On Dec. 31, a YouTube star uploaded a video involving the dead body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan, and over a week later, YouTube still hasn't deleted Logan Paul's channel. Instead of banning the 22-year-old from the site altogether for trivializing suicide on a viral platform, the video-sharing website released an open letter, perhaps to quell the outrage. However, Twitter seems more infuriated than ever as it demands Paul is held to a higher level of accountability.
Bustle reached out for comment after the video was first posted. "Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner," the spokesperson tells Bustle. "If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated."
Days later, YouTube released an open letter to let the public know that it's been listening to their complaints.
An open letter to our community: Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be. You deserve to know what's going on.
Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week.
Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views. As Anna Akana put it perfectly: "That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness."
We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences.
It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.
Based on the responses to the letter, though, Paul's critics didn't want an open letter. Instead, they wanted YouTube to take more serious action against Paul by banning him from the site altogether.
Others thought YouTube could have been more transparent in regards to how it's actually dealing with Paul. It's public knowledge that the video of Paul in Aokigahara, a national forest in Fujikawaguchiko otherwise known as the "sea of trees" or "suicide forest," was taken down shortly after it was posted. Beyond that, though, no one knows whether or not Paul had to deal with other repercussions from the company.
It's worth mentioning that Paul did indeed gain even more attention after he posted an apology video on YouTube. His apology, which was posted on Jan. 2, has been watched over 38 million times.
The fact that Paul could be actually continuing to benefit from the publicity wasn't lost on many of his critics. Some thought he shouldn't have been allowed to use YouTube as a platform in the days following Dec. 31, even if it was to apologize. To be fair, the video-sharing website did admit it took it a "long time" to put out a statement condemning Paul's initial behavior.
Paul's critics, though, don't necessarily think this video was the first time he had displayed poor judgment or disrespect. For them, there's a greater underlying problem.
As Teen Vogue put it, Paul benefits from white male privilege. The vlogger has posted videos of himself forcibly "lassoing in" women as a joke. And walking through the sea of trees while filming wasn't the only insensitive move he recently made in Japan. He also slapped raw fish up against the window of a Tokyo Starbucks and bought a gameboy so he could crush it in the street, take it back to the store, and say it's "mucho brokeno."
For right now, though, it looks like Paul is at YouTube to stay, unless he's given three strikes within three months, according to the website's policy.