More than a week ago, one of YouTube’s biggest stars uploaded a video containing extensive footage of an apparent suicide victim hanging from a tree in a Japanese forest. Now, the platform has announced that Logan Paul, whose channel has 15 million subscribers, will lose access to Google’s premium ad program. His upcoming projects with YouTube Red — the platform’s subscription service — are also on hold.
“In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul’s channels from Google Preferred,” a YouTube spokesman said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
Google Preferred is a premium ad program that runs on the top 5 percent of channels on YouTube. Access to that preferred program is lucrative for creators, although Paul will still be able to monetize his content on YouTube without it.
There’s more: Paul was supposed to star in the YouTube original movie “The Thinning: New World Order,” slated to come out later this year. But Paul’s original projects with YouTube Red are now “on hold,” and Paul will no longer star in the next series of the YouTube Red comedy “Foursome.”
If you followed the saga of PewDiePie last year, this punishment might sound familiar: it’s pretty similar to how YouTube handled the fallout from a Wall Street Journal report that highlighted the YouTube superstar’s Nazi jokes. But the reaction to the two situations, at least among YouTube’s community of creators, has been very different. In PewDiePie’s case, the decision caused outrage among many creators who felt the platform had acted too quickly and harshly. In the week since Paul’s video was uploaded, however, creators have felt that YouTube’s response was not nearly harsh or quick enough.
YouTube previously released a pair of statements about Paul’s video. The first outlined YouTube’s policy on graphic content, and noted that the platform partners with safety groups like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It wasn’t in the on-the-record statement, but YouTube has since confirmed that it also issued a “strike” against Paul’s channel for violating its community guidelines.
Paul removed the video from his channel himself, apologized, and put his daily vlogging schedule on pause.
YouTube’s second statement, released Tuesday, was the first from the platform that fully condemned the content in Paul’s video. That statement was tweeted from YouTube’s main account, and was addressed directly to their community. YouTube promised to consider “further consequences” for Paul.
Those consequences, as they did for PewDiePie, amount to YouTube deciding to disavow one of its biggest stars. But that doesn’t mean Paul’s career on the platform is over. He has 15 million subscribers and a dedicated young fan base who will still watch his videos and buy his merchandise. And according to Socialblade, Paul has gained tens of thousands of subscribers every day since this controversy began.