The Logan Paul Effect

The Logan Paul Effect

Hana Ahmad, Reporter

On December 31, YouTube sensation Logan Paul uploaded a video of himself and his friends entering the Aokigahara “Suicide Forest” and finding the body of a dead man. He makes a complete mockery of the grave topic of suicide by attempting to make jokes and barely blurring the man’s body, which has led to many calling his actions tone-deaf. Paul’s behavior is truly inexcusable and disgusting. All Paul seems to care about in the video is accumulating views- he starts his video with the fact that he is “making YouTube history,” as if proud to hold that title.

Paul’s apology came in two parts. The first was a pathetic tweet written on the Notes app on his iPhone and plastered onto Twitter. The second apology was marginally better, consisting of Paul staring intensely into his camera with “watery” eyes and a somber tone. Paul’s apologies only came after intense backlash, leading many to assume that his apology did not arise out of genuine sorrow, but out of regret for getting hateful comments.

On January 24, Paul returned to YouTube after a three week break with a video entitled “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.” In the video, Paul also pledges $1 million to a variety of suicide prevention organizations and meets with various people who advocate for suicide prevention. In contrast to his shaky, obnoxious vlog, his latest video is somber and looks as though great time has been taken to craft it. This is the first right thing Paul has done since the release of his vlog in the Aokigahara forest. While no one can definitively know whether Paul truly changed for the better or if this video is just a necessary step to help his public image, the video does succeed in bringing light to a highly stigmatized topic.

Paul is a part of a larger problem in the YouTube community. YouTube creators are pushed to create content that pulls in views day after day, and competition for views compels creators to push limits, disregarding human decency and morals. Nothing has any meaning when everything is content. The sanctity of a body means nothing.

Although this topic has been covered seemingly millions of times, it is important not to let this story be swept away in today’s impermanent news cycle. The YouTube culture of chugging out videos to garner views creates the problems exemplified by Paul’s story. YouTube has fortunately punished Paul for his actions, removing Paul off of the Google preferred program and the YouTube Red show Foursome. As for Paul himself, only time will tell whether or not he is the changed man he claims to be.