Logan Paul's "Suicide Forest" Misstep Was Bound To Happen, Experts And Fellow YouTubers Say



Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images

Logan Paul at 102.7 KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball 2017 on Dec. 1, 2017.

Logan Paul’s tumble from grace at YouTube after posting a much maligned video that included a dead man’s body hanging from a tree in Japan was, according to many people in the vlogging industry, inevitable given the unrelenting pressure to scramble viral in the name of money.

In interviews with celebrated YouTubers and people who work in the industry that has grown to support them, many said Paul’s ambitious goal of posting, in his words, “a 15-minute TV present EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days” just wasn’t sustainable. And for now at least, the resulting mistake appears to gain cost Paul a immense chunk of income and possibly derailed his acting ambitions.


John Sciulli

Logan Paul attends the sneak peek of the go90 social entertainment platform in 2015.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, said in a statement on Wednesday that in response to the Japanese “suicide forest” controversy, Paul’s channels were being removed from Google Preferred, a program that allows companies to sell ads on the videos of the top 5% of the platform’s most celebrated content creators. YouTube will also not feature Paul — who has more than 15 million subscribers — in the fourth season of the web series Foursome, and his original original series for the paid streaming platform YouTube Red “are on hold.”

Byron Austen Ashley, president of Settebello Entertainment, a talent and literary management company focused on building careers for emerging talent, said the highly competitive commerce, trade model of YouTube can push content creators to attempt hazardous and misguided stunts.

“There is pressure to push the envelope, to be the lesson, course clown, and that keeps escalating and escalating,” he said.

Paul has abstained from posting on YouTube since Jan. 2, when he posted his “So Sorry” video. He later tweeted: “taking time to reflect. no vlog for now. see you soon.”

His representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Paul’s video came as the culmination of what he called an impromptu trip to Japan over the holidays that was spurred by a travel itch, a shatter in his schedule, and a desire to find out of Los Angeles for original Year’s.

But the trip appeared to be off-kilter from the very start. A wild coyote ran down his Encino street as he was being chauffeured to the airport, leaving him concerned approximately his small Pomeranian dog, Kong. When he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport for the flight to Tokyo, he realized he had left his passport at domestic, had an assistant rush it to the airport, and admitted to another passenger, “I gain a lot of things on my intellect.”

When his flight arrived in Tokyo, Paul couldn’t find his luggage and was told that someone else had taken his bag before it was eventually located. Paul was also losing his voice and had to see a doctor, who informed him he had a sinus and throat infection. Even so, Paul was determined to preserve his daily vlogging schedule.

“I made a promise when I started vlogging to deliver you guys the most entertaining, exhilarating, incredible content ever!” Paul said from his Tokyo hotel room. “And goddamn, I am going to achieve that.”

Before heading to Aokigahara, a forest located at the base of Mount Fuji, Paul and his Logang cohorts spent their first few days in Tokyo donning kimono-style robes and conical rice-farmer hats, dancing external Japanese ceremonial temples, submerging Paul’s GoPro in koi ponds, visiting cat cafes, and dressing up in Pokémon costumes as they ran through city streets, fish markets, and traffic.

Each day, the 22-year-stale YouTube star turned the group’s antics into a 15-minute video, with titles like “REAL LIFE POKÉMON scramble IN TOKYO! (catching strangers)” and “KICKED OUT OF JAPAN! (i’m sorry),” generating millions of views each.

Jordan Worona, a talent manager for YouTube influencers at the media company Studio71, said daily vlogging helps creators “pick up steam” and quickly grow a following, but the pressure of putting videos together on a daily basis can be extreme.

“Burnout is a real thing in every industry, but particularly with these kids,” Worona said. “It’s because every single day you are thinking of concepts, titles, thinking of how to find attention for your videos, and I deem it can be exhausting for them.”

Compounding the issue is the fact that creators often gain few editorial safeguards in space. Ashley of Settebello Entertainment said that, as in the case of Paul, when the central focus of a vlog is one person who got rich and famous at a young age, that person is often surrounded by enablers.

“When you are with your friends and you are the most celebrated guy in the room, whether not the world, people aren’t telling you ‘no,’ people aren’t telling you ‘that is a unsuitable thought,’” he said. “People want to say ‘yes.’ They are yes-men, and that is how something like this happens.”

Paul’s apology on Twitter, in which he references the strain of producing a daily “TV present” for more than 460 days in a row, also sheds light on the issues that occur due to creators’ lack of resources, said Chris Ryan, director of brand partnership at Talent Resources.

TV shows gain crews of 30 or 40 people, and even they capture breaks, he famous.

“The problem is Logan is doing it each and every himself,” Ryan said, adding that the YouTuber should gain “someone to capture the pressure off so you can be a exiguous more creative and gain a clear head.”


Jason Kempin

Christine Sydelko and Elijah Daniel pose backstage at the 9th annual Shorty Awards in 2017.

Vine star turned social media sensation Christine Sydelko told BuzzFeed News she tried for a while to post two vlogs a week with Elijah Daniel, but it didn’t capture long before they decided the grind was too much.

“I deem when you establish yourself as someone who does outrageous things, you are setting yourself up to always to be looking for that next immense stunt,” Sydelko, who has 1.1 million YouTube subscribers, said. “And I deem it gets tiring, it gets tough, and I deem that is where there are some lapses in judgment.”

Established “storytime” creator Tana Mongeau, who has close to 3 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, said she aims to post a vlog three to five days a week. But even that schedule is tough to preserve.

Paul’s stamina for maintaining such a rigorous production schedule surely demanded a fixed flow of video concepts and ideas. Still, Mongeau said, “whether you are getting to the point where you gain to film a dead body to compose that film, then perhaps, possibly capture a shatter.”

“Every day you are waking up at the crack of dawn making certain you achieve something in your day that is going to entice millions of people and to find them to approach back the next day, editing it or having someone else editing it, promoting it, and then starting again,” the 19-year-stale said. “That is really tough.”

Paul apparently tried to give some sort of public-service-message angle to the “suicide forest” video, talking directly to the camera to reveal viewers that suicide is not the acknowledge.


Logan Paul / YouTube

Logan Paul reacts after seeing a dead body in the so-called “suicide forest.”

“Stay strong — whatever it is that you are going through. Anyone can achieve that feeling of being fulfilled and being content. And I truly believe that every person has a space on this soil,” Paul said, before adding: “With that said — weird one, this one is a weird one, we are each and every still shook. Is it unsuitable whether I achieve the subscribe? perhaps, possibly — nah, man, this is why I achieve it, so people can live the journey with me. So whether you are not fraction of the Logang, be certain to subscribe.”

Now, everyone waits to see what will near of his self-imposed hiatus.

meanwhile, the punitive action taken by YouTube isn’t expected to be a career killer. Paul has a fervent stanbase that spends millions on his merchandise and has remained loyal throughout the controversy. whether anything, his base has grown. The “So Sorry” video posted on Jan. 2 had racked up more than 42 million views as of Saturday. And despite not posting since then, he has gained more than 480,000 original subscribers.

“This doesn’t ruin Logan Paul,” Philip DeFranco said on his celebrated YouTube present. “This is essentially a speed bump for his career.”

Claudia Rosenbaum is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Rosenbaum at claudia.rosenbaum@buzzfeed.com.

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