YouTube pares back Logan Paul partnership after Japan suicide video

Reuters, Staff Report

YouTube said Wednesday it is removing popular American celebrity YouTuber Logan Paul from its Google Preferred platform and putting future projects with him on hold, after Paul posted a video on the platform that included footage of a suicide victim in Japan.

“In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul’s channels from Google Preferred. Additionally, we will not feature Logan in season 4 of ‘Foursome’ and his new Originals are on hold,” said Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube in a statement.

Google Preferred features YouTube’s most popular content in packages for sale to advertisers. Paul, 22, is one of YouTube’s top content creators, regularly drawing millions of views from his mainly youth-orientated audience.

Paul also had projects in the works with YouTube’s premium subscription service, YouTube Red, and appeared on the platform’s web series “Foursome.”

Representatives for Paul did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Paul apologized in a YouTube video titled “So Sorry” last week for posting the video that showed him and his friends laughing about the body they filmed in the Aokigahara Jukai (Sea of Trees) forest area, a well-known suicide spot in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Paul said he had made a “huge mistake” and was ashamed of himself, and he deleted the video after it caused a social media backlash.

In an open letter on Tuesday YouTube said it was “upset by the video that was shared last week,” saying that “suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views.”

The company said Paul’s video violated its guidelines and it was “looking at further consequences.”

Paul has not posted any videos in the past week, saying he was “taking time to reflect.”

Paul’s channel, Logan Paul Vlogs, which has more than 15 million subscribers, is still active on YouTube and advertisers can still choose to advertise on his videos or opt out.

Japan’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world, according to the latest government white paper on suicide measures released in May 2017. However, the rate has been in decline since peaking in 2003.

In 2016 the number of people who took their own life declined to 21,897, the lowest total in 22 years. But the figures also show that suicide was the top cause of death among people in five age groups from 15 to 39, a trend that stands out amid a decline for other generations.

The number of suicides surged in the late 1990s and remained above 30,000 for more than 10 years, including a high of 34,427 in 2003. The figure has remained below 30,000 since 2012.

Since mapping out its first policy principles on suicide countermeasures in 2007, the government has taken a series of steps including strengthening research on the medical and social causes of suicide, setting up more hotlines, holding seminars for municipal leaders, and strengthening support for people who attempt suicide and for their next of kin.