It’s been 11 days since YouTube star Logan Paul posted a controversial vlog, in which he and his friends explored Aokigahara, a forest on Mt. Fuji that's known as the “suicide forest” because of the high rate of suicides that occur there. In a since-deleted video, the body of a man who took his own life was seen hanging — and Logan’s offensive commentary has infuriated fans. They quickly demanded that his channel be removed entirely, but despite the public outcry, YouTube stayed quiet. Until now.
On Jan. 10, YouTube revealed that they were finally cutting ties with Logan, who is one of their most popular creators. “In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul’s channels from Google Preferred,” a YouTube spokesperson told Variety. “Additionally, we will not feature Logan in Season 4 of Foursome and his new originals are on hold.” At this point, Logan's channel still exists and they have no mentioned any plans to remove it.
One day earlier on Jan. 9, YouTube shared an open letter with the community, writing, "Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be. You deserve to know what's going on. Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week. Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views. As Anna Akana put it perfectly: 'That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.'"
An open letter to our community:
Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be. You deserve to know what's going on.
— YouTube (@YouTube) January 9, 2018
"We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too," the company continued. "The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences. It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again."
YouTube did take the video down quickly, but they didn't speak out about the content and didn't respond to fans cries to ban Logan until now. Even still, many content creators didn't think their reaction was enough. "You acted accordingly? Did you?" wrote YouTuber Jack Septic Eye. Crank Gameplays agreed, writing, "I don’t understand why they’re always so vague about everything. They never ever address issues head-on. They just make some dumb blanket statement that sounds the exact same for every issue they have. I’m starting to lose hope that anything will ever improve."
It's understandable why people want a more intense punishment than a strike against Logan's account. When Logan came across the dead man — which he blurred out — he called from afar, “Yo, are you alive? Are you f–king with us?” After walking closer to the man (who’s face remained blurred, but body became clear), Logan noted, "His hands are purple. He did this this morning.”
In the description box for the video, Logan insisted he was not trying to monetize the clip and included information for the American Society for Suicide Prevention. Still, he was met with major backlash. Though he apologized in a written statement and a follow-up video, criticism for the Internet personality only seemed to increase.
So sorry. pic.twitter.com/JkYXzYsrLX
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
He revealed on Wednesday, Jan. 3, that he is going on hiatus until further notice. “taking time to reflect,” he tweeted. “no vlog for now. see you soon.” But there are many who seemingly never want to see Logan after his YouTube scandal.
“To everyone saying ‘He meant to spread awareness.’ He wasn’t trying to spread awareness, he was trying to get views. No normal person films and makes fun of a dead human being. He doesn’t deserve a career and should be banned from YouTube. F–k Logan Paul,” one person wrote, while another fumed, “Logan Paul is a piece of s–t and deserves to have his channel banned. This is a direct violation of youtube terms of service and tons of people are reporting him for it. Make the right choice youtube.”
Added another, “The utter disrespect @loganpaul had for a epidemic that has brought so much pain to so many people does not count as spreading awareness. @LoganPaul has no business vlogging in the first place and should be banned from @YouTube or, @YouTube is at fault as well.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.