YouTube announced on Wednesday that it is pulling Logan Paul from the platform’s Google Preferred ad program and suspending his YouTube Red projects.
The sanctions come about a week after the vlogger removed and apologized for a video on his channel that included footage of what appeared to be a hanging man in Japan’s “suicide forest.”
The vlog, which garnered 6 million views before its removal, features Paul and a group of his friends finding a body while trekking into Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Despite a couple attempts from Paul to acknowledge the gravity of the situation, the video nevertheless intersperses laughter and jokes with close-ups of the suicide victim, in addition to an appeal to viewers to subscribe to the channel at the end. After facing considerable backlash, Paul issued a series of apologies, took down the video, and announced that he would be taking a break from vlogging.
YouTube appears to be stepping up its response after it was also widely criticized for its initial statement that it released on the video last week, which read, in part, “YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner.” Many saw the platform as issuing a milquetoast condemnation that did not directly address the way the video treated suicide.
YouTube then published an open letter on Twitter on Tuesday acknowledging the blowback: “Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be.” It added, “Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views.” The platform ends the letter with a promise to share “steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.”
The platform is suspending Paul’s feature-length movie, The Thinning: New World Order and will not feature him in the fourth season of its web series “Foursome.” He will also no longer be a part of the Google Preferred program that links advertisers with popular YouTubers.
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