It has been months since Logan Paul “shook” the news with his insensitive Suicide Forest video, yet he is still allowed to post videos on YouTube. However, some people actually support this behavior in society. On the first day of January 2018, the video in question was posted by Logan Paul, a 23-year-old man who has millions of followers on his two YouTube pages and other social media, where he films a dead body inside of a well-known forest in Japan called Aokigahara, also known as the Japanese Suicide Forest. This area is known as a place for people who are committing suicide to go, creating the nickname Suicide Forest. Paul posted a video inside of the woods, while inside he was making jokes and captured a dead body hanging from the branches of the forest’s trees. Paul’s actions sparked controversy, hugely due to the fact his targeted audiences range from children/tweens to teens. The reason that he may still be allowed to make videos on YouTube is because he has millions of loyal fans who support him, creating a celebrity status for him with the company.
Photo: Szabo Viktor on Unsplash
Some people believe Paul should receive punishment due to his insensitivity in the situation. Then, there are the people that think that Logan Paul should not be prosecuted or face any repercussions due to his creative rights and star power. Others find it culturally, ethically, and ethnically insensitive. YouTube took a day to release any statements, and when they did some thought it wasn’t enough. He then took a break from YouTube that lasted almost a month.
The Suicide Forest video is not his only controversial video. In another vlog, Paul tasers a dead rat displaying an act of animal abuse. YouTube only took action on Paul after repeat offenses. Enough is enough. A spokesperson for YouTube released an official statement to the online publication The Verge stating, “After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily suspend ads on Logan Paul’s YouTube channels. This is not a decision we made lightly, however, we believe he has exhibited a pattern of behavior in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community.” With ads being taken off of his videos, Paul will no longer receive an income from YouTube. However, while this is impeding on his career and monetary needs, it is also a punishment that leaves his videos intact on the website, still allowing viewers to watch his content. Although his lack of revenue received is estimated to be at least one million dollars per each month ads are removed, as James Vincent states in his article, it must be remembered that YouTube is not Paul’s only source of income, so money will still be flowing into his bank account. Paul makes money from sponsored videos and social media posts, and from his extensive merchandise line called Maverick. Maverick contains a variety of items like phone cases and clothes that come in both adult and youth sizes, drawing attention to the fact that Paul is aware that his fanbase involves kids.
Was YouTube’s action a little too late? Logan Paul’s video was originally posted at the beginning of January, and this punishment came February. If Paul had not committed more negative actions, receiving more “hate” from upset or angered content viewers, he would not be in this predicament today. The action that led to YouTube feeling the need to take a more “serious” tone when considering Paul’s content involved animal abuse, with his aforementioned video containing footage of Paul tasering a deceased rat. There reportedly have been few changes made to YouTube’s policies and their Terms and Condition sections. One of the most significant changes they made after Paul’s video does not affect his channel at all. YouTube decided to strip small channels/content creators of their ads. YouTube now requires that a channel receive a certain number of subscribers before a vlogger can incorporate ads into their content. Paul, once his punishment is over, will be qualified to receive ads again.
After posting the controversial video, Paul took a break from all of his social media accounts as well when he took time off from YouTube. His comeback became something fans looked forward to and his “haters” criticized.
These so-called “haters” have started a petition to get his channel removed. The list boasts an extensive collection of signatures with over 500,000 names written. With a backing that large, YouTube may take notice and give a harsher punishment or remove his main vlogging channel.
Although, with his return, Paul has seemingly taken a different approach to the matter. Logan Paul is now trying to spread the message on suicide prevention. Even with his new positive outlook and trying to be remorseful, Paul is still joking about his supposedly serious content through comments made on his social media accounts and sarcastic comments made in more current videos. His first Instagram post after the event was of himself where he was made to look unkempt as he joked asking fans, “wut year is it?”
Inside of his YouTube return video alone, Paul tries to make light of his situation. He says in this video, “Today, the era of boring YouTube content is over.” Paul makes himself the center of attention instead of showing full remorse for the victim of his Suicide Forest video.
Do you think Logan Paul should be allowed on YouTube? Do you think he should be protected due to a right to creative freedom? Let us know in the comments!
Samantha is a soon to be recent graduate from Fordham University. She is a communications major and creative writing minor. When she isn’t in school or working, she can be found watching Netflix, YouTube, or coming up with ideas for new TV shows.