Friday, January 12, 2018

Thank You, YouTube, for Putting a Price Tag on Stupidity

I was going to talk today about "Black Museum," the amazingly written and extremely heavy final (so far) episode of Black Mirror, but I have one more thing I want to bring up instead while my anger circuits are still popping on it.

Yeah, yeah. Logan Paul and his bullshit.

I'm assuming the majority of you know by now what he's done. For those who are fortunate enough to have missed it, here's the short version: dude who makes bank uploading daily 15-minute videos went to Aokigahara (Japan's "suicide forest") to film a spoopy video, discovered a recently-deceased person still hanging from a tree, and then did exactly what we all would have done: is turn off the camera and call the authorities and leave to film somewhere else.

Nah, I'm just kidding. He took tons of video of the corpse and uploaded it with the dead body as a thumbnail.

But he demonetized the video and put in a thing about how suicide is bad with Royalty Free YouTube Music from the "Sad" playlist so that makes it a public service or something?

For those unfamiliar with Aokigahara and how Logan Paul's behavior conflicts with the traditions of Japan... well, I'm not the one to verbalize that. I direct you instead to this video by Reina Scully, who made a wonderful video about her feelings and the implications of Logan Paul's behavior.

So there's that... but the thing is, as horrifying and disgusting as this is, it wasn't the only thing he did. This supercut created by We the Unicorns pulls together the rest of his delightfully madcap adventure: throwing plush Pok├ęballs at citizens, breaking merch in stalls and asking for discounts, screaming out his shop URL in a busy street, and generally behaving in ways that would get me grounded, arrested, or groundarrested. (Warning: This will be the longest 2 minutes and 14 seconds of your life.)

Now that we're all on the same page.

So, as for YouTube's part in it? After only an hour online, the video was immediately pulled, Logan Paul's account banned, and Paul sued for a substantial fee that was then donated to mental health centers around the world.

Ah, nah, I'm just fucking with you again. YouTube didn't do a damn thing, and it even got up to trending until Paul himself pulled it five days later, uploading a tearful apology about how famous he is and stuff.

In the wake of that, YouTube has posted a Twitter thread letting everyone know that they're doing all they can and they expect the best of their creators, using much the same language I've been forced to use as a news writer in the past when standing between an angry readership and an unchecked tire-fire. The action taken? Taking him off their Preferred ads program and cutting his next YouTube Red original. That'll show him.

So far, the most action has been taken by clothing line Maverick, who have issued a $4 million lawsuit based on Paul also using the name "Maverick" extremely heavily in his branding and his own clothing line. No word on how that's going.

So the millionaire jackass effectively gets a slap on the wrist, and YouTube continues to knock the income of smaller creators for far lesser sins (and neglects oversight on bullshit like white noise getting hit with copyright claims). And I had to ask myself... what does he make?

I was answered quickly: Logan Paul has the capacity to rake in more than $1 million per month with his videos, and his daily channel subscriptions are in the five digits. This, of course, makes plenty of money and traffic for YouTube, though what their cut is, I can't say with any certainty. They're not making small change off him, though.

There are a lot of things I wonder about celebrity -- where's the line between "you're a fellow creator worthy of respect" and "you're a public figure so you have to take whatever I say." (I found that line last year, incidentally.) How much of an asset do you have to be to get to a point where your behavior doesn't affect your job security. Things like that.

Well, I've got a nice solid answer for one of those. If you pull in $1 million per month on YouTube, you are officially famous enough to desecrate foreign holy sites and not actually lose your career.

Thanks, YouTube. I now know exactly how much money I'd have to earn to get away with being an actual unfeeling sociopath on your platform.


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