By: Carla Herreria
YouTube on Wednesday announced that it will drop Paul's YouTube channels, which have a combined subscriber count of more than 20 million, from its Google Preferred program, gaming news site Polygon reported. Google Preferred gives YouTube's most popular accounts access to premium advertisers and the ability to earn higher revenue.
As part of the punishment, YouTube axed the 22-year-old from roles he had in the platform's scripted programming, including the fourth season of the YouTube Red show "Foursome." The company also put on hold a project for a feature-length movie starring Paul, "The Thinning: New World Order." YouTube released the prequel, "The Thinning," in 2016.
Although his YouTube channels are being dropped from Google Preferred, Paul's videos will still be eligible to earn money through YouTube's normal monetization program, a company spokesman confirmed to The Guardian.
Paul faced a firestorm of criticism after he published a vlog featuring his trip to the Aokigahara forest, known as the "suicide forest," on the slopes of Mount Fuji. In the 15-minute video, Paul and his friends enter the forest and discover the body of a man who appears to have killed himself.
The vlogger blurred the man's face, but the body could be clearly seen. The video earned 6 million views within 24 hours.
Logan claimed he published the video in an attempt to spread mental health awareness, though thousands of people, including a number of celebrities, were disgusted by the video's tone (Paul and his friend continued to laugh and make jokes throughout the episode).
Days after it was posted, a Change.org petition earned more than 190,000 signatures from people urging YouTube to pull Logan's account from the platform.
Responding to the backlash, Paul issued an apology on Twitter, claiming he didn't publish the video for attention.
"I didn't do it for the views. I get views," Paul said in his statement. "I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity."
"I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video," he added. "I still am."
Before Wednesday, YouTube was also facing criticism from those who argued the company wasn't doing enough to punish Paul.
The company published an "open letter" to its community on Tuesday that neither mentioned Paul's name nor listed what consequences he would face.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.