Logan Paul became a hot topic of conversation recently, when he uploaded a video to his popular YouTube channel showing the corpse of a man who had recently committed suicide by hanging in Japan's notorious "suicide forest." There was an immediately backlash of public outrage, and though the video was quickly taken down, the damage was done. YouTube severed ties with Paul less than two weeks later.
At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, spoke to the controversy on Youtube's behalf. In a tense executive session, Daniels and Kyncl explained their decision to halt Paul's projects as well as what steps they're taking to prevent similar situations like this from occurring with their young (and notoriously boundary-pushing) artists.
"As you know, we work with lots of YouTube stars, all of them are incredibly talented. Some of them are very young and sometimes get themselves in hot water," Kyncl told reporters. "I want to make sure that we all recognize that a few missteps don't spoil the work of the other creators who are doing incredible things on YouTube... Specifically, as to Logan, we believe he's made missteps, unfortunate missteps. He's expressed remorse very quickly and is learning from the experience... I think the most important thing to focus on is that actions speak louder than words and Logan has the opportunity to prove that."
As for whether Logan Paul would be welcomed back into the Youtube community eventually, Kyncl and Daniels are making no promises.
"We've put all his projects on hold indefinitely, and we'll see in the future," Kyncl said. When pressed about whether this was just a cooling off period, Kyncl dodged the topic of future projects with Paul. "We don't know, I couldn't really answer that. Everything is evolving so fast. The best thing we can do is we put all projects on hold indefinitely, and there's no release dates scheduled for anything."
The Paul controversy has forced YouTube to take a look at their community guidelines, which dictates what content creators are allowed to post. Daniels announced changes to those guidelines in December to the company that will further protect the YouTube creative community and the service's relationships with advertisers who don't want to be tied to videos like Paul's "misstep."
"In December we issued a blog on that and forthcoming changes," Kyncl said. "I can't announce those today but there are forthcoming changes that we will be very specific and public about that will address that."
Additional reporting by Megan Vick