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Logan Paul, a 22-year-old YouTuber with a huge fan-base of young followers has made headlines again for more bad behaviour this year, and it's only February...
Last month, on New Year's Day funnily enough (way to start out the year, Logan), he received a tidal wave of criticism for his decision to go into Japan's suicide forest, make a video in which he finds a dead body and laughs about it, has it edited and uploads it to YouTube for millions of young fans to see. People were outraged. How stupid do you have to be to go through that full process and not at some point question, "hmm, is broadcasting this poor man's body to the world a good idea?" And yet, to be as successful as he has been at such a young age, he must have some brains right? He must be kind of aware of what he's doing? So if that's the case, what does that make him? A sociopath? I mean, it's actually possible.
He's recently made headlines again this week after choosing to upload a video of him tasering dead rats in his home, and giving CPR to a live fish that he dragged out of his koi pond. It's clear that he has not learned to respect the dead, and feels that a little animal abuse is OK as long as it gets him views. For this reason, YouTube has decided to temporarily suspend ads on his videos. This recent stunt reminded me of behaviour that is typically displayed by people exhibiting signs of psychopathy and disorders of empathy. Many psychopaths start out by abusing animals and then continue down the slippery slope. This made me look at the rest of his behaviour through this lens, and what I realised was worrying.
For starters, there's his lack of empathy, which is a staple trait in all psychopaths and sociopaths. This is apparent when he filmed the dead body and tasered the dead rats. It's also clear that he struggles to empathise when he conveyed shock at people's reaction to what he did. Any normal person would have realised long before uploading that people would not like a video depicting suicide in this manner. Yet this didn't occur to him until it was too late. He also failed to show empathy towards the people of Japan in the rest of his Japanese vlog series, running around like an annoying brat and being pretty racist and claiming that it's just like being in a cartoon. This suggests that he struggles to see people that aren't like him as actual people. So is he just emotionally immature or is it more sinister than that?
Then there was the apology. He tweeted out a screenshot of his iPhone note (sincere... I know) saying that he didn't do it for the views because he "already gets views" and signed off basically calling everyone haters, using the peace emoji and a #Logang for good measure. I'm surprised he didn't plug his merch. That's how narcissistic he is. This was followed by a "heartfelt" video when he tried to be sincere but still failed to properly discuss the disrespect to the actual suicide victim and instead made himself seem the victim. This came off as a bit more genuine, with the watery eyes and all, but it's hard to tell because he could easily be manipulating his young audience and just doing damage control at the recommendation of his management. He monetised the video as well, of course. He then continued this tact for his come-back video in which he interviewed suicide victims. But this, too, came across as false and self-indulgent, making it all about his personal journey and talking about how he believed the suicide video "happened for a reason." Logan continues to miss the point that the world doesn't revolve around him.
Next, there's his refusal to take responsibility. He claimed that he didn't realise that "people who commit suicide kill themselves," playing the ignorance card. He then tries to turn this into his audiences' problem, saying that he blames the parents for letting their kids watch his videos in the first place. I don't know how he suggests they stop them, not when kids these days all have smartphones and data plans and are free to use them during school lunch time. And how were the parents meant to know that Logan would upload a video of a hanging body? No, he's the one who chose to upload it knowing fine well that his audience is mostly made up of children—I don't know anyone over the age of 16 that would find his "content" entertaining in the slightest. This refusal to take responsibility and admit that he is the only one to blame for the whole thing is worrying.
Now, I'm not saying he is definitely a sociopath; I'm not going to play armchair psychologist and diagnose him as one. But this behaviour, from him and his brother, is becoming increasingly troubling. He's certainly exhibiting some key warning signs of psychopathy (animal abuse, lack of empathy, narcissism, nothing is his fault, everything is about him), and it seems that he isn't learning or growing from his mistakes. Maybe this whole thing is just indicative of a bigger social problem brought about by internet fame. But there are plenty of other big, rich, YouTubers who manage to be, not just decent, but genuinely lovely human beings. No, some of the responsibility definitely lands with the Paul brothers themselves, and they better get their shit together and start realising that they have a responsibility to be good role models to their audience. If you are part of the #Logang, I implore you to just take what he says with a pinch of salt. You can still like him, but you can't defend this behaviour and you shouldn't believe everything he says without question. You can be a better human being than Logan Paul and I beg you to be a better person than he is!