10 January 2018
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After Logan Paul uploaded a video that featured the body of a person who apparently died by suicide to YouTube, many (rightfully) criticized the decision. Critics spoke out on behalf of those affected by suicide, as well as against Logan’s general exploitation of Aokigahara Forest. A petition called for his YouTube channel to be taken down, and Shannon Purser called his actions “depraved.”

But it seems even this kind of negative publicity still doesn’t affect white men as much as it should, as Logan’s YouTube subscribers increased at a faster rate than usual right after the incident. Debby Ryan views this lenience as a problem in of itself. In a lengthy Instagram post, she called out what she perceives as a cultural of tolerance for the carelessness Logan showcased in the video.

“Can we please stop glorifying remorselessly irresponsible people?” she wrote. “I understand talking about it; it’s an important conversation, I think. It’s uncomfortable at best and deeply triggering at worst, and not just for those of us who’ve been convinced by volatile depression and dissociation to engage in selfish, hopeless behavior. But this kid’s gotten tens of thousands of NEW subscribers SINCE this controversy. That’s problematic. Rewarding these monsters with money, support, and making them famous. Glamorizing social recklessness and being surprised when their addiction to shock factor crosses lines.”

She also pointed out how Logan’s white male privilege may afford him less criticism than more-disadvantaged groups. “We’re so quick to justify and defend and shield ignorant straight white dudes with cameras and loud voices from consequences, while nitpicking marginalized voices into unrealistic accountability,” she explained. “That silences the voices we need right now. Sharing opinions, spreading information, and desperate education is so, so important in 2018, for the youth, and for the government. For the future and to honor the strides we’ve made. And when you have a big platform, IGNORANCE IS ACTUAL MALICE.”

Logan has issued two apologies and announced that he’s taking a break from YouTube to reflect. Still, as Debby points out, it’s important to also look at the larger context that allowed for the video and its large audience. It’s not just Logan that could stand to reflect and change; it’s our whole culture.

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