If the only way that you know about Logan Paul is because of the outrage over his insensitive filming of a presumed suicide victim in Japan's "Suicide Forest," then welcome to the club. I, too, had never heard of the YouTuber before this most recent controversy. It's surprising, though, since this is not Paul's first video to be deemed as less-than-palatable. Looking back, here are three Logan Paul vlog controversies that you probably weren't aware of.
The highly contentious nature of his YouTube video filmed in the Aokigahara Forest in Japan is not where Paul's controversy ends (or even begins). While Paul did release an apology video for the suicide forest video, no such videos will be found for the following mishaps. Before this bombshell, Paul released other videos to his more than 15 million subscribers that also put him in hot water. They didn't garner the same national attention as this most recent one, but they definitely did not sit well some people.
1. Arrested In Rome
Back in October 2017, Paul was in Rome to get overhead footage of the Colosseum, according to Seventeen. There was just one little problem with that plan: flying drones over the Colosseum is illegal.
Better think of a new video angle then, right? Wrong. Even though Paul knew that flying a drone over the ancient Roman amphitheater was illegal, he decided that footage for his vlog superseded the law. Unfortunately for him, the Roman guards didn't share a similar view.
Paul was arrested after losing control of the drone, brought down to police headquarters, and then released a little while later (with his drone). He recounted it all in a video entitled, "I Got Arrested By Italian Police!" In his post, he made sure to say that this wasn't "clickbait," which I guess is true since he was arrested, but another truthful title could have been, "I Knowingly Broke The Law In Italy."
2. Accused Of Stealing Lyrics
After Paul recovered from his brush with the Italian law, he released a song on Oct. 20, 2017 called "No Handlebars," according to We the Unicorns. The song's hook is an adapted version of lyrics from the Flobots' hit, "Handlebars," which was released in 2008, according to Vevo. The original "Handlebars" has lyrics that refer to literally riding a bike without holding onto the handlebars:
I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars.
Paul's version switched it up to replace the words "my bike" with "your girl," and the resulting lyric is:
I can ride your girl with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars
Once the Flobots caught wind of the cover, they were not pleased. They tweeted in November 2017 concerning their apparent displeasure with Paul's, as they put it, "rampant misogyny and tone deaf douchebaggery."
It's likely that part of the tweet is referring to the music video for the song, which includes a scene where Paul has contorted actual women into a "bicycle," and then he proceeds to "ride" them.
So far, there has been no legal action taken on the Flobots' part, but they did record a response music video in December 2017, according to Westword. In it, they address Paul's use of their lyrics with lines like, "You can't handle bars, so you mangle ours," and, "If you like women, don't make a bike from them."
Beyond the song response, there has been no further action.
3. More Trouble In Japan
Paul's problems with respecting the Japanese people and culture weren't exclusive to his time in the Aokigahara Forest. On Jan. 5, a supercut of unseen Japan footage from Paul's vlog was posted by We The Unicorns.
In it, Paul can be seen in Tokyo talking (in a mocking fashion) about the importance of respect in the Japanese culture, and then it cuts to him doing things like smashing a Gameboy and telling the store owner that it is "mucho broken-o" — not cool. He continues throughout the video to show outright disrespect toward the Japanese people through actions big and small.
One of the more grotesque (and at its worst, racist) moments is when Paul puts on a Pikachu costume and throws a plush Pokeball at Japanese citizens. He refers to Tokyo as a "real-life cartoon." Just to be clear, the bright colors and excitement of Tokyo do not change the fact that it's a real city with real people who do not deserve to be treated like pawns in a video game. Unfortunately, there aren't really any instances of Paul truly paying respect to the Japanese culture in this video.
In all of these videos, it appears that Paul is mainly concerned with views and selling merchandise — and not much else. It comes through, too, because while his views may be high, the backlash is not far behind. YouTube recently announced that Paul's Originals are on hold, and he will no longer be featured on Google Preferred. Given that there have been actual consequences to his YouTube career, perhaps Paul will think twice before uploading next time — if he's given the chance.