By Steven E. White
Logan Paul is a vlogger and YouTube star, who recently filmed his adventures in Tokyo, Japan. Monday, January 1, Logan uploaded a video entitled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” The video showed Logan and his friends hiking into Aokigahara, the Suicide Forest, planning to camp overnight, when they stumbled upon a dead man, hanging from a tree.
Instead of turning the cameras off, he decides that they should go investigate and tells the cameraman, “bring the camera.” He blurs out the face of the man, but still shows the rope, his winter clothes, and the purple, cold hands of the individual.
In less than 24 hours, and after being the tenth most trending video on YouTube, it was taken down; not by YouTube, but Logan himself, who faced severe internet backlash. YouTube consumers, and celebrities alike, are up in arms about this controversial video, because it directly violates YouTube’s policies. The guidelines say gory content is prohibited if it is shown in a disrespectful or shocking manner. Logan was completely disrespectful, joking while disregarding the severity of the situation by showing the body over and over again.
“I don’t feel very good.” His friend said behind the camera; to whom Logan replied, with laughter “What, you never stood next to a dead guy?” When they return to the parking lot, he jokes again to a fireman, “You guys got a dead guy in your forest, four knots south east.” – The knot is a unit of speed, his cameraman correcting him, as part of the joke.
Maybe this is how he copes with tragedy or trauma. Maybe it’s how he deals with the shock of the situation; by laughing, and being light-hearted. However understandable, and relatable to some, even if this really is the case, It’s still disrespectful to the body and that individual’s family.
“There are kids running around. What if the kids stumbled upon this guy?” He spoke to the camera, even though he hypocritically posted the video for his mostly teen and child fanbase. The video had around 550 thousand uncontested likes before it was removed, Philip DeFranco pointing out that his core fans don’t care what he does, or what he posts.
YouTube doesn’t seem to care either, who manually reviewed the video once it was reported and decided to leave it up. Meanwhile, those who re-uploaded the video were slapped with strikes for graphic content. Keep in mind it wasn’t YouTube who removed the video, but Logan himself, and only after severe backlash. This simply shows the bias of YouTube’s selective policing of videos. Political commentators, especially right wing ones, get demonetized and sometimes even censored, if they say something YouTube doesn’t agree with. Even a video by Jordan Peterson, a psychologist and philosopher, got censored in Europe, even though his video was simply a response to accusations of being a white supremacist.
It seems there is a VIP pass some uploaders get, for having the ‘correct’ political views, or right corporate affiliation. Casey Nistat’s video, of fundraising for the victims of the Las Vegas shooter, had its ads removed because YouTube’s policy states it can’t run ads on videos about tragedies. Meanwhile Jimmy Kimmel uploaded a video, going on a gun control rant, in response to the Vegas shooting, and gets #1 on trending, and keeps the ads on that video.
The way YouTube is running its site, it seems that if you’re right wing, the rules especially apply to you. People have taken notice of YouTube’s bias; Sarah T. Roberts of UCLA stating, in regards to the issue, “Of course YouTube is absolutely complicit in these kinds of things.”