The flash point came Dec. 31 when the 22-year-old vlogger posted a video during his trip to Japan that included footage of a person who had died from a suicide. The video stayed up for several hours and was viewed 6 million times before Paul deleted it and apologized.
In what was evidently the straw the broke the camel’s back, Paul fired a Taser on a dead rat in a Feb. 5 video, as YouTube noted in announcing its decision to pull ads from Logan’s channels. YouTube said he attempted to monetize the video with rat in violation of its ad-friendly guidelines; the video remains available but with an age-restricted warning. He also this week joked about taking the “Tide Pod challenge” — a meme that has spread across the internet in which people attempt to eat the detergent capsules.
“After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily suspend ads on Logan Paul’s YouTube channels,” YouTube said in a statement Friday. “This is not a decision we made lightly; however, we believe he has exhibited a pattern of behavior in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers, but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community.”
Reps for Paul did not respond to a request for comment.
YouTube had previously pulled Paul’s channels from the Google Preferred premium-advertising program following the suicide video.
In the wake of the controversy, Paul also lost a series deal with French digital studio Blackpills and was cut from YouTube Red’s original series “Foursome.” He is represented by CAA and affiliated with Studio71.
In apologizing for his video showing the dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest (known as the “Suicide Forest”), Paul said in part, “I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize.” He also said his reactions to the dead body were “raw and unfiltered,” and that he regretted recording and posting the video.
Paul took a three-week hiatus from YouTube after the incident and resumed posting Jan. 24 with a public-service announcement video about suicide awareness.
YouTube insists that it’s not censoring creators or dictating the nature of the content they produce — but at the same time, it says, advertising partners have the right to not have their spots run against objectionable content. YouTube pointed out that creators can opt out of monetizing videos that don’t comply with its advertiser-friendly guidelines.
YouTube’s move to demonetize Paul’s channels is a warning shot to other creators that it’s serious about enforcing tougher policies designed to make it more “brand safe” for advertisers. Last month, YouTube said it will start manually reviewing all videos in the Google Preferred program and set new minimum thresholds for creators to be able to participate in its ad-revenue sharing program.
The Google-owned video platform provides guidelines on policies and practices for ensuring videos are acceptable for advertising an article on its support site (link here).
Logan Paul has actually gained YouTube viewers with the publicity over his bizarre antics. His main channel now has more than 16.6 million subscribers, up nearly 1 million since the start of 2018.
Paul on Tuesday jokingly urged his followers on Twitter to sign a Change.org petition calling for YouTube to delete his channel. Currently, more than 570,000 people have signed the petition.