Famous YouTube sensation Logan Paul has created the first major social media controversy of 2018. Paul, a YouTube creator with over 15 million subscribers, caused a worldwide uproar by uploading a gory video featuring a dead body.
The now-deleted video was filmed in the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, commonly known as the Suicide Forest. This forest lives up to its name as a popular location for many to commit suicide. While vlogging in the forest, Paul and his friends stumbled across a dead body hanging from a tree. Logan proceeded to film the encounter and get very close to the body, only blurring out the face. Paul is also being criticized for making jokes while standing next to the victim.
Paul is an internet influencer. He has millions of followers and many of his subscribers are young, impressionable kids. His video was uploaded and viewed by over 6 million people before Paul took it down, amidst the backlash on social media.
Paul has such a large audience and he claims to be a role model for his fans. He decided to post the video under the pretense that he was raising awareness about suicide. Many viewed the video as extremely disrespectful to the victim, his family, and anyone suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression.
Many YouTubers and celebrities have made comments or videos condemning Paul’s actions including Aaron Paul, Crissy Teigen, IISuperwomanII, JackSepticEye, Pewdiepie, and many more. Some say he made a mistake and deserves another chance while others have called for his channel to be removed. Many of Paul’s young fans have made videos and comments supporting him and defending his actions, but some have also had severe emotional reactions to seeing the graphic content.
The public has also leveled their outrage at YouTube for not removing the video after it was flagged even though it clearly broke the guidelines for gory and graphic material. It wasn’t age restricted or removed and the video, that clearly showed a dead body in the thumbnail, was allowed to be top 10 on the trending page.
After the controversy, Youtube has decided Paul will be booted off “Foursome,” a web series in which he appeared previously that airs on YouTube Red, the site’s premium subscription service. The company also said a YouTube original movie he was slated to appear in, “The Thinning: New World Order,” has been put “on hold.”
Paul is a daily vlogger who documents his life online. He frequently tries to push the boundaries to entertain his many fans, which he has nicknamed the “Logang.” He has issued two apologies since the video: one written apology on Twitter, which was criticized for being too self-serving and appeared that Paul was not accepting the gravity of the situation, and one in video form which was more widely accepted by the public as a sincere apology for his mistake.
Paul starts the video by saying, “I have a made a severe and continuous lapse in judgment. I don’t expect to be forgiven, I am simply here to apologize.”
Only time will tell what damage has been done to Paul’s reputation and career. Paul has a lot of dedicated fans, but did he push the boundaries too far this time? Will he be able to bounce back and should he be allowed to?