Logan Paul was once the world’s most famous YouTube star. But with one stunt, he lost it all.
Logan Paul was once the world’s most famous YouTube star. But with one stunt, he lost it all.

How Logan Paul lost everything

LESS than a year ago, Logan Paul was one of the biggest internet celebrities on the planet.

The Ohio-born social media entertainer quickly made a name for himself uploading short films and comedy sketches that went viral, and in doing so he amassed a global army of loyal followers.

But with one poor decision late last year, Paul's entire career - his 23 million fans, his multimillion-dollar earnings, his reputation as a funny but ultimately harmless prankster - all came crashing down.

Ten months later, here's what Paul has to say about the controversy.


Logan Paul has revealed he lost $US5 million ($A6.9 million) following the fallout over his "suicide forest" scandal.

Shortly after the January incident, YouTube removed the online star from Google's preferred partner program, Google Preferred.

"I mean, YouTube had to take a stance," Paul told The Hollywood Reporter. "They're not going to let some kid f**k up their ad platform."

Until that point, Paul was a rising sensation. He boasted 23 million YouTube subscribers, and was worth $US13 million, earned mostly through YouTube ad revenue and merchandise sales.

He worked with celebrities like Kevin Hwart and Dwayne Johnson, who appeared in some of his videos, and he had starring roles in TV shows and popular YouTube features. He even made it onto Jimmy Kimmel Live!

But at the end of last year, everything came crashing down.

Paul took a trip to Aokigahara, a sacred forest near Mount Fuji in Japan famous for suicides, and published a video entitled "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest...' shortly after.

The footage featured a dead body, and while the man's face was blurred out, the corpse was on full display.

But Paul hit publish - and with that, he went from a beloved prank star to one of the most hated figures in the online world.

The "suicide forest" video was met with an immediate global backlash, with much of the condemnation coming from Hollywood. Everyone from Games of Thrones' Sophie Turner to Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul was publicly firing up at him over the video.

Paul released a subsequent post apologising for the footage, but as he now admits himself, the damage was done.

"I'm getting texts from friends, family, colleagues, accomplices," he told THR while recalling the outrage. "I'm like, wow, I really f****d up, to a degree that this may be the only thing people remember me by, and that is my worst nightmare."

A still from the infamous “suicide forest” video that brought Logan Paul international condemnation.
A still from the infamous “suicide forest” video that brought Logan Paul international condemnation.

Shortly after the backlash, Paul claimed the entry into the notorious forest wasn't about finding a dead body.

In a January interview with Good Morning America host Michael Strahan, he said it was just meant to be a fun little camping trip.

"The idea was to just do another fun vlog, go camp for a night and make an entertaining piece of content in a forest, and things obviously changed pretty drastically and quickly," he said.

Strahan asked Paul about the many stages he went through - filming, editing and then uploading it - and why no alarm bells went off.

"The idea was to shock and show the harsh realities of suicide and get people talking about something that I don't think people are talking about much and still that's the goal today," he responded.


Prior to the suicide forest controversy, Paul warned his "behaviour" would one day get the better of him, by none other than his ex-girlfriend actress Chloe Bennet.

He told THR the pair had a fight the week before they were supposed to go to Tokyo together.

According to Paul, the pair had an argument because he wanted them to stay in different hotels.

Bennet then said: "Yo, this behaviour is going to bite you in the ass. I don't know how, I don't know when, but you're going to crash and burn."

Later that month, the scandal brought him down, and Bennet was proved correct.

Paul has been working to rebuild his reputation since the scandal broke - but it hasn't been easy.

In early February, he released his first YouTube video since the Aokigahara scandal - an unrelenting attempt to make light of the situation.

Over the 12-minute vlog, Paul laughed off his critics and bragged about his increased following in the aftermath of the fierce backlash.

The new video described his return as an "epic comeback", saying "the era of boring Youtube content is over" and "the lit-ness level will rise once again".

"The haters are stronger than ever!" he added mockingly. "No matter how much hate or comments from random strangers I've never even seen or heard of in my life - 'Logan, you're trash, you're garbage, rot in hell, die, hang yourself' - it's noise to me.

"I will never, ever forget who I am at my core and no one can make me think I'm something otherwise. And as long as I'm learning and improving and getting better as a person, then we good."

The social media reaction was largely negative, with commentators deeming it "disrespectful" and "trash".

Later that month, his reputation deteriorated further after he uploaded videos of himself tasering two dead rats and removing a live fish from water to "perform CPR" on it.

YouTube promptly suspended all advertising on his channel in response, and once again, the social media backlash was fierce.

Even the recent THR interview came with its share of criticism. Buzzfeed News' deputy director David Mack called it "the whitest mannest thing I have ever read".


Paul is still vlogging on YouTube but he's passed his peak.

He said he would never leave the video-sharing site for another one, like Snapchat. "I don't want to be a Snapchat star," he said. "I barely want to be a YouTube star."

His new plan is to produce a podcast in the near-future, which will presumably have a similar style to his video content.

But until that happens, he's got one message for those who say his career is over: "Good luck trying to cancel me."

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