Editorial: the reckless actions of Logan Paul


Youtube Screenshot by Clare Dentner

YOUTUBE- Vlogger Logan Paul is captured during his second formal apology that he uploaded to his Youtube Channel.

Social media outlets and Youtube have given a platform to questionable role models for today’s youth. The Paul brothers, Logan and Jake, have not been shy from the spotlight that Vine and Youtube have given them. Few adults recognize their names, yet they have grown to each have millions of fans and followers. This popularity is largely due to their large tween fanbase. Jake Paul, the younger brother, has made headlines for being disruptive in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But even with this drama, his fanbase had continued to grow and support him. But recently the controversies have hit Logan Paul, and the backlash for his actions has been swift and necessary.

On December 31st, Logan Paul uploaded a video on his Youtube channel, which has over 15.5 million subscribers, in which he showed the graphic images of a man who had committed suicide in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. The up close image of the victim was used in the thumbnail of the video, most likely as a means of clickbait to increase viewership. The video did contain a warning for the images that Paul portrayed, but that warning was mute since the graphic images warned about are used in the thumbnail that anyone can see.


In the video in question, Paul and his “posse” travel into Japan’s Aokigahara forest. This forest is infamous for being a location that people attempt suicide. The video itself began with Paul discussing the monumental impact this video will have on the Youtube community, calling it  “a moment in Youtube history.” The footage from the forest is played, showing a group of twenty-something “creators” wandering into the forest and finding the body. Rather than putting the cameras down and doing what may be morally right, the group led by Paul made expletive remarks and jokes in front of the dangling body.

The video has since been deleted by Logan Paul, but why did it go up in the first place? The video is highly graphic and inappropriate in nature. And even though Paul was attempting to use this video as a platform to speak about mental illness, he gravely overstepped. They used the video as an opportunity to get a laugh and get increased viewership, rather than an have an intellectual purpose. With his platform, reaching 15.5 million on Youtube and 16.2 million on Instagram, Paul has an opportunity to take serious issues and bring them to light. But instead, he used the suicide situation as clickbait to get a larger viewership while making jokes.

Outrage was swift after the publishing of the video. The graphic images and reaction by Paul and his posse led to harsh criticism and the eventual removal of the video by Paul. But this was only after the video had been viewed 6 million times and “liked” over 500,000 times. The next day, due to all of the outrage surrounding the video, Paul released his first apology.

This apology was posted via twitter, where he wrote: “I’m often reminded of how big a reach I have & with great power comes great responsibility.”  He ended this first apology by writing “I love everyone. I believe in people. I’m out here. Peace #Logang4life.” This apology was criticized for being defensive in nature and for not taking the issue seriously enough. As the story gained more traction in major news media, there was a call for more responsibility to be taken by Paul. On Tuesday, he released his second apology on his Youtube page. In this video, Paul stated that he should have realized he needed to “put the cameras down.”

I want to apologize to the internet

— Logan Paul

“I want to apologize to the internet,” said Paul in the video,“I want to apologize to anyone who has seen the video. I want to apologize to anyone who has been effected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide.”

In response to the video and to Paul’s apologies, Youtube stepped in to take action. The statement said that Youtube “decided to remove Logan Paul’s channel from Google preferred.” This is an attempt by Youtube to punish Paul financially. Up until this point his videos were put on the Google Preferred platform which gave him more advertisement opportunities from the sites’ top advertisers. He was on this platform due to his popularity and influence as a creator. Youtube also announced that Paul would lose his part in several Youtube-produced movies and series.

Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video

— Youtube

“Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated,” said Youtube in a separate statement regarding the video.

Since this controversy has become major news, Paul has stated that he will be taking a break from Youtube and social media. But what difference will it make? Paul is a multi-millionaire whose audience follows him blindly. Even without daily content to support him, his young fans can still buy his merchandise and view his videos that are monetized. His small loss of revenue will not change the dangers he put his impressionable and vulnerable audience in when he made the decision to sensationalize suicide.

The current vlogging culture has lead to an extraordinary revolution of “social media influencers” over millions of teens and tweens. This power, if unchecked, will continue to have negative results on the next generation. This is all because those in power are making dangerously questionable decisions for the sole purpose of getting views.