It’s a still relatively a brand new year for all of us but for our fellow counterparts in Japan, they had a rather rude awakening on New Year’s Day, thanks to Logan Paul who uploaded a highly controversial video on his popular YouTube channel. Sure enough, an uproar of backlash ensued globally and it was the top trending news in Twitter for the first week of 2018.
In case you’ve still on the holidays high and have not been keeping up with the news, we have the breakdown for you.
1. To the most of us, who on earth is Logan Paul?
For the uninitiated, Logan Paul is a 22 year old American YouTuber with over 15 million subscribers who gained fame on the now defunct video sharing platform, Vine. Amongst the sea of content he churns out on a regular basis include his daily 15 minute blogs targeted at his majority under aged audience (below 18 years of age).
2. What about the controversial video(s) which caused an uproar?
Logan and his entourage were recently in Japan so a few days leading to the end of 2017, Logan Paul has uploaded some videos and his usual boundary-crossing prank videos around Tokyo (which were equally revolting as well,thanks to his ill mannerism and lack of respect for the Japanese culture).
3. Which was the last straw that broke the camel’s back?
On December 31st 2017, Logan Paul uploaded a video showing a dead body of a suicide victim in Japan’s infamous Aokigahara forest, also known as the Suicide Forest. For the record, Aokigahara got its reputation due to the large number of people who go there to commit or attempt suicide. Japan incidentally has the highest suicide rate in the world.
Paul and his team visited the landmark during his recent trip in Japan and soon after entering the forest, Paul encountered the corpse of a man who has apparently ended his own life, which was made the focus of the rest of the video. In the video itself, Paul was seen laughing and making insensitive remarks.
Sure enough, the video garnered massive criticism and backlash from Netizens worldwide was since taken down by Logan himself (surprisingly, not YouTube) on 1st of January 2018 but even till then, it has garnered 6 million views and was among the top 10 trending video on YouTube.
4. The aftermath? Sorry not sorry
Paul posted his first apology on Twitter late Monday night, U.S. time. “I’m sorry,” said the first. “I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before.” “I didn’t do it for views,” he added. “I get views.”
In his defense, he stated that his behavior following the discovery was his attempt to lighten the mood with his exaggerated reaction shots and nervous laughter, despite his telling the camera that “suicide, depression and mental illness is not a joke.”
Sure enough, netizens and celebrities alike denounced Paul’s apologies and described it as being “disgusting” among many other responses.
The second apology, came on Tuesday. A teary Paul faces the camera. “I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgement, and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize,” he says. “What we came across in the woods that day was obviously unplanned. The reactions you saw on tape were raw, they were unfiltered. None of us knew how to react or how to feel. I should’ve never posted the video.”
5. How bad is he getting it?
Paul is now shying away from media to have “some time to reflect” Some saw him looking “distraught”
On a grander scale, there’s an online petition going on which demand YouTube to get rid of Logan Paul’s YouTube channel for good. Maverick Apparel have also issued an official statement which demands Logan Paul to rename his own clothing apparel (which shares the same name as the former) as his bad publicity has caused the sales for the the other Maverick Apparel which by the way has no association with Logan Paul to plummet after the issue went out of proportion.
Did we mentioned that his commercial partnerships with HBO, Pepsi and Disney are at stake too?
6. Where are the gatekeepers in times of need?
As many have pointed out, it feels all too familiar and routine, which is somewhat emblematic of a bigger problem.
To quote Robinson Meyer, who writes for The Atlantic:
“There were no gatekeepers to stand in his way, and YouTube itself only acted after the video became news. In every step but the filming of the dead body, this is not the system breaking, but the system functioning as intended. And as with the recent discovery of widespread exploitation on “child-safe” parts of YouTube, it points to a dark tendency in today’s engagement-optimized web. As online platforms have pursued engagement to the detriment of everything else, they have come to favor content that dehumanizes us. Meanwhile, the same platforms dominate more and more of teen culture.
7. Lessons learned?
At the end of the day, it is us as a society, that allowed this to go as far as it did. It’s little to no surprise that Paul and many others before him (and surely more to come) did not know where to draw the line and turn the camera off.
As much as a certain cluster of people who will go to extensive length in the name of content creation, it is important for each and every one of us to be mindful with what we choose to share online as it is bound to be consumed by a wider set of audiences. As information gets more accessible than ever, we all play a pivotal role in shaping the view of our society and our the generations to come.
Disclaimer: The views in the article are that of the writer alone, and not meant to reflect the collective opinions of Sevenpie as a whole.