Logan Paul Scandal Reveals Carelessness of the YouTube Age

By Lawrence Lease on January 8, 2018

As 2017 was winding down, YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video that would rock the YouTube world as well as cause people to question what is appropriate to post online. Logan Paul took a trip to Aokigahara, which is more commonly known as Japan’s “suicide forest.” The Vlog followed along as Paul trekked through the forest, where they ended up encountering the body of a man, who like many others, had taken his own life in the popular tourist destination.

Paul’s comments about the seriousness of suicide, the camera zooms in on various parts of the body, while Logan Paul occasionally cracks jokes or laughs. “I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history,” Paul said in the original video — a statement that proved true, though likely not in the way he had imagined.

via Pixabay.com

Minutes after the video surfaced online, Logan Paul received backlash from media outlets, celebrities and other fellow YouTube celebrities, all criticizing his decision to publish the video. Upon his own choosing, Paul took down the video and later released an apology in response to the backlash.

“The goal with my content is always to entertain, to push the boundaries, to be all-inclusive,” Paul says in the video, where he claims he “didn’t do it for views,” but rather wanted to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.

If you don’t know, Logan Paul is a celebrity YouTuber who has more than 15 million subscribers. He originally claimed his fame off the defunct platform Vine. His original videos were just fairly calm goofs: physical comedy: falling off treadmills. Ever since he has turned his popularity into brand promotions, clothing line, music and acting gigs. He’s earned cameos on shows like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and films such as “The Thinning” and “The Space Between Us.”

Several publications including Adweek have profiled Logan Paul, where he has said ”I want to be the biggest entertainer in the world,” he told Adweek in 2016. “…I want to be a pioneer. I want to be one of the first digital stars to make the transition to traditional media.”

What’s surprising in this situation is that he has been the least controversial within his family. His brother, Jake Paul, has been the one to receive negative attention, including a news report that focused on reports that Jake terrorizing neighbors with furniture bonfires and swarms of fans looking for a glimpse of the social media star.

I believe most people criticized Logan Paul’s video not only because of the subject matter but because young people are often influenced by celebrities, especially those on YouTube. YouTube stars serve as their own PR rep and what sets them apart is their believed authenticity and their off-the-cuff reactions. When your popularity is built on pushing the envelope and an around-the-clock production cycle and with almost zero oversight, it’s easy for good judgment to fall by the wayside.

This latest controversy on YouTube has stirred up questions about YouTube’s role in addressing the abusive and inappropriate content that often proliferates on its platform, and particularly how it responds when its most famous stars violate its stated standards. Despite numerous calls on Twitter for YouTube to ban Paul for posting the inflammatory content, this outcome seems unlikely.

Born and raised in Wasilla, Alaska. I am citizen journalist and looking to find a official paying journalism job somewhere in the country. I enjoy watching TV, reading books and traveling.

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