The Brief: On July 27, 2018, YouTuber Casey Neistat upload an interview with Logan Paul in which they discussed his controversial "suicide forest video," upcoming documentary, and planned fight against KSI.
The 30-minute unedited video shows Neistat and Paul discussing the implications of YouTube fame and infamy.
Neistat criticized Paul for damaging the YouTube community and the reputations of fellow YouTubers for the notoriety he has gained from his insensitive and inappropriate content. Paul has faced backlash for tasering dead rats, making racist comments, carrying out questionable pranks, and most notably his “suicide forest video.” On December 31, 2017, while on a trip to Japan, Logan Paul posted a vlog in a forest known for being the site of many suicides. In the video, Paul showed footage of the body of a man who had recently committed suicide. Paul was criticized for his flippant reaction to the body, and for posting the video in the first place. Soon after the video was posted, Paul removed it from his channel and posted an apology video – the first of many apologies for the incident. YouTube issued their own apology for their slow response to the video, temporarily demonetized Paul’s channel, and revised YouTube’s community guidelines.
In the interview with Neistat, Paul admitted that he made a mistake and apologized for it. He told Neistat that he “[fell] into the social media machine” and, fueled by the validation of millions, “forgot to be a human being and decided to be a content creator.” When asked about how he “besmirched what it means to be a YouTuber,” Paul responded with the apology: “I’m sorry that I (I guess) brought shame upon the platform.”
Neistat praised Paul for his suicide awareness and prevention video released in late January, an educational, non-offensive PSA about suicide. Paul’s view and subscriber count took a big hit since the suicide forest video controversy and his channel is significantly less popular than it had previously.
Logan Paul’s fanbase is mostly made up of children and teenagers – but his content is not very kid-friendly. In the interview, Paul did not address how he plans to make his content more appropriate for his younger audiences.
As YouTubers who post mildly to severely inappropriate content remain popular for minors, it is important for parents to have conversations with their kids about what they watch, and about how people like Logan Paul probably shouldn’t be their role models.
In the interview, Paul claimed that he is working to become “an actual human being,” to be “the new Logan Paul. ” He is making a “redemption” documentary about his controversy, struggle, and transformation over the past year. Neistat questioned whether Paul’s intent was merely to improve his public image, or to actually redeem himself as a person and as a YouTuber.
At the end of the interview, Neistat and Paul talked about an upcoming boxing match between Logan Paul and KSI, and another between their younger brothers.
Reactions to the video have been mixed. It has about half as many dislikes as it has likes. PewDiePie made a vlog reacting to the video. “I wanna like you logan…but you make it really hard,” he said in a mostly negative review.