Logan Paul: What Was He Thinking?

Hasan Ahmed - 2N Nanotechnology
Posted on: January 29, 2018

Trigger Warning: The following article details topics about suicide and mental health.

So this whole thing happened in January of this year. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but for those who haven’t, the incident surrounds popular YouTube star and old Viner, Logan Paul, who was in hot water after releasing a video of him and his crew during travel to Japan’s “suicide forest,” a site where people frequently commit suicide. In their video, a recently deceased, hanging body was shown (with the face blurred). Paul received an immense amount of backlash across social media, aggressively asking him to take the video down, and telling him he did not realize that the disrespectful actions he committed offended people across the globe. A little while later, Paul removed the video from YouTube, claiming he made a mistake and wasn’t trying to do it for the views, but he was instead raising awareness for suicide (encompassed in a tweet he wrote on January 1, 2018). Note that Paul took the video down; YouTube was not forced to removed it via their community guidelines under ‘violent or graphic content’. So why was the media giant so late to respond? I’ll discussed it later in this article, but I personally think it has to do with the fact that YouTube doesn’t care about the viewers due to the large fanbase of Logan Paul and presumably the money he brings in.

This video wasn’t the only reason that the YouTube star’s Japan trip was ill-received. In his vlogs, he is seen disrupting the public in an attempt to seem funny. One such incident included buying a Gameboy Color, breaking it by tossing it on the ground, then returning to the shop claiming it was, “mucho brokeno”. Was this a “mistake” too? How ignorant do you have to be? It’s not a mistake, or how you “didn’t know better.” He’s a straight-up insensitive prick. Jomny Sun (@jonnysun) tweeted about this trip: “[A]sian people deal with some level of this kind of garbage every day. [I]t’s incredibly infuriating and upsetting how this brings back so many tangible memories of how I’ve been treated, how my parents and grandparents have been treated, how my friends and family have been treated.” But Logan Paul was definitely trying to “be careful to not disrespect the culture.” An edited video is available at goo.gl/XEzeSy in case you’re interested in seeing the disarray he caused himself.

YouTube then responded with their own tweets. The full thread is extensive, but I’ll give a summary. They acknowledged the community’s frustration with their lack of rapid response time, and want to make sure that videos like this never circulate again. Logan Paul has since lost his ties with Google Preferred, a service packaging all of the top YouTube channels for personal viewing, and was also cut from the original series Foursome, a YouTube Red exclusive produced by AwesomenessTV. However, YouTube still has issues with demonetizing LGBTQ+ content, which frustrates many content creators. Now their partner program has changed from having 10 000 total views to requiring 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours within the last 12 months (while this change was probably foreseeable I’m still a little bit salty that I lost my partnership). Not only that, but Paul’s channel is still up: no demonetization, no nothing. We also have to remember how young Paul’s fanbase is; they tend to be younger teens, and since he’s in a position where he has a lot of influence, it sickens me that he is teaching them this is okay; that it is okay to disrespect culture, disrespect the body of a dead person, disrespect that person’s family, as long as you have millions of views.

Shortly after, Paul released an apology video (luckily I don’t think it was monetized, but I have uBlock origin just in case). It pretty much summarized what he posted on Twitter, but seemed more genuine. That  said, it’s not much of an excuse to justify going through the process of filming, editing, blurring, thumbnailing, and uploading a video clearly against the YouTube community guidelines.

Logan released a video on Jan 24, 2018, titled “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.” I watched this one. He talked to Bob Forrest, Founder of Alo House Recover Centre, who half roasted him about not knowing how big of an issue suicide was. To be honest, the video wasn’t terrible, highlighting key people and information regarding suicide. Paul also spoke with Dr. John Draper, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He went over five steps to help prevent suicide: asking, listening, being there, helping them connect, and checking in. Honestly, they were decent points and I’d follow the information. Finally, the video closed with Paul speaking to Kevin Hines, a survivor who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Hines provided a very honest response about how we can prevent suicide. So I know my feelings towards Paul aren’t exactly…sweet; however, he did say near the end of the video that he’s pledging $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations, with the first $250 000 going immediately to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He wants to immerse himself in the conversation and be part of the solution.

Paul’s 22 years old; he’s got a lot to learn and this was no “mistake”. There are consequences actions for your actions. And yes, he’ll still be making millions; yes people will brush this off after a few years (I use this expression lightly; I hated him before and I hate him even more now); and yes, he is still pretty young. And given that his viewer-base may be grow in terms of suicide and mental health awareness, we also have to remember all the people he negatively affected. We can only look towards the future now.

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