peak in the mid-2010s. In addition to these platforms, Paytas has made guest appearances in numerous movies and television shows, including Celebrity Big Brother, released and gone on tour for albums, published books and sold their own perfume, entitled Trish.
Though Forbes does not have an estimate of Paytas’ net worth, top YouTubers can make tens of millions of dollars a year through ad revenue on their videos and other business ventures. With around double Paytas’ following and 600 million views between June 2019 and June 2020, beauty guru Jeffree Star earned $15 million in 2020 from his YouTube channel and makeup line, landing the #10 spot on Forbes’ list of top-paid YouTubers. The highest-paid YouTuber of 2020 was 9-year-old Ryan Kaji, who pulled in $29.5 million from his child-oriented toy review and vlog channel, Ryan’s World.
“Confessions of a 32-Year-Old Drama Queen” (Vulture)