By Katherine Holt
YouTube star Logan Paul has recently been receiving heavy backlash due to a series of video blogs from his trip to Japan. In one of such videos, he entered the forest known as the Sea of Trees, a place infamous as a common site of suicide attempts, and filmed a hanging suicide victim who he found in the woods.
In this video, Paul showed utter disrespect for the victim and his family. More recently, a mashup of Paul’s other videos during his trip to Japan has been gaining popularity. Paul is seen making fun of Japanese culture while chasing people with raw fish, jumping on the back of cars and trucks, threatening civilians, screaming in the streets, trashing merchandise and dressing in kimonos to purposely mock the Japanese.
I see juvenile content blow up on the internet just about every day, but the Logan Paul videos really struck a chord with me. Starting at the age of 12, I have been participating in a program called People to People International. Through this program, I have traveled to 10 different countries.
Before each trip, every participant has to attend meetings almost a year before our departure to discuss the different cultures we would be exposed to and how we should handle ourselves in order to best represent the U.S. I had to complete educational courses on every country’s history, government, traditions, religion, table etiquette and art. This way, I knew exactly what I should and should not discuss with locals to avoid disrespecting their culture.
It started all of this when I was 12 years old. Paul is 22 years old. He has been an internet sensation for a few years now, and I can’t help but feel heartbroken when I reflect on the effort that myself and other American travelers have put into respecting other cultures, only for someone like Paul to counteract this progress. I cannot say I have never made mistakes while I was abroad, but as I’ve grown up, I have learned the difference between having fun and being rude, negligent and thoughtless.
Obviously I am not an online sensation and I cannot make an impression on the younger generation like Paul can. Overprivileged, uneducated and disrespectful people like Paul are the faces so many kids are watching on their computer screens.
After receiving backlash for his videos, Paul has actually gained subscribers on YouTube. Many of his fans are eager to forgive Paul because this is not the star they are used to seeing. Because of his massive internet following, Paul makes money from creating these videos, giving him more opportunities to travel. If he continues this trajectory, Paul will continue to misrepresent the U.S. and the values of its citizens.
I believe that for the most part, human beings are good. I have great faith that the American people as a whole are hardworking, kind and respectful individuals. More so now than ever, this is how I hope to represent our nation when abroad. I hope that Paul is able to recognize his mistakes now and learn from them, and that he is able to turn all of this criticism into something positive. America is a great nation with even greater people, and I believe that this will shine through above all else.
“Every view counts, so people should think before supporting him and watching his videos.”