YouTube suspends ads on vlogger's channel

In a recent video, Logan Paul ( in a 2017 picture) fired a stun gun into two dead rats for laughs.
In a recent video, Logan Paul ( in a 2017 picture) fired a stun gun into two dead rats for laughs.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Rats, some people just do not learn from their gaffes.

Take the case of Logan Paul, who returned to YouTube recently - after he was slammed for showing a video featuring a Japanese suicide victim.

He wore a giant fake beard and tattered jeans, as epic movie trailer music played over his first vlog in weeks.

The way the 22-year-old told it, he was now redeemed. He returned to posting daily vlogs for his fans.

But he is in trouble again, with YouTube suspending all advertisements on his channel.

"This is not a decision we made lightly," its spokesman said.

"We believe he has exhibited a pattern of behaviour in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers, but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community."

Paul's objectionable content included a video that appeared to show how incomplete his redemption narrative is.

In a video posted a day after his re-emergence, he yells "no rat comes into my house without getting Tasered" before firing a stun gun into two dead rats on his patio.

The moment is played for laughs, as he lifts up one of the rats' bodies by the stun gun wire.

Advocacy group People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals called for the video to be removed from YouTube, saying it was proof that Paul "has not learnt the lesson that there is sadness, not humour, in the death of others".

Earlier in the same vlog, he takes a fish out of a pond to give it cardiopulmonary resuscitation as a joke.

Tasering a dead rat is not the most offensive thing Paul - or any YouTuber - has done for views.

But in context, the decision to mock a dead body of anything on his channel is particularly jarring.

Before returning to daily vlogs, he had posted a video called Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.

It exists, in essence, as evidence that he has learnt and grown from the controversy. Paul films himself listening to suicide prevention experts about what he did wrong and what he can do to become part of the solution.

He promises to donate one million dollars to those causes.

"It's time to start a new chapter in my life as I continue to educate both myself and others on suicide," he says at the end of the video.

Suspending all advertising revenue is the most severe punishment yet for Paul's channel. YouTube had already removed premium ad content from his channel last month.

That premium ad programme, available to only the top 5 per cent of creators on the platform, is lucrative for those who have access to it.

YouTube had also put Paul's projects with its subscription service, YouTube Red, on hold.

Before losing access to premium ads, analytics site SocialBlade estimated that he could make more than one million dollars in a month off his channel.

YouTube ads are not his only source of income, however.

His vlogs also serve as infomercials for his merchandise, apparel and accessories.

Indeed, in his very first vlog back, Paul encourages his young fans to buy as much as possible to help him make up for the income lost during his break from YouTube.

He may have to make another appeal.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2018, with the headline 'YouTube suspends ads on vlogger's channel'. Print Edition | Subscribe