YouTube Blocks Ads From Logan Paul Videos Over Latest Tasteless Antics

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Logan Paul was already under fire for a video that was insensitive to suicide victims.
Logan Paul was already under fire for a video that was insensitive to suicide victims. Credit: Logan Paul YouTube

Logan Paul can no longer run ads on his YouTube channel, the video service announced Friday, saying he had repeatedly violated its rules.

YouTube said it was penalizing Paul for posting videos in which he tasered a dead rat and "encouraged followers to do the Tide Pod challenge" (that's eating laundry detergent).

"After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily suspend ads on Logan Paul's YouTube channels," a YouTube spokeswoman said in an e-mail statement. "This is not a decision we made lightly, however, we believe he has exhibited a pattern of behavior in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers, but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community."

At the start of the year, Paul was heavily criticized and subsequently punished by YouTube for a video that seemed to make light of suicide when he showed a dead body in a Japanese forest notorious for suicides.

The video was fiercely derided online and by fellow YouTube personalities, and eventually led YouTube to kick Paul's channel out of its premium video network, Google Preferred, which is designed to only offer higher-quality videos for brands to run ads.

Paul is one of the most popular video creators on the site with 16 million subscribers. His videos are typical YouTube fare, showing him talking to the camera, doing pranks, performing stunts and hawking his "merch" like t-shirts.

A recent analysis of both Paul and his brother Jake Paul's videos revealed examples of references to weapons, drugs, profanity and other offensive speech, according to Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo, a social video analytics and monetization platform.

"We found in our set that they had unsafe language in 92 percent of the videos, and 62 percent of videos had unsafe material," Cicero says.

Paul stopped posting videos for two weeks following the backlash to his suicide video, and when he returned to the site he promised $1 million to help anti-suicide causes.

However, he quickly reverted to less high-minded subjects for his videos. In one recent video he complains that the attacks against him were a form of cyberbullying. He also said his exile from Google Preferred cut his earning potential from ads in half.

Google Preferred is reserved for the top channels on YouTube, and is more expensive for advertisers.

The program has been under its own cloud, even before Paul. YouTube had never been fully transparent about what channels reached the Preferred level, and when advertisers looked into it they found many videos fell short of the "premium" promise. YouTube is now vetting the program more closely and giving advertisers full reports on where ads appear.

The problems with Preferred followed last year's boycott by some brands after reporters found ads running on offensive videos with terrorist and racist themes.

YouTube has spent the past year adopting new safeguards to keep ads off objectionable channels, and offer advertisers more control over where their ads run.

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