After taking some time to reflect, Logan Paul has returned to YouTube following the intense backlash he received in response to a vlog that purported to show the 22-year-old stumbling upon the body of someone who died by suicide. He laid low for three weeks, and now his first video back is a total rebrand. Titled "Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow," Paul spends the seven-minute video interviewing people who've struggled with mental health and have attempted suicide, chatting with awareness experts, and walking around looking sorry, which is when I can't help but roll my eyes. Even in the midst of this selfless act, the video is still all about him.
I'm hesitant to come down too hard on the video, because I do think it will do a lot of good. Teen suicide rates have doubled since 2007, so this video is exactly something his audience needs to see. He relays the important steps you need to take if you or someone you know is considering suicide, and gives those who may be going through a tough time hope via the stories of those he interviewed. He also pledges $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations, with the first $250,000 going to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
These are all great things, and maybe it shouldn't matter the reasons behind his donations or interviews, but I just don't buy that they're entirely altruistic. It's a grand gesture to get the heat off of him, but the fact that he didn't just donate the money and leave himself out of it proves that he's going to keep being the same Paul — you know, the one who went to Japan and threw Pokeballs at Japanese people. Where's the apology for that video?
Plus, I can't stop thinking about a conversation I had with Gil Eyal, the CEO and Founder of HYPRBRands, an influencer marketing platform.
"If done correctly, [controversy] can get attention and sympathy with the right audience," he told me over the phone in regards to Paul. "The only challenge is the next one has to be more controversial. How far does it go?"
Paul may be back as some kind of spokesperson for suicide awareness — something he admits in the video he's never been close to and never had to think about before — but if he doesn't find a way to keep his momentum going, he could slip away.
"I think he’s at risk of disappearing," Eyal told me back when the initial video was taken down. "There’s an audience waiting... [and] somebody else can pick it up. It’s not about getting kicked off of YouTube, it’s about being forgotten."
Paul does not want us to forget him. It's why he was gone less than a month before coming back with a video. It's why he makes sure to be in almost every shot of his new video that is supposed to be about other people. And it's why I fear that he will keep trying to find ways to shock us. For instance, donating money and interviewing survivors is shocking because he's doing a good thing, for once. But that pendulum is going to swing the other way, and it might be sooner than we think.
Watch Paul's new video below:
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
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