Apology

What You Can Learn From This YouTube Star's Apology Debacle

Logan Paul said he was sorry -- twice -- after he seemingly filmed and posted video of the body of a person who had committed suicide.
What You Can Learn From This YouTube Star's Apology Debacle
Image credit: Jason LaVeris | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

We may only be a couple of days into 2018, but we already have our first public apology on the books. That dishonor goes to Logan Paul, a 22-year-old YouTube star with more than 15 million subscribers.

Paul filmed his visit to Aokigahara, a forest near Mt. Fuji in Japan, which has gained notoriety for being the site of hundreds of suicides. The video Paul posted on Dec. 31 on YouTube was titled, “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” and it was viewed 6.3 million times in the 24 hours after it went live. Paul has since removed the video from the site.

According to New York Magazine, Paul, who included a link to the American Society for Suicide Prevention, introduced the video thusly: “This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel...I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever...Now with that said: Buckle the fuck up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again!”

Related: 7 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Build Their Brands on YouTube

Paul has a following made up of predominantly young kids and teens and is best known for comedy sketches, pranks and being the older brother of fellow social media star Jake Paul, who has been in the news recently for offenses ranging from racism, bullying and abuse and property damage, the last of which led to his firing from his Disney Channel series.

Logan Paul’s most recent raft of tweets is akin to watching a dawning of realization and regret in real time. The first, posted at 7 p.m. on Jan. 1, is an announcement of his latest vlog.

The second, posted three hours later, is a photo of an apology written in the iPhone notes app that starts with an “I’m sorry,” and an explanation of the intent behind the video, without ever specifically saying that what he did was wrong.

The closest he comes to admitting wrongdoing is this: “I am often reminded of how big a reach I truly have & with great power comes great responsibility...for the first time in my life, I’m regretful to say I handled that power incorrectly. It won’t happen again.” The apology includes a profanity, a peace sign emoji and the hashtag for what Paul calls his fanbase --  #Logang4Life.

And then there was the final tweet of the trilogy, posted at 11:45 a.m. on Jan. 2, a video message featuring a serious and chagrined Paul front and center.

“I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in judgement. And I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize," he says in the video. "There are a lot of things that I should have done differently, and I didn’t. And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry."

He continues, "For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended. … In the world I live in, I share almost everything I do. The intent is never to be heartless, cruel or malicious. Like I said, I made a huge mistake. I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m just here to apologize. I’m ashamed of myself. I’m disappointed in myself. And I promise to better. I will be better. Thank you.”

So what can you take away from Paul’s experience? First off, it's always a good practice to have a sounding board outside of your circle to review anything you post online. If do you make a mistake, admit it right away. Don’t hide behind your past successes or what you meant to happen when you took a particular action. Don’t make excuses for your behavior. Make amends until you get it right. And remember that there is a big difference between “I’m sorry you were offended,” and “I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

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