Logan Paul, the YouTube star who came under fire recently after posting a video of a corpse, is at the center of yet another controversy. This time around, Paul is facing backlash for uploading a video in which he's seen shooting two lifeless rats with a Taser gun. As if that wasn't enough, in a now deleted tweet, he joined the Tide Pods internet challenge, suggesting he'd eat one of the detergent capsules for every retweet he got. Perhaps that's just his sense of humor, but Paul should have known that everything he does from now on will be heavily scrutinized.
Yet somehow he thought it would be a good idea to show his viewers a display of animal cruelty and to promote edible chemicals. This comes only about a week after Paul's first public interview since the issue with his "Suicide Forest" video in January, which he subsequently took down and apologized for in a second video. Paul went on ABC's Good Morning America and told host Michael Strahan he was just "a good guy who made a bad decision." But Paul's latest actions show he hasn't learned his lesson.
You could argue that he was probably joking when he said he would eat Tide Pods in exchange for retweets, but since his core audience is made up of teenagers and younger kids, Paul has the power to influence them to do the same. So why would he want to open even a remote possibility of someone mimicking him and potentially harming themselves?
Also, while tasing a dead rat may have seemed innocent to him, promoting any act of animal cruelty will always be frowned upon by the general public and animal right organizations -- regardless of the perception of rodents. "How many chances does Logan Paul get?" PETA's senior VP Lisa Lange said in a statement. "PETA finds it repulsive that this 'internet personality' with millions of impressionable young followers has not learned the lesson that there is sadness, not humor, in the death of others. This sort of content has no place on YouTube or anywhere else, as it could desensitize young people to cruelty to animals, so PETA is calling on the platform to remove it."
Paul's actions have also prompted an online petition that calls for his YouTube channel to be deleted. It has collected more than half a million signatures so far.
The video in question, which we've embedded below, is still live on YouTube. YouTube did not provide us a clear answer about whether it plans to remove it, but earlier today the company announced that it is temporarily suspending Paul's ad revenue on his videos as a result of his recent behavior. "After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily suspend ads on Logan Paul's YouTube channels," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. "This is not a decision we made lightly, however, we believe he has exhibited a pattern of behavior in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers, but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community."
By taking this step, along with ending his Google Preferred ad deal, YouTube is sending a strong message to Paul. And it could very well mark the beginning of the end of his YouTube career -- at least if he wants to keep making ad money. For context, it is estimated that his "Logan Paul Vlogs" channel earns him between $40,000 and $600,000 per month, based on research from analytics site SocialBlade. That said, Paul could theoretically make his own revenue by advertising products from brands in his videos, though it's unclear how many of them would want to be associated with him right now.
Paul also has his "Maverick by Logan Paul" clothing line, but he's dealing with some issues there as well. Maverick Apparel LLC, which makes outdoor gear, sent him a cease-and-desist letter last month, threatening to sue for $4 million. "Over these past months, Maverick Apparel has noticed a rapid and significant decline in its sales, reputation and goodwill of the Maverick Apparel brand as a direct result of your repulsive, abhorrent and mutton-headed conduct," the letter sent to Paul reads. "In choosing to promulgate yourself and your maw-wallop across social media and champion yourself as an object of ridicule, hatred and contempt, you have simultaneously infected and injured the good name of Maverick Apparel."
Logan Paul's Maverick merchandise.
Mistakes are part of the human experience: Everyone makes them, and most people use the lessons learned to (hopefully) become better people. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though Paul is changing for the better, despite his promises to do so. But he's going to have to at some point, at least if he wants to maintain the success he had achieved before the suicide forest video went viral. If he doesn't, YouTube and others are going to keep closing their doors on him. YouTube's latest punishment may be temporary, but if Paul keeps this up, his channel could eventually be terminated.
The thing is, what made him popular in the first place was his quirky, juvenile persona, so his behavior shouldn't surprise anyone. According to YouTube, it believes that his latest videos make him unsuitable for brands. What's more, the platform now considers his content to be potentially damaging for the YouTube community. This suggests that YouTube isn't afraid to turn its back on one of its most popular stars, one with more than 16 million subscribers. That's a lot of ad money YouTube is leaving on the table.
Logan Paul's chances are running out, and he managed to get another strike only three videos in after his monthlong YouTube sabbatical. At this point, though, it's not a matter of if he'll screw up again, but when. And that also may happen sooner than you think.
- This article originally appeared on Engadget.