🥊 even the paparazzi team ethan
You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥 internet culture served piping hot. This week: the risk and reward of launching products in the midst of a crisis with the scandalous lives of YouTube’s elite, Tana Mongeau and Trisha Paytas.
Drink up 🐸 ☕️
p.s. if you’re not a paid subscriber, here’s what you missed from this week’s Bucks Fizz: our Thursday dispatch covering the best of TikTok’s unsigned and emerging talent.
what we’ve been sipping on
As many of our readers know, we love dissecting a good scandal (#justieforcuthie 🐛), but this week’s really packs a punch. While it is true we both stayed up last night to watch a bloodied Bryce reach his doom by McBroom in the “Battle of the Platforms” boxing showdown, this dispatch won’t cover the blow-by-blow of the bombastic boyos running amuck in Miami. Rather, we’re turning the spotlight on infamous YouTube OGs, Tana Mongeau and Trisha Paytas to share some of their hits and downright misses of the internet this week.
Expect dashes of “how to lose an audience and screw your crew in 10 days” mixed with a drizzle of “the meme is the message and the moolah”, topped off with a dollop of “oh thank god, how else am I gonna pay the bills?”. TL;DR there’s a time and a place to cash in your cultural capital, and it’s definitely not after throwing your crusts out of the pizza box (Trisha, we’re looking at you). Let’s dive in 👇
in the red corner: Trisha the unruly
All the VeryOnline™ aficionados out there can vouch, it’s been quite the year for Trisha Paytas. From whistle-blowing on David Dobrik, to finding an audience of 6.3M followers on TikTok – a successful migration from YouTube – and for their love-hate (but mainly love) relationship with fellow YouTuber podcast host Ethan Klein, soon to be brother-in-law (cue: “I love you Moses”). For all intents and purposes Trisha was on the up. Vindicated from ex-partner’s Jason Nash’s smear campaign (Trish spoke out about their concerns around David Dobrik before the internet et al were ready to accept) and leaning into their role as professional tea spiller, in September 2020 Trisha re-routed their reformed image into a business relationship with Ethan on his h3h3Productions YouTube channel. Frenemies was born.
Source: H3 Productions/YouTube
We would be lying if we said we weren’t fans of this move. Nothing against H3’s OG married duo Ethan and Hila, but as you can tell from the numbers above, adding Trisha Paytas to your lineup catapults the show into a main event. Frenemies was fast becoming a household name on the YouTube circuit, with regular cosplay (the mask really did it for us) and effortless banter between the pair. With Trisha announcing their engagement to Hila’s brother, Moses in December last year, the show was truly a family affair and despite the name, the two really did seem to be getting along (and getting the bag 💰)
However, we spoke too soon. This week’s Frenemies episode aired with a shocking ending. Essentially it consisted of a disagreement of $ % splits between Trisha, Ethan and the h3Productions crew, a Domino's pizza being ordered (honestly, a cursed move for Frenemies), and Trisha storming out of the building. Now, Trisha and Ethan have been known to have disagreements in the past, but this one took the cake pop. What unfolded next was a video from Trisha titled “stepping down from frenemies”, followed by a tirade of 40 minute long videos in response to Ethan’s reaction to the news. Yes pals, this all should have been handled offline, but we’re dealing with the lives and times of the internet's most wanted.
Source: Trisha Paytas/YouTube
Without going into too much of a “he said, they said,” because it’s honestly quite sad to see two fren(emie)s turn on each other in this way, we wanted to draw attention to Trisha’s rather bizarre decision to launch their first skincare line, in the middle of one of the most stressful internet takedowns of the year (FYI, the internet is Team Ethan, on god).
Imagine our surprise, when in the midst of all the chaos, Trisha dons a wig and a pink suit to promote their new skincare line: Trish Skin. A bit of a slap in the face (pun intended), if you ask us and the TikTok comments are just as baffled 👇
Source: Trisha Paytas/TikTok
We get it, will all eyes on Trisha this week with the drama at large, all press is good press right? Wrong. A quick peep on their site proves otherwise. If the tracker is accurate, in the last 21 hours, only 9 Miracle Elixir Collection kits have sold. That’s right, 9 *shivers*.
With Trisha’s renewed image heading fast down the drain, it doesn’t take a genius to understand this probably isn’t a good case of creator - product fit, despite their best intentions. Here is a lesson in fickle followers, folks: despite cultivating a strong fan base this year, timing was not on their side. We’ve got whiplash trying to keep up with their Ethan takedown tea and are no longer incentivised to dig deep into our pockets. We hope Trisha can regroup and salvage what they can from this business – hopefully it will start with going halfsies with Ethan, after he financed hundreds of thousands of $ worth of Frenemies hoodies that will never see the light of day (although some fans have a great idea as a workaround).
There has, however, been some light relief in this whole debacle. The unlikely savior, Trisha’s fiancé Moses, has stepped into the spotlight to take some of the heat away from his wife-to-be. Moses playfully ripping out the wifi cable as Trisha filmed to prevent their persistent uploads is the type of support we like to see. Stream Moses for clear skin.
in the blue corner: Tana “on gawd” Mongeau
50k for a verse, even the paparazzi team Bryce? Well, that’s the world according to Tana Mongeau. Let’s get ready to rumble with our favorite flyweight of scandal and $ecuring the bag. While all eyes were on Bryce vs. Broom this weekend, another showdown was happening courtesy of Miss Tana Mongeau and her trigger fingers turned to Twitter fingers.
If you’re not as well acquainted with the pioneer of YouTube’s storytime culture as we are, allow us to bring you up to speed: Tana boasts 5.4M subscribers; 880 million views; 5.7M followers on Instagram and 6.3M fans on TikTok. Not to mention, creating her own talent agency for influencers, an OnlyFans presence which she describes as her “retirement $” and a brief spell in the music industry with Ivor Novello worthy lyrics such as “I’m sorry I’m rich and you’re not”. In 2019 she beat MrBeast and Emma Chamberlain to earn Creator of the Year at the Streamys.
Source: Tana Mongeau/YouTube
Despite it all, Tana’s TKO has not come without its own lineage of scandal, but *Adam Sandler voice* this is exactly how she wins. Tana has managed to forge an enviably successful career created from the cycle of self-deprecation and the commodification of scandal. 2016 Tana planted the seeds of this fortune, with storytime videos such as “I WAS ARRESTED FOR DRUG POSSESSION FELONIES” and “I GOT ARRESTED AT COACHELLA”. The latter of which inspired a limited release of Tana’s mugshot on a t-shirt aptly named “Jailchella” which, inevitably, was a sell out. She also used the arrest to drum up interest for her 2017 summer tour, with the tagline “Meet me (a criminal) in your city,”.
2018 was no different, with the disastrous launch of “TanaCon”, a YouTuber convention meant to rival the likes of VidCon. Instead, the event ended in collapse (literally) after 20,000 fans showed up on the first day with little infrastructure or accountability – it’s no surprise TanaCon drew comparison to the infamous Fyre Fest. And yet, Tana secured herself the Oscar-worthy redemption narrative with a docu-series courtesy of Shane Dawson, where she was invited to spill her side of the story to an audience of 50 million viewers. For the record, this was back when Shane still held court as the King of YouTube.
Source: Shane Dawson/YouTube
It was the same story in 2019, with Season 1 of “MTV No Filter: Tana Mongeau”, a series that drew more than 32 million views on YouTube and featured episodes of neatly re-packaged scandal for MTV’s audience, who were keen to profit from the kind of attention Tana could command - good or bad. Tana’s merch in the same year reflected her continued awareness of this commercially problematic public persona, with products that featured slogans like “Scandalous”, “Cancelled”, “Fuck Up” and “Tana 2020”.
Source: Tana Mongeau/YouTube
Tana continued to hone her IDGAF persona, which was only exacerbated when she decided to partner up with YouTube villain and “problem child” Jake Paul, in the spring of 2019. Her widely publicized (and clickbaited) relationship with Jake culminated in a “marriage” which was available to fans via a $50 PPV live stream, drawing more than $3 million in revenue. Of course, not even this was without scandal after the ceremony started 4 hours late, lasted 10 minutes and resulted in refunds for the glitchy quality. It goes without saying that there was also “Jana” merch being flogged.
In 2020, Tana was once again offered the perfect redemption arc with an appearance on the massively popular Call Her Daddy podcast, 2 years after being a no-show as the podcast’s first major guest. This is a picture perfect example of Tana simultaneously playing the self-proclaimed villain, architect of her own demise and, subsequently, the hero of her curated storytelling. Did someone say...main character energy?
Now, Tana has only gone and bloody done it again, on god! After going viral in a paparazzi video where she declares “it’s not my beef yanno, but we team Bryce out here. Even the paparazzi team Bryce on god” *clench*. This meme-worthy moment sent TikTok into a frenzy and resulted in a trend of increasingly caricaturish imitations. Not one to miss out on the action for so much as a hot second, Tana capitalized on this trend by re-routing the mockery and spinning it into an extension of her personal brand. Plus, releasing merch that features the slogan, which Tana claims made six figures.
Midas touch doesn’t even begin to cover it, since everything Tana Mongeau touches turns to gold and then some, weathering the course of scandal in its path. TL;DR Tana is the car crash we can’t bear to pull our eyes away from as we hurtle down the freeway of the internet. Tana’s scandal-market fit is an exhausting, yet profitable routine that we’ll never get tired of, with each bump in the road presenting an opportunity for content, merch and, well, money. Let’s just say we’ll be scooping our ringside seats for the next Tana scandal which is due in *checks calendar* the very near future.
Our verdict? Sorry Trisha, Tana wins this round. 🥊
Okay, you made it. Now you can go back to mourning the loss of Frenemies, on god!