YouTube has scaled back its business relationship with Logan Paul following outrage over a series of videos he posted in Japan, one of which featured a suicide victim.
The company announced that it has canceled his upcoming YouTube Red movie The Thinning: New World Order, a sequel to his previous YouTube Red movie The Thinning. YouTube also kicked Paul out of its preferred ad network and put all projects with him on pause.
“In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul’s channels from Google Preferred,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a public statement. “Additionally, we will not feature Logan in season four of ‘Foursome’ and his new Originals are on hold.”
Google’s preferred ad network allows brands to sell ads directly to the top 5 percent of creators on the platform. While Paul will still be able to monetize his videos—which get millions of views—YouTube will no longer facilitate access to that premium ad money.
This move is an undeniable financial hit for Paul, who primarily profits on YouTube ad money. It’s estimated that Paul earns up to $1.3 million per month from YouTube advertising alone.
Paul deleted his most offensive video featuring a dead man hanging in Japan’s “suicide forest” within three days of posting it and is currently taking a hiatus from vlogging.
YouTube issued a statement regarding the controversy on Jan. 9 where the company said it would be looking into “further consequences” for Paul.
“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,” the company wrote on Twitter.
Paul technically violated YouTube’s terms of service by posting a video including graphic content and violent imagery, and many in the YouTube influencer community had been anxiously awaiting the company’s response.
For Paul, the punishment could have been far worse. A Change.org petition started in the wake of the backlash asking YouTube to delete Paul’s channel garnered nearly half a million signatures in less than two weeks. Other groups have begged YouTube to completely demonetize his channel.
The company did issue a strike for the first time against Paul’s channel. Three strikes within three months means you’ll get kicked off the platform.
Ultimately, while YouTube’s multi-pronged response is a huge financial setback for Paul, he will still be able to generate a healthy revenue stream from regular preroll and midroll ads on his channel and merchandise sales.
The outrage also resulted in Paul gaining nearly 100,000 new followers.
In an apology video on Jan. 2 Paul posted before taking a break from vlogging, he said, “I have made a severe and continuous lapse in judgement. I don’t expect to be forgiven, I’m simply here to apologize.”
While his words rang hollow to many, Paul’s dedicated legion of tween fans known as the “Logang” Paul has more than absolved himself of any wrongdoing.
“Logan Paul is my hero and this will never change. He is only human, humans make mistakes... you can hate him but remember he has a BIG family which is called the LOGANG. We will always be with him, we are stronger than you!” one fan wrote.
Fellow YouTube star and commentator Keemstar said on his podcast last week, “I know this first hand, you can’t destroy Jake Paul and you can’t destroy Logan Paul. And the number one reason why you can’t destroy them is because of their children fan base.
“Logan Paul and Jake Paul, to kids are cool. Everything they do and say is cool. And they run this cult, a merch machine, where they prey on children. Where it’s, you’re only cool if you’re wearing Logan Paul merchandise. You’re only cool if you’re in the Logang. You’re only cool if you’re wearing Jake Paul clothes. This type of predatory behavior on kids is the number one reason why they will never, ever go down,” Keemstar said.
He added that he and others believe the only thing that will have a lasting impact on Paul’s financial success, aside from being rendered uncool by theoretically more entertaining YouTubers like RiceGum, is if parents crack down on the type of content their children are watching online.
YouTube came under fire recently for serving algorithmically generated cartoons that were often disturbing or violent to children.
Until now, however, the platform has rarely punished its mainstream creators, who it has a vested financial interest in promoting.
The one notable exception was in February 2017 when YouTube issued a similar punishment to PewDiePie, YouTube’s most popular creator with nearly 60 million subscribers.
Following an investigation into anti-Semitic content the star had posted, YouTube canceled the second season of PewDiePie’s YouTube Red series, Scare PewDiePie.
PewDiePie’s fans have been outraged at YouTube for not issuing a swifter, harsher punishment to Paul, who, unike PewDiePie, explicitly violated YouTube’s terms of service.
PewDiePie spoke out in a 12-minute video posted to his channel on Sunday titled “Everyone Needs a Hero.”
In it, he lashes out at Paul for the type of problematic content he has been posting for years without consequence, including mocking other cultures, faking his own bloody murder in front of a crowd of small children, plugging his merch to his friend who had just lost a pet, and more.
“It seemed like I got in a lot more shit for a lot less,” he said. “If nothing else, bring back Scare Pewdiepie Season 2. We shot the whole damn thing. It’s waiting.”