YouTube Drops Online Star Logan Paul From Premium Advertising

Posted January 10, 2018 9:26 p.m. EST

SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube said on Wednesday that it had dropped Logan Paul, one of its most popular stars, from its top advertising ranks and had suspended production of a YouTube movie that he was supposed to appear in.

Late last month, Paul faced a deluge of criticism after posting a video that appeared to show a dead body hanging from a tree in a Japanese forest known as a destination for suicides. Paul took the video down and apologized for what he called a “misguided” decision.

The move to punish Paul a week after the video surfaced highlights how YouTube, which is owned by Google, is slowly coming to grips with controversial content. The issue is becoming more apparent as the online service replaces television as the main entertainment platform for younger audiences.

Top YouTube stars like Paul, known for pushing the envelope with outlandish behavior that would not be acceptable on mainstream television, present a particular problem. Their antics build an online audience, but can create a cycle of boundary testing as they look for ways to keep their viewers entertained.

“In light of recent events,” said a YouTube spokeswoman, Jessica Mason, Paul was dropped from Google Preferred, which grants content creators access to guaranteed revenue from premium advertisers. She also said YouTube was delaying any projects that it had in the works with Paul, including a sequel to a YouTube movie called “The Thinning.”

YouTube had been criticized for not taking stronger action against Paul. The company had issued a statement saying it prohibited gory or violent videos on the platform and it offered condolences to the family of the young man seen in the video.

Few YouTube stars have built a following more successfully than Paul. With floppy blond hair, a muscular physique and an easygoing personality, Paul has 15.7 million followers for his vlog — a daily video that is a cross between a diary and a reality show.

Paul’s popularity has moved beyond YouTube. He is expected to star in a romantic comedy musical movie called “Valley Girl” later this year, has created songs that have jumped to the top of iTunes charts, and is selling his own Maverick branded merchandise.

Paul has not posted a vlog in a week since he posted an apology video. A spokeswoman for him did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Last year, YouTube dropped another one of its stars, Felix Kjellberg, better known by his YouTube alias PewDiePie, from its top-tier advertising after reports surfaced about anti-Semitic comments he made on video.