AVID classes respond to a controversial YouTube video, gone viral


Hannah Kennedy

Second hour AVID classes participate in a socratic seminar to discuss the controversial Logan Paul video.

Social Media Sensation

More than 15,000,000 subscribers.

Over 3,000,000,000 views.

A net worth of $12 million a year.

Coming from a small town in Ohio, Logan Paul made a name for himself in the world of social media.

Now, his reputation and brand are under fire.

With his vlog camera in hand, Paul entered the Aokigahara, dubbed ‘Suicide forest’, of Japan. What started with the intention to study the ‘hauntedness’ of the woods, Paul and his friends soon learned the seriousness of this sacred space below Mt. Fuji.

Within minutes of hiking, they encountered a dead body, hanging from a tree.

Upon discovering the body, Paul, decked out in a bright green alien hat and ‘Logang’ merch, stated that, “Suicide is not a joke, depression and mental illnesses are not a joke.”

However, he then continued to film the body, only blurring the face, as he made humorous comments to his friends about the victim. He pointed out the purple in the hands, noting that the death must have been committed that morning.  

He uploaded the video on Dec. 31. New Year’s Eve.


Ringing in the New Year

Most people ring in the new year with resolutions and a positive attitude. Logan Paul awoke in 2018 to an uproar from an enraged online community.

What Paul believed would ‘raise awareness for suicide’, turned into a controversy the entire internet was talking about.

On Twitter, followers responded by calling his content ‘disgusting’, ‘disrespectful’, and ‘twisted’. His Instagram page was spammed with hate.

After receiving immense amounts of online hate, Paul removed the video from his channel, and issued an apology on Twitter.

Two days later, he posted a video.

In his most recent YouTube post, Paul apologized for a “severe and continuous lapse in [his] judgement.” The apology video received one million dislikes and over 40,000,000 views.  

That video was monetized. He made around $12,000 off of it.

Over a week later, YouTube acknowledged the scandal.

They removed Paul from Google Preferred, which helps to combine all of YouTube’s top content into packages for advertisers to purchase. The companies can then advertise on the platforms, allowing the creators to make more money.

They also dismissed him from the web series ‘Foursome’ and any shows or movies on YouTube Red, YouTube’s popular subscription service.


Hitting Home

At Homestead, in light of the scandal, Mr. Joe Ciurlik, and other AVID classes, held a socratic seminar on Friday, Jan.19.

“We always try to do socratic seminars, and we try to find things of interest to our students…I think it’s something the kids can relate to,” Ciurlik said.  

Before the seminar, Mr.Ciurlik had heard kids talking about it.

“What I’m consistently hearing is that kids recognize that it’s wrong. Which, that’s not surprising, but it’s affirming,” Ciurlik later said.

The students began with an essential question, asking them if YouTube should work harder to demonetize hurtful content.

“[YouTube] does a lot of demonetization already,” Madaline Miller, freshman, said, “They should be focusing on everyone.”

As the seminar continued, students moved on to discuss Paul’s original idea to even post the video, knowing it possessed sensitive content.

“I was disgusted that he even thought it was okay to do. He went through an entire process to film, edit, and upload the video, and he didn’t even think about it,” Will Reichold, freshman said.

“He just posts stuff to get views without a filter, for money,” Zanelle Willemse, senior added.

Speaking of views, Paul’s biggest set of viewers are younger teenagers, specifically teenage girls.

“He just has so many fans, most being 14 year old girls. Such young viewers don’t understand,” Zanelle said.

“We’ve got a younger audience that’s still watching [him],” Will chimed in.

Students concluded the seminar by agreeing that Logan Paul was at blame for originally publishing his controversial video and causing harm to anyone affected by suicide, but they also agreed that YouTube was partially to blame for not flagging or removing the video earlier.

Overall a 50/50 responsibility on Paul and YouTube, was the consensus.

“[With social media] more things are becoming more acceptable.The gore is what we’re watching over pleasant entertainment,” Reichold concluded.