Youtuber Logan Paul horrifies world

Logan Badgett, Staff Writer

  By now, most teenagers and avid watchers of internet videos have heard of or witnessed the recent “antics,” a more civilized word for outstanding feats of cultural insensitivity, of famous Youtube star, Logan Paul.

    Paul’s actions, while horrible, brought to light the lack of control youtube has over a majority of its content, especially when the channel is one that garners millions of views, raking in money for Youtube and Google as parent companies. While the censorship of the internet and its content is not something that many push for, companies with such a large amount of child users need to be able to enforce and regulate the content it publishes. Taste and humility need to be accounted for when such controversial topics and actions come into play.

    In his recent video series “Adventures in Tokyo,” Paul took to the streets of Japan’s capital city to unleash his full armory of childish pranks and adolescent humor, as well as hearty portions of cultural appropriation and racist encounters with city locals.

    In one of the more blatantly offensive snippets, Paul filmed himself washing his hands with the holy water located at Sensoji Temple, one of Japan’s oldest and most important cultural landmarks, with Paul justifying his actions under the guise that the holy water is “for people who are real pieces of [garbage] in life.” Luckily, this video went on to prove that everybody is on the same page about what Logan Paul stands for.

    However, most of his so called “pranks” pale in comparison to one of his latest videos in Japan. Aokigahara forest, known as “The Sea of Trees,” has a darker, and unfortunately more common name; Aokigahara, the Suicide Forest. Popular belief has it that Aokigahara’s disturbing past began in the ‘60s after a novel by Seicho Matsumoto titled Kuroi Kaiju, meaning The Black Sea of Trees. In the story, two lovers commit suicide in Aokigahara, and many people believe it is what kickstarted the tragic legacy.

    Today, Aokigahara is one of the single most common places for suicides in Japan, with official reports confirming suicides in the hundreds every year.

    Today, many people visit the forest, whether for its beautiful scenery and vast networks of caves, or simply out of morbid curiosity of its grim reputation. Logan Paul, however, had very different intentions upon visiting Aokigahara.

    The stigma and reputation of Aokigahara is well known across Japan as well as western media, and Paul was aware of it before he ever ventured into the forest. In the video, Paul and his entourage come across the body of a man, hanging by the neck from a tree. He then continues to film the body, along with him shouting “bro are you alive?” and “ are you [messing] with us?”

    Paul then turns the camera back on himself, feigning surprise and making every effort to appear in dismay at the event. At first, Paul may appear genuine, and simply in shock at the currently unfolding events. However, soon after Paul and his group can be seen and heard laughing, with Paul at one point saying “what, you’ve never stood next to a dead guy?” and bursting into laughter.

    The actions of Paul and his friends have effects reaching much farther than a simple slap on the wrists would justify. One of Paul’s primary audiences is children and pre-teens, some of the most susceptible age groups to be influenced by the videos they see on television in movies, and online. Paul’s videos reinforce the idea that offensive “humor” and practical jokes that only serve to make others uncomfortable are acceptable, as well as take away from the seriousness of mental health problems and suicide, presenting them as trivial issues. This way of thought is especially toxic towards the young population, and could influence many of those battling similar to see their problems as something they will be made fun of for, and not be taken seriously.

   Fortunately, Paul’s childish jokes and behaviour about the horrifying event have not gone unpunished. Following the upload of the video, Paul received almost immediate backlash via social media, and from comments on his Youtube channel. Further, Youtube and Google have booted Paul from Google Preferred, a premium Youtube ad program allowing brands access to popular channels videos, as well as cancelling his involvement on many Youtube series and upcoming originals.

    Paul’s actions rightfully disgusted and shocked many viewers, and brought his name to a more international level of infamy. Despite this, the saying “no press is bad press” rings true for Paul, as his video garnered 6.3 million views in the 10 hours it was online.

    With luck, Youtube and Google will take further action against Paul, preventing his disrespectful and out of line comments and content from earning him even more money, as well as enforcing the already solidified fact that suicide is not a joke, not a gimmick and not a way to make money.