Logan Paul and His Path to Failure

YouTube came under fire recently for its reaction to the controversial content on a popular YouTubes personality page, Logan Paul.

Photo by Creative Commons

YouTube came under fire recently for its reaction to the controversial content on a popular YouTube’s personality page, Logan Paul.

Nowadays, most people have immediate and unlimited access to information, mainly due to the creation of the Internet. Thirteen year old YouTube, a video-sharing organization, depicts a true example of just how far such technologies can reach. In fact, 8 out of 10 18-49 year-olds watch Youtube in an average month, catering to approximately 1,300,000,000 of its users. Of course, the establishment of such a popular video site has led to the rise of prominent personalities, rightfully coined the term “YouTubers” and “vloggers,” video fanatics who record their daily activities for their millions of subscribers to see. It’s truly amazing to even comprehend how one person can garner the attention of millions of young children everyday.

A particular vlogger that has recently risen to international fame is Logan Paul, a 22 year old YouTuber based in Hollywood. As an extensive influence with over 16 million subscribers, Paul has found success in Vine, YouTube, and even the filming and music industries. With one of the fastest growing channels along with his brother, Jake, Paul has become a YouTube giant with his own merchandise line “Maverick”. Taking all this in, why would such a popular figure be submerged in the tremendous controversy he is in today?

While Paul has encountered disagreements in the past, none even came close to that of the video he posted on December 31, 2017. In the video, Paul visited Aokigahara on Mt. Fuji, infamously known as “Suicide Forest” for the unusually high number of suicides that take place in the area. While the video was taken down due to the immediate contention from its posting, it had already gained 6.2 million views in addition to the plethora of mirrored versions copied by dozens of YouTubers.

So what exactly did the video contain? Entering the forest with a bright green hat, Paul quickly discovers the deceased body of a man who has hanged himself. While clearly a grave situation, Paul decided to use the corpse as the centerpiece of his “entertaining” video, joking “Yo, are you alive?” Later, he walks up to the body and starts commenting on its condition, including its “purple fingers”. Paul even laughs “It was all gonna to be a joke” and questions “Why did it become so real?” While Paul and his team had initially decided to camp in the woods as part of his “Tokyo Adventures,” he ultimately decided not to and notified the authorities.

Within hours, social media exploded over the video, with thousands including prominent figures in the entertainment industry expressing their disgust at Paul’s actions. To many, especially the family members of the victims, it was a terrible offense to even record the whole affair, much less trivialize and make fun of the whole event for another one of his vlogs. All around the world, people from the entire spectrum of social backgrounds raised their opinions on this horrid act, with YouTube later posting, “YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posed in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner.” Shortly after the immense backlash, Logan posted a video named “So Sorry.” to apologize for his actions. In this 2-minute clip that stayed trending for days, Paul discussed a lot of “should’ves” and his goal to better himself from his mistakes. However, most people watching the video were more than dissatisfied, as evident by the 2 million dislikes and comments that flooded the video. After that, Paul disappeared from the Internet and left many to wonder if his career was finished.

Turns out, Paul had been traveling across the nation to learn more about the immense complexity of suicide. He returned to his YouTube account on January 24th, 2018, when he posted the 17-minute documentary “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow”. In the video, Paul interviews several people in his effort to learn, contacting the director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Kevin Hines, a suicide prevention advocate who had personally experienced the attempt. Logan additionally provides advice on how to approach to issue, and pledged to donate $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations at the conclusion.

While some hostile feelings still remained from his aforementioned video, most were hopeful that Paul had learned his wrongs and would change his ways as a better person. Unfortunately, this was not the case, when Paul returned just a week later with his daily vlogs and his usual antics. He expressed how difficult it had been to stay away from YouTube, and basically acted as if nothing had ever happened. To elaborate, a recent video titled “Asking College Students What They Think of Logan Paul” featured a disguised Paul running around the UCLA campus to interrogate students on their thoughts. Only escalating from there, YouTube recently suspended all advertising from Paul’s page, citing “recent pattern of behavior” including tazing a dead rat and also for referencing the Tide Pod challenge in a tweet.

Personally, I feel that Logan Paul is an abominable character that poses a dangerous threat to his young audience. Many of the so called “Logang” look up to Paul as a role model, which is both ironic and alarming considering the actions he has taken. While Paul made a step in the right direction with his documentary, his subsequent actions did nothing but display that he had learned nothing and would only continue his path to monetize from the entertainment industry. Paul lost his chance in redemption when he went straight back to his repulsive habits, and now is paying the price. He treated suicide, depression, and mental illnesses as a joke, and chose to make an apparently worthless attempt to better himself. With each new day, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.