Logan Paul disappoints his fans

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Gianna Scibetta & Madison Parola, Editor-in-Chief & Editor

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Vlogger Logan Paul has a prestigious name in the YouTube world with his channel carrying such statistics as 15 million subscribers and over 3 billion views. With a social media platform that large, viewers look to Paul not only for entertainment but for inspiration, too, which means he carries influence with many young adults.

Unlike his younger brother Jake Paul who created a wave of backlash over his videos that showed the destruction of neighbors’ property or bullying incidents, Logan Paul’s presence online has not been an issue.

That is until recently.

His trip to Japan at the end of 2017 has had a negative impact on his career, and justifiably so.

Paul posted a video on his YouTube channel on Dec. 31 with the title “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest . . .,”. The video is based in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, which is more commonly known as the “Suicide Forest.”

In the video, Paul and his friends encounter a dead body in the forest, and instead of the YouTuber and his friends turning off their cameras and leaving the forest, he continues filming. The video also contains him laughing about how it was a first encounter of this type for him, and he and his friends also discuss the need for alcohol to handle the traumatic experience.

After posting the video, the YouTuber received criticism for his actions immediately. Many viewers expressed their anger over Paul’s lack of disrespect and sympathy.

Although Paul quickly typed an apology, it comes across as being self-centered.

“This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before,” it stated. “I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong.”

He also tries to say he didn’t do it for the views because he already gets views; he did it to raise awareness about suicide prevention.  But that message gets lost with his need to subtly remind his viewers that he is a popular YouTuber.

And not once in the video did he ever mention where and how to get help if someone is dealing with the issue.

The apology, then, sounds like he’s just trying to protect himself instead of expressing concern over the fact that a man has taken his own life and that his viewers are upset with how he handled the situation.

In the letter he continues to make himself look even more self-absorbed when he refers to his other job on the “YouTube Red” show where he has “filmed a 15 minute TV show every single day for the past 460+ days.”

He’s completely off topic there.

Paul’s apology does not show regret for disregarding the privacy of a helpless man, unknown to him, and that man’s family.

Commonsense would have been to put the cameras away when he encountered the body. If that action hadn’t been taken, then the next commonsense move would have been to not upload the video. There was time for Paul to consider his actions and to make more compassionate choices– the same is true for his apology.

It wasn’t enough given the issue and how upset those seeking answers for his actions were. It continued to leave social media in an uproar.

He then released a two minute YouTube video titled “So Sorry.” It still is not enough. It comes across as a robotic and scripted apology– as if Paul now has been told what to say and when.

At least, though, he finally apologizes directly to the family and to the victim.

Maybe the social media world could have forgiven him after this apology, but his credibility has been lost because this video wasn’t the only disrespectful action he made during his trip to Japan.

The vlogs of his trip show again and again his complete disrespect for the Japanese and their culture.

In his first vlog of the trip, he makes it clear that he is sick with a sinus infection and that he knows the etiquette in the country is to wear a face mask as a result. Even though he had the mask, he ended up not using it for its purpose. He even records himself hacking in a public space, never making an effort to put the mask on during the coughing fit.  This is just one of several small actions he did in his vlogs that is viewed as rude.

He also continued to be disrespectful with how he wore the yukata, a Japanese garment, and can be seen running around busy streets screaming.   In his montage titled “We the Unicorns,” he is shown in public saying, “Tokyo is like a real-life cartoon.”

One of his videos focuses on him running around in a Pokémon costume while throwing a large stuffed Pokeball at Japanese civilians. He even threw the ball at a cop.

While he was trying to come across as comedic in his videos, he instead just seems ignorant and irresponsible time and time again.

The video taken in the suicide forest wasn’t an isolated incident on Paul’s part.  It was just the final act that finally got people to say enough is enough.

But it shouldn’t have been the viewers who held Paul accountable; it should have been YouTube.

Instead, YouTube allowed the suicide video to make its trending page.

Fortunately, viewers have held YouTube accountable, too, by criticizing the company for allowing such sensitive content on its site.

YouTube remained silent on the situation until the words of other popular YouTubers and viewers forced the company to make a statement in which the company said it was handling the situation and agreed that Paul’s videos were disrespectful.

YouTube continues to need to think about what’s appropriate to be shown on its site and what’s not, especially as society continues to change.  Paul’s actions were unacceptable, and he was held accountable, but not soon enough by YouTube.  Consequently, YouTube is now being questioned by its users, and it shouldn’t stop there.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are precious things in today’s world, and we cannot allow YouTube users to take those freedoms lightly by handling sensitive material unconscionably.

 

Helpful 24 hour phone services

If you or someone you know is struggling with the topics addressed in this article, there are services that can help.

 

Suicide Hotline:

1-800-Suicide

1-800-799-4889

Teen Suicide Hotline: 1-800-USA-KIDS

Texting: Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200

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Logan Paul disappoints his fans