On December 31st, 2017, twenty-two year old internet megastar Logan Paul uploaded a vlog of him in Japan. In this video, Logan Paul visits Japan's "Suicide Forest" in which he encounters and films a dead body. Seriously. In the beginning of this video, which has now been removed, he states "This marks a moment in YouTube history..." and I don't think he was wrong.
For those of you who don't know Logan Paul, he is a YouTuber and actor with 15 million subscribers and counting. His popular videos include titles such as "WE MADE JAM OUT OF OREOS", "STOLE MY BROTHERS GIRLFRIEND" and "FAKING MY OWN DEATH PRANK! *crazy reaction*". His obviously loyal fan base didn't even think twice about his Japan vlogs, but the rest of the world did.
Major media outlets such as Billboard, Washington Post, New York Times and Teen Vogue are creating a heavy conversation criticizing his video. Celebrities and fellow internet stars have spoken out about Paul's disgusting video, creating an internet storm of angry people looking for Paul's consequences. But... where are they?
This is not YouTube's first run-in with the media. Around this time last year, YouTube's biggest earner "Pewdiepie" received a big slap in the face from Wall Street Journal after accusing him of being a Nazi. YouTube quickly responded, backing the media and abandoning their own creator (their biggest creator to date with over 59 million subscribers) by stripping away his YouTube Red show "Scare Pewdiepie" and more. Many people stood with Pewdiepie during his controversy, saying the Wall Street Journal took his jokes out of context for the next big story, which obviously worked, whether Pewdiepie deserved the consequences or not.
As of right now, YouTube has done nothing to Logan Paul as a repercussion of his viral and disgusting video. He too has YouTube Red projects supposed to be released in the future. What separates this video over Pewdiepies where he gets to keep his projects?
A popular comment found on most videos and articles posted about this Logan Paul mess is "YouTube needs to delete/suspend his channel! It's the only way he will learn."
This is where things can get tricky...
Other YouTubers in the past have had many people declare that their channels needed to be revoked because of their own self-destruction. This ranges from parents aggressively pranking their children to Logan Paul's brother himself, Jake Paul. Jake Paul was in the news not too long ago for his neighborhood disruptions. Young fans (and their parents... what?) spent their days outside his house waiting for a chance to get a glimpse of him.
Eventually, things got out of control but settled not too long after. Of course, the Paul brothers have never had a dull moment. I describe their content as soap opera for tweens. Different creators create drama between each other, making individual videos and connecting to one storyline. It's similar to watching a reality show from ten different perspectives. Does YouTube get more money per video made and viewed, so why do they care? No harm was done, until now. So, what do you do?
YouTube (for the time being) is a free platform. I can create a video tomorrow doing almost whatever I want. YouTube making a step as big as taking away someone's channel is a fine line between a free creator platform and censorship. If they start cherry picking who and who can't be on their platform, you're asking for a world of issues.
Do I disagree with the statements of people wanting Logan Paul's videos taken away? No.
Clearly, Logan Paul is unstoppable. Unless he does some major self-reflection after this video controversy and decides to be a new man, there is nothing stopping him from posting whatever he wants. YouTube stepping in and taking action would be a big wake up call for him, perhaps making more of an impact on future video decisions if the media against him wasn't enough.
An action as far as taking away a channel would be effective, but the repercussions would be too high for YouTube as a company. Not only are you losing heavy ad income, but you're also giving yourself too much power. What stops YouTube from shutting down channels left and right? While I do agree action needs to be done, taking away someone's channel over one video is most likely not the answer. What is that action? That is not for me to decide.
I am personally not a viewer of Logan Paul's videos, but I do know he is not someone with a squeaky-clean image. Chaos is his reputation, his brand even. Even with a younger audience fan base, he is not afraid to push boundaries whether for views or for his own insane desires. While I don't doubt he must have an adoration of his fan base for their devotion, I am shocked by the videos he posts knowing how strongly they look up to him.
I hope he reflects on the repercussions of what he posts and gains some much needed maturity. If producing this many videos consistently prevents you to reflect on what you are actually putting out for the world to see, then it's time to rethink your posting schedule.
Most importantly, don't let your fans grow up without you, Logan.