Friday, April 6, 2018

YouTube: Logan Paul Under Fire After Controversial Videos (2017-2018)


Logan Paul age 23
In the recent months, ex-Vine and current YouTube star Logan Paul has made very sensitive videos that have resulted in social and financial backlash from the public and YouTube. Logan posted a video of him and his friends on December 31st, 2017 in the Aokigahara Forest, better known as the “Suicide Forest” in Japan. In the video, they are walking through the forest and saw a dead body hanging from a tree and decided to film his face and his body. He later posted this vlog to his YouTube channel @LoganPaulVlogs and exploited this dead man’s body without him or his family’s consent. Logan received a lot of public repercussions from all social media platforms and multiple national news coverages. This put pressure on YouTube to take action and not allow their website to condone such actions, so they took down the video and released multiple tweets distancing themselves from Paul and saying how they will keep a close eye on him. Logan posted an apology video on January 2nd, 2018 titled “So Sorry.”, where he recognized and apologized for his actions. He later posted a video “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow”, on January 24th, 2018 where he realized he owed the world a favor to show he learned from his mistakes and now is taking action to learn the truths behind suicide and educate himself and viewers on suicide prevention.  Shortly after Logan took a month off social media and posting his daily vlogs. 
Logan Paul (right) reacting to suicide victim (left)
 Logan returned to vlogging on February 5th of 2018 with a video called “LOGAN PAUL IS BACK”, where he showed how he has bounced back from his mistake and was ready to start being public again and return to his funny daily vlogs. On February 7th Logan posted a vlog titled “THE PAUL’S RESPOND TO THE CSI FIGHT ***called out***”, of him and his friends shooting dead rats with a stun gun (taser). Not only was this video in bad taste but it was only a little more than a month after Logan got booed off the internet for an insensitive video. This then triggered backlash from PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the entire public. He lost many followers and subscribers on his many social media platforms, this even caused a petition to remove Logan’s YouTube account which has accumulated over 678,000 signatures. YouTube decided that Logan had not learned any lesson at all and decided to cut his ad revenue from his videos. Logan was making up to 7.9 million dollars per month just off his ad revenue ( Logan was also apart of Google’s Preferred Ad Partner program, where Google takes the top 5% of 18-34-year-old YouTubers and lines them up with the best ads to maximize their profit. Since his actions, Google has temporarily suspended his account until further notice.


            In this controversy, there are a few stakeholders, Logan Paul, YouTube, Maverick (Logan’s clothing line) and his brother, Jake Paul. Logan has based his life on his social media career and since his first controversial video he was losing an average of 70,000 subscribers per day, he currently holds at 17 million subscribers. Logan also lost up to 7.9  million dollars a month from loss of ad revenue, that being his primary source of income. Logan also has a clothing line which is based off his pet parrot Maverick called Maverick Clothing. A child’s clothing brand named Maverick Apparel LLC is suing Logan’s Maverick company for having their company take a hit to profits after the confusion of whether Logan is associated with the brand or not. Logan’s company has taken a severe loss in sales. Brother of Logan, Jake Paul is also a very famous YouTube vlogger and ex-vine star. He posted a video called “YouTube, let’s talk about brother Logan.”, where he explained how he agrees Logan made a very serious mistake but also supported him in knowing he would learn from this mistake and saying how he didn’t really mean to hurt anyone. Jake had to react quickly to make sure to distance himself from the problem, so he was not associated with the last name but also try and help people understand Logan didn’t mean it. Another stakeholder in this situation is YouTube, they were under fire from the public for allowing such things to be posted and be asked to do something about Logan’s actions. YouTube immediately removed Logan’s Suicide Forest video and released statements saying how they did not condone his actions and would not allow this to continue. When Logan’s second video was released YouTube realized they needed to take action and threatened to remove his account and then they cut his ad revenue stream to show to Logan and the public that they will not take these actions lightly.
Logan (right) pictured with friends (left) seen pointing stun gun at dead rats on the ground (not pictured)


An Individualist would think that Logan Paul did not act morally right because although Logan acted within constraints of law and human rights these situations resulted in a loss of revenue from his Maverick brand and his primary source of income; ad revenue was hit with a severe loss. Individualism requires that companies must always have the main goal of maximizing profit and Logan failed to do so by posting two very insensitive videos. The two losses came from corporate repercussion and social repercussions. Corporate repercussions were caused by YouTube by cutting his ad revenue. Social repercussions were caused by a loss of subscribers to his account and his Maverick clothing line suffering a lawsuit and loss in sales. YouTube, on the other hand, acted within constraints of the law, supported human rights by taking down the video. They also maximized profits by keeping their public image in the positive, maintaining business with all of the companies they currently deal with.


A Utilitarian would think that Logan Paul was in the wrong because he acted immorally. A utilitarian believes that one should maximize happiness in themselves and all others by acting morally at all times. In the first video, Logan acted immorally towards the suicide victim’s family and the public by posting the video. This man had no intentions of being filmed for the eyes of the world to see and his family definitely did not want his death to be shown to the public. After the response from the world, neither Logan or the public was happy with his immoral doings. The second video made the public very unhappy, especially PETA. With Logan knowing the eyes are on him since his return to make sure he doesn’t slip up, Logan managed to make himself and the public unhappy yet again, only his second video since his return to vlogging. YouTube’s goal is to maximize happiness in their users and viewers at all times. When reacting to this case, they were able to do so. YouTube acted quickly to taking down the video as requested by many users. When the second video was uploaded they did not take the video down but acted on Logan’s case as a whole and decided to punish him. When his ad revenue was cut, many people were very happy with this decision because it was time for Logan to see some true punishment for what he has been doing. In this case, YouTube acted ethically. 


 A Kantian says that everyone has the right to act however they want, whether it be maximizing happiness, maximize profits or both. The other rule for Kantianism is that they must act with goodwill at all times when decision making. In the first video, Logan had the right to film the suicide victim and show him to the world. But when knowing how intense and personal suicide is, Logan did not act within goodwill. That man did not commit suicide in the forest just to be exposed to the whole internet for the world to see, that is not goodwill. In Logan’s second video he was seen with two dead rats and pulls out a stun gun and shots them while making jokes about shooting them. This is not as serious as his first video, but Logan, knowing how he is on thin ice and how people can take attacking dead animals for fun as a serious and offensive action should not have done this. With the second video, Logan should have known better and know that within the eyes of the world he would not be acting within goodwill by performing these actions. A Kantian would view Logan’s case would agree that Logan had the right to do what he wanted to do, but he did not act with goodwill. YouTube also had the right to act however they wanted. They decided to maximize happiness when Logan uploaded the suicide forest video. YouTube realized is users were very unhappy with the video existing so they took it down and made sure it could not circulate around YouTube any longer. This action maximized happiness because it made sure this disturbing video was gone. When YouTube publicly tweeted its stance on Logan’s case it maximized happiness because people agreed with their tweets and supported them. Lastly when Logan uploaded the dead rat video, YouTube again maximized happiness by punishing Logan with a suspension from the ad program. Many people were happy about this choice and believed it would end the problem. A Kantian would say YouTube acted ethically because they maximized happiness and revenue by punishing Logan and saving the companies public image all while acting with goodwill.
Logan's brand logo for Maverick Clothing

Virtue Theory:

Virtue Theory relies on the judgment of the virtue ethics by the company or person. These virtues are Courage, Honesty, Temperance, and Justice (Salazar 6). Courage is the ability to take risks and stand for the right ideas and actions. Logan did take a risk by posting these two videos, but he was not standing on the right side of the fence when it came to ideas and actions, his actions in these videos were unethical. Honesty is the honest treatment of employees, customers, and other companies. Logan was unethical by not treating his customers (subscribers/viewers) with the respect of showing them videos that were respectful to them or to others. The Maverick Apparel LLC was a company that was affected by Logan’s actions because by brand name association, they lost revenue for an act they did not do. Temperance is having reasonable expectations or desires in what you do or want to achieve. These videos portrayed a dark agenda towards what Logan planned to achieve from the sufferings of the man in the forest and the rats. He exploited others to gain viewers resulting in ad revenue. These actions and desires are unethical in their motives. Justice is having good practices and fair ideas. Logan did not serve himself or anyone justice with his actions. They were not good practices on a social or financial level nor were they fair ideas to exploit others and later affecting another man’s business. With the qualities of virtue theory, it can be concluded that Logan Paul acted unethically in his actions. YouTube had the courage to stand up to Logan and punish him for his wrongdoings. They were honest in addressing the problem and doing what was right by making sure the content on YouTube was appropriate for all viewers. YouTube had great temperance after the first video with Logan by giving him a warning and letting him continue his vlogs with no punishment. Lastly, YouTube acted with justice, by punishing Logan showing that YouTube follows good and fair business practices and saying how they will no longer stand for what Logan is doing. In the end YouTube acted ethically in all categories of Virtue Theory. 


Wagstaff, Keith. “YouTube Tweets 'Open Letter' about Logan Paul's Suicide Video.” Mashable, Mashable, 9 Jan. 2018,

Graham, Jefferson. “Logan Paul Loses His YouTube Ads after He Shocks Rat with Taser.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 10 Feb. 2018,

“UCG8rbF3g2AMX70yOd8vqIZg YouTube Stats, Channel Statistics.” UCG8rbF3g2AMX70yOd8vqIZg YouTube Stats, Channel Statistics -,

Blumenthal, Eli. “YouTuber Logan Paul under Fire after Posting Video Showing Apparent Suicide Victim.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 3 Jan. 2018,

Blumenthal, Eli. “YouTuber Logan Paul under Fire after Posting Video Showing Apparent Suicide Victim.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 3 Jan. 2018,

Agerholm, Harriet. “Logan Paul Condemned for Tasering Dead Rats in New YouTube Video.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 8 Feb. 2018,

Salazar, Heather. Business Ethics and Virtue. n.d.

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