The People v. YouTube: Logan Paul and Accountability

Posted on Posted in DAZE SUMMIT BLOGS, Featured

YouTube has finally punished Logan Paul for his morally reprehensible choice of posting a video of a suicide victim. On January 10th, The major media company decided to put his YouTube Red projects, Foursome and The Thinning: New World Order, on hold. They have also decided to remove Paul as one of  their Google Preferred members, meaning that brand advertisers will no longer have the options to use him to showcase their products. Paul miss out on a lot of lucrative deals because of this ousting.

It is nice to see that YouTube has come to their senses and have decided to punish Paul but there is really only one question on my mind: What took you so long?

Over the New Years’ weekend, Logan Paul uploaded a video of him visiting Aokigahara Forest in Japan. Aokigahara Forest is also known as the Suicide Forest because of the high number of people who kill themselves there. This is such a big problem for Japan that the local officials have stopped publicizing the numbers to try to put an end to Aokigahara’s association with suicide. It is also thought to be haunted by the spirits of the victims. Logan Paul knew all of this and went to the forest anyway in the hopes of finding something that has never been seen before on YouTube.

Paul said this as an intro and disclaimer to his video, “This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel. I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever. Now with that said: buckle the fuck up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again!”

He said this with a faux somber-ness that was trying to hide some clear excitement. The disclaimer is unnecessary seeing as the thumbnail for the video included the infamous dead body; a thumbnail he chose himself. He then proceeded to show his journey into the forest when him and his friends come across a real dead body hanging from a tree. Paul then begins to make awkward dark humor comments that seem to be coming from his uneasy demeanor, while his cameraman goes back and forth between the body and him.

The video was apart of YouTube’s top trending videos for hours without any interference by YouTube. They have admins that are supposed to check the site for inappropriate material. The video reached 6 million views, however, due to massive backlash it was taken down by Logan Paul himself. Paul later issued a video apology to admit what he did was wrong.

On January 9th, YouTube released an open letter on its twitter account.

YouTube got a lot of backlash for taking so long to respond and not punishing him. It had been over a week since the video came out before that they responded. One thing that doesn’t make sense at all is the part where they say that they “acted accordingly.” As previously mentioned they never took the video down and actually allowed it to be feature on the homepage. 

To make matters worse, another YouTuber by the name of Ian Kung posted a video satirising the Logan Paul situation with a fake dead body and YouTube admins took that down immediately. This caused another backlash, forcing YouTube to allow Kung’s video to be re-uploaded. You can check it out below:

It’s always better late than never, so I’m glad that YouTube took punitive action against Paul but this situation has shown a clear predilection that YouTube has for its top money earners. Logan Paul is one of the most popular YouTubers with 20 million subscribers combined. They seemed completely unwilling to condemn Paul’s behavior, even going so far as to celebrate it by making it trend, until there was massive backlash. The fact that they took extreme action on a satirical video with a fake dead body reveals that their initial statement of “acting accordingly” was false.

YouTube must have a code of ethics. Rules that they actually stick to so they may police their website’s content more effectively. They can’t protect their cash cows until so many people are outraged that they need to do something. They can not pretend to care just to protect their bottom line. They must actually care. Or this will happen again.