UPDATE (January 12th): YouTube announced it is dropping Logan Paul from top advertising ranks, which guarantees content creators on the video-sharing platform reliable revenue from some of its premium advertisers. The online star's other projects with YouTube, including a sequel to the 2016 YouTube Red movie The Thinning, are suspended indefinitely. Original story below.
More than a week after YouTube star Logan Paul first posted, then removed, then apologised for, a controversial video depicting what appeared to be a man who had hanged himself in Japan's Aokigahara forest, YouTube is finally responding.
The video-sharing platform condemned Paul's actions and acknowledged its own lack of communication in a statement it tweeted from its main account Tuesday, noting that the YouTube star's digital fracas has not gone unnoticed.
"Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently," the statement begins. "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.— 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 channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences.— YouTube (@YouTube) January 9, 2018
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 (@YouTube) January 9, 2018
"Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week," the statement continues. "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 no walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.'"
"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," the open letter concludes. "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."
On December 31st, Paul caused an uproar online after he shared video footage involving what appeared to be dead body hanging from a tree, prompting social media users to denounce him as "an idiot" and "trash." A Change.org petition demanding that his YouTube channel be deleted has amassed more than 450,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
In the week following his original post, Paul apologised to his 15 million subscribers first in a series of tweets on Twitter and then in a YouTube video in which he tearfully claimed that he and his crew didn't know "how to react or how to feel" upon coming across the body.
"I've made a serious and continuous lapse in my judgment," Paul said. "I want to apologize to the Internet. I want to apologize to anyone who has seen the video. I want to apologize to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide." Paul also apologised to the victim and the victim’s family.
Paul and his brother Jake, who also has a popular YouTube channel and social media presence, are both valued at $11.5 million — each.