Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the assistant opinion editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected]
By now we have all probably heard of the Logan Paul situation. If you have not you probably live under a rock. However, for those that are unaware, the notorious YouTube star Paul posted a video — that has since been taken down by Paul — a week ago titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” and featured the dead body of someone who had committed suicide.
I’ll start off by saying that I was never interested in Paul’s work and thus I have never seen any of his videos — nor do I want to especially now — and I never saw the video that I think is more than fair enough to say was his demise. Although, I have many friends who are more familiar with him so I would hear things about him from time to time. I first became familiar with this disgusting video through news on social media and I was taken aback by the sincere stupidity and lack of human decency Paul showed.
I just do not understand how a human being can first off all go into a forest that has the reputation of being a suicide forest, decide to walk around and record, see a dead body, record the dead body in gross detail and then think it is perfectly fine to upload it. Anyone else in their right mind would have stopped recording and not used suicide as clickbait. I guess we do not all have common sense. It is truly horrific to think about and I am saddened by the fact that anyone would think this was okay.
This is not the only instance when Paul has showed his lack of human decency, immaturity and disrespect for others. Another series of Paul’s videos titled “Kicked Out of Japan (I’m sorry),” “We Fought in the Middle of Tokyo” and “Real Life Pokémon Go” (catching strangers) showed Paul and his friends walking around Japan and clearly disrespecting the culture.
They go on to disrespect the culture by running around a market dressed in kimonos and antiviral facemasks, trying to be funny by taking advantage of the language barrier, throwing Pokémon balls at random Japanese citizens and asking Japanese citizens if they want raw fish. What makes this video even worse is at the beginning Paul makes an obnoxious tone comment saying “I just gotta be careful to not like disrespect the culture. Japan is all about the respect” and then continues to mock that comment and do that exact opposite throughout his entire video.
Despite that previous video being posted during the same week as the dead body video, Paul’s viewers did not raise an eyebrow to the obvious disrespect taking place. In fact, Paul’s dead person video received over six million views and his subscriptions have only risen. To add to the cringeness aggravation, YouTube actually never removed the video themselves, Paul did after receiving so much — well deserved — backlash. YouTube’s “response” to the whole Paul situation is both laughable and irritating.
YouTube officially responded 10 days after the fact through Twitter on January 9 by saying “We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences.” They go on to add how they plan to handle the situation in order to prevent a video like this every going around again.
In no way did YouTube act accordingly and impose appropriate consequences. YouTube never took down the video — despite people flagging it — and they never restricted the age viewership. Their so called “consequences,” according to the BBC, included removing Paul from an upcoming YouTube Red movie, their preferred ad network, and paused all their projects he was involved in. An NPR article quoted it best when they said “YouTube limits relationship with Logan Paul…” This title could not be any more accurate. It helps point out YouTube’s
Despite the disturbing nature of the video, YouTube did not terminate their relationship with Paul. Instead they just gave him something more than a little slap on the wrist. Paul should have his YouTube account terminated. There is actually a petition circulating the Internet that insists that YouTube should delete and ban Paul from creating content. By limiting their relationship, YouTube isn’t holding Paul 100 percent accountable for his mistakes.
This was also all done 10 days after the video was initially posted. Why did YouTube wait 10 whole days before taking action? This is completely shocking and I truly cannot find the words to describe this absurdness for lack of a better word. How can a company sit back for 10 days and think they handled it appropriately? YouTube could have totally handled this situation better and I hope that if any similar situation arises they are able to handle is more effectively and efficiently.
Speaking of ridiculous responses Paul’s apologies come to mind. On January 1 Paul issued his first “apology” via his Twitter account @LoganPaul. Essentially, Paul claims how he is sorry and he did the video in aid of suicide prevention. He goes on to add how he was wrong, it will not happen again and ends it with the hashtag #Logang4Life. His tweet received over 133 thousand likes and 26 thousand retweets. Apparently for some people this fake apology was enough. For myself and many others including avid Youtube watcher and UNCW freshman Jessica Perry this response written on the iPhone notes app wasn’t enough and didn’t feel sincere.
“He doesn’t feel bad about any of the aspects he should feel bad about. His first apology was nothing but an ‘opps! Sorry! Won’t do it again, but I didn’t really think I did anything wrong so haha yeah bye,” Perry said. “He needs to apologize to that man’s family. He needs to apologize for using a real, horrible [and] tragic death in order to make a nice clickbait thumbnail. But, he won’t unless his PR people tell him to because he truly does not seem to understand the severity of his actions at all.”
Following his iPhone note apology Paul took to Twitter once again, but this time with a video. A 1:44 minute video mind you. He starts off by telling his viewers “I’ve made a severe and lapse in my judgement and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize.” Paul goes on to add how nothing in that video was planned, he should have put the camera away and that he should have done a lot of things differently. He then calls out his fans who are defending him by telling them to stop because he does not deserve it. He ends his short video by saying how ashamed and disappointed he is in himself and that he will be better.
Throughout this video Paul appears to hold a somber look with almost puffy red eyes. This video comes off as much more authentic than his previous apology. He looks and sounds more apologetic, but I would have preferred a longer video. A longer video would have felt a little more appropriate. Although, neither makes up for his inexcusable actions.
The only people who are not really bothered by his mistakes are of course his fans otherwise known as the “Logang.” Most of the “Logang” is made of up young children between the ages of 10 and 13. His fans flocked to social media to aid and defend Paul. This is all more unsettling because of the such young ages of Paul’s viewers. These are young and impressionable children who do not quite understand what is appropriate and inappropriate. By letting Paul continue to make content on YouTube, then what does that say about us a society? Paul is not an appropriate role model for these children and we are only doing our children a disservice by letting them continue to watch Paul’s content.
Overall, Paul made a disturbing mistake which will ultimately lead to his demise. YouTube needs to handle and respond better to situations like Paul’s in the future. Especially for the sake of viewers of Paul’s videos which are children between the ages of 10 and 13. My hopes are that Paul is removed from YouTube and that he learns from his lack of judgement and disregard to human decency. I hope we can all learn from Paul’s mistake and be better.