Top 15 Times YouTubers Have Crossed the Line
Logan Paul very well may have ended his career this week. As you’ve probably heard, he visited the “famous” suicide forest in Japan for his daily vlog and almost immediately came upon a dead body that seemed to had died recently. Instead of, you know, doing the decent thing and putting the cameras down and calling the police (or an ambulance as they thought he might’ve still been alive, to the point that they started yelling out to him to see if he was F***** with them) he continued to film from close up angles while feigning panic and even laughing after stating “What, you’ve never stood next to a dead body before?”. Despite the fact that be blurred out the body and that YouTube selected the video for it’s “Trending” list, the backlash was immediate, swift and incredibly damaging to his bottom line. So, let’s take a look at 15 times that YouTubers crossed the line and maybe even ended their careers.
15. Don’t Drive and Vlog
There are countless examples of people with small online followings or people that are just on Facebook live, crashing their cars and killing themselves or their passengers because they’re not paying attention to the road. One of the most recent and horrible examples of this was the young woman who was driving drunk with her little sister in the backseat while on Facebook Live. Her car flipped and her little sister was ejected from the vehicle and died instantly. The driver kept filming and kept saying things like she knew she was going to jail forever and basically was “representing” for her neighborhood. It was beyond odd and a lot of people chalked it up to shock, but the fact that she kept pushing her sisters head back and forth while she could’ve had a neck injury, was beyond shock. There was a relatively large vlogger from the UK named Zoella who was one of the first people to come under fire for vlogging while driving. She filmed herself in 2014, driving around with her boyfriend and her pet pugs, while paying more attention to the camera than the road. She was completely destroyed by authorities who said that she “could’ve killed someone” and based on the outcome of the above story, she’s probably lucky she didn’t.
14. Jake Paul’s Racist Comment
Before Logan Paul’s aforementioned fiasco, Jake Paul was thought to be the Eric Trump of the Paul family. Logan was the older, wiser (it’s all relative) and less controversial of the two, especially back in early 2017 when it was extremely popular to hate on Jake Paul. While some of that was just people following the leader, there were things that the younger Paul did that were objectively terrible. A perfect example of this came while he was filming his self-driving car going through the drive-thru without a driver as a “prank”. A fan of Paul’s noticed him and while they were still filming, the fan asked “Hi, can you put this on your blog, please?” to which Paul responded “Where are you from?” and the fan said “I am from Kazakhstan, originally”, Paul’s response was well thought out, nuanced and focused on the history of not only Kazakhstan but the region as a whole. Just kidding, he said “it sounds like you’re just going to blow someone up. Send the nuke!” That’s obviously not something you should say to anyone, let alone a child who is a fan of yours. While the younger Paul survived this, it showed that he (like Logan) really isn’t a “bad” person, per se, as he doesn’t have any ill intent, he’s just not very smart and it is something that’ll continually come back to bite him as he films himself basically 12 hours a day and that makes for a lot of comments like the one above.
13. Jake Paul on the News
There was nothing that could’ve made Jake Paul look not only worse, but also look exactly like the people who dislike him thought he did, than when he appeared on the local news in Los Angeles back in early 2017. It was the height of the anti-Jake Paul movement, and the station was doing a story on the “Team 10 House” and the complaints that the neighbors (in the upper-class neighborhood) had about the house and the people living there. Beyond the constant stream of preteens waiting outside for a glimpse of their dull hero, there were constant pranks and parties that were essentially driving the neighborhood crazy. Paul acted like a toddler on meth in front of the cameras, climbing on top of the news van and responding “Why?” when he was told to get down like that ginger kid in your kindergarten class that you couldn’t stand. He essentially proved all the negative optics about him and it was so bad that the Disney Channel essentially fired him from his role on the TV show Bizaardvark. While he attempted to spin it as him leaving so he could pursue more “adult roles”, it seemed like that excuse wasn’t going to happen as actor/writer Seth Rogen Tweeted that he’d never, ever work with Paul. Ouch.
12. Tana Mongeau Crashes $150,000 Car While Driving High
Tana Mongeau, who is best known for rocking skimpy outfits and for getting destroyed by idubbbztv, attempted to go after idubbbz for his frequent use of the N-Word. The thing about attempting to shun someone morally is that you’d better not have any skeletons in your closet because you have to be squeaky clean if you want to be the arbiter of what’s right and wrong. Of course because she films herself every day, there is video of her also saying the N-word, but in a different context and way that is much more demeaning and harmful (not to diminish what idubbbz is doing, it’s really his main flaw, but he believes in free speech and that’s his point, Mongeau’s point was… Racism). Beyond that, one thing you shouldn’t do is drive a $150,000 car for the first time, while high. Or rather, film yourself driving that car and talking about how high you are that you can’t even understand stop signs. So, of course, she crashed the car, and while it wasn’t totaled and everyone was fine, she basically filmed a crime and also lost any ability to talk down to anyone basically ever.
11. DaddyofFive Loses Custody of Their Children, Becomes DaddyofNone
The popular “prank” YouTube channel DaddyofFive was a different kind of prank channel. No, they didn’t go out and “prank” people on the street, or remove stop signs/give wedgies to strangers and get arrested for it, they actually just played pranks on their kids… Hardcore pranks. In a world where people become obsessed with getting views, a lot of just common sense and decency seems to be thrown out the window and this is a perfect example of that. A lot of their videos showed the married couple, Mike and Heather Martin, screaming profanities at their kids, breaking their toys to “prank” them (these kids were all around or under 10 years old) and angrily blaming them for things they didn’t do (but rather that they had done) to the point that their kids would weep while professing their innocence. People noticed the uptick in “pranks” that bordered on abuse and the Maryland Frederick County Sherrif’s Office (and Office of Child Protective Services) ended up getting involved, while the Baltimore police also started their own investigation for child abuse. They ended up losing custody of their five kids and getting their Youtube channel banned (something I bet they care more about), which is the right move and is something that YouTube hasn’t been very consistent about (see #1 on this list).
10. Canadian Vlogger Marcelstjean Pulls a Logan Paul… Years Before Paul
This story is eerily similar to that of Logan Paul’s current predicament. Canadian vlogger Marcel St. Jean (or marcelstjean as he’s known) was doing his vlog thing while walking to a rib festival in Severn Ontario. While walking to the festival he noticed a few super drunk men stumbling around on the street. Three of the men were able to walk/stumble good enough to get out of range of stjean’s camera, but there were two others that were lying motionless on the ground. As he approached the two men on the ground, one responded to his questions but one didn’t. He attempted to wake up the other man and suddenly realized that he had died at least a few hours before. He did blur out his face out of “respect” but he still posted the video online, and people were furious. The video, titled “Some People Still Care.” is actually still live on YouTube and you can find it if you want to, but it’s incredibly sad. Some vloggers believe that their job is to document their day to day and if that includes running into a dead body, then it’s part of the day to day. This is different from Paul’s video, in that he randomly stumbled across the body, whereas Paul specifically went to look for a dead body and also basically was Logan Paul when he found it (meaning he was obnoxious and only not constantly shaking his head to make his hair look wind-swept because he was wearing a freaking hat from Toy Story).
9. The Death of Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales
Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales was a Mexican Youtube sensation. The 17-year-old was mostly known for getting extremely drunk (I’m not kidding) in his videos and because of his ability to drink copious amount of alcohol (at the age of 17), he became something of a celebrity. He appeared in multiple music videos for famous Mexican musicians and became so popular that he essentially started a debate about underage drinking in Mexico and his influence on it. That drinking lead to a false sense of invincibility, as did his newfound fame, money and hangers-on. For some reason, after downing a lot of booze, he decided to insult the head of the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco, known as “El Mencho”. In that video he said “El Mencho a mi me pela la verga”, which means, basically, “El Mencho, peel my c***”. I’m sure something is lost in translation there, but apparently, it’s an insult down Mexico way. It didn’t take long for El Mencho to see the video, and as Rosales partied at a bar with a large group of friends a group of armed men stormed the bar and shot Rosales between 15 and 18 times. While prosecutors have said that they are unsure of the motive behind the crime, it’s pretty obvious that he insulted the wrong person. That vlog life!
8. A Chinese Daredevil Falls to His Death
While it’s debatable as to whether this Chinese daredevil, whose name was Wu Yongning, was posting his videos on YouTube, his final video has racked up millions of clicks on Youtube so I suppose that counts. Wu Yongning was a martial arts-trained stuntman that had performed in multiple films but found that he could make more money by scaling skyscrapers without any safety equipment in order to get amazing videos and selfies. Someone had offered him $15,000 if he were able to scale a 62-story building in the Chinese city of Changsha. He was close to getting married and thought that the money could help him do that while also helping his family, so he made his way up the building and prepared to do his normal stunts. The first of which was him typically hanging from the ledge of a building and performing pull-ups. He was seen wiping down the ledge before he lowered himself down, which implies that it might have been wet. He struggled to perform the pull-ups he’d done thousands of times before and eventually, after attempting to find some leverage with his legs, lost his grip and plummeted to his death. This is yet another sign of how unchecked vlogging (especially with massive payouts like this one) is beginning to show the dark side of society, with Logan Paul’s video being the best example of that. It’s like a fight for the lowest common denominator and people are dying, for clicks and views?
7. The Death of Pedro Ruiz III
This is definitely the saddest case on this list. While the consequences were definitely worse than the others on this list, the couple weren’t really that well known on YouTube and while that sounds extremely superficial, it does factor into how this list was created. If you don’t recall this story, it’s incredibly horrible and ended so badly for everyone involved. The couple, Pedro Ruiz III and Monalisa Perez, were looking for a way to find more subscribers on YouTube and it was said that Ruiz III had been pestering his girlfriend to shoot him with a .50 caliber handgun, with only a pretty thick book protecting his chest from the extremely powerful bullet. Perez Tweeted before the stunt that the “dangerous” plan was “HIS idea not MINE”, which definitely will come into play later. The couple, which lived in rural Minnesota and tried to post pranks but really didn’t have enough people around them to do so, had a 3-year old daughter (while Perez was pregnant with their second child). The couple set up a GoPro camera on the back of a car and another camera on a nearby ladder, according to police who saw the video(s). Ruiz placed the book on his chest and Perez picked up the .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun and fired once into the book. Ruiz had practiced with a book but had shot from farther away than the 1-foot distance that Perez shot him from, and the book, an encyclopedia, was penetrated easily and Ruiz III was hit directly in the heart. He died almost instantly. Perez was charged (and plead guilty to) second-degree manslaughter , her plea agreements calls for her to serve six months in jail and have 10 years of supervised probation. What a stupid, stupid tragedy.
6. Trollstation’s “Heist”
The members of Trollstation thought they had a great idea for a prank. Three of them, Daniel Jarvis, Ebenezer Mensah entered the National Portrait Gallery and pulled tights over their heads while shouting “Let’s get the paintings” back in July of 2015. The paintings they were grabbing/stealing were actually fakes that they had smuggled into the gallery, however, the people around them didn’t realize this and it created pandemonium in the museum to the point that one woman actually passed out (and dozens of others were completely terrified). This isn’t the first brush with the law that the Trollstation fellas had dealt with, as one member, Van Le, was jailed for 24 weeks in March of that year for a bomb hoax he perpetuated for clicks and views. The group, who had over 700k subscribers at the point of their arrest, worked with Van Le (who brought the fake and “ridiculous” paintings into the museum). Le was accompanied by an unidentified female and she was put in a headlock during the theft (which is probably why that other woman passed out). They all admitted to two counts of using threatening or abusive words and behavior which caused fear or unlawful violence (in London’s magistrate’s court). Jarvis was jailed for 20 weeks, while Ferizolli was jailed for 16 weeks. Gomes and Mensah were also each jailed for a total of 18 weeks.
5. Sam Pepper’s Groping “Prank”
Sam Pepper was one of the better known “prank” channels on YouTube. Like most prank channels, his pranks were basically all staged. Despite that, the owners/stars of these channels refuse to admit that their content is fake/staged. That was the situation that Pepper found himself in after his groping prank went viral for all the wrong reasons. He went around in a hoodie, with a fake arm inside of one of the sleeves and his real arm underneath that, so he could basically grope random women on the street. What he was doing was essentially sexual assault, if real, so really the only way he could defend himself would’ve been to admit that he paid the women to appear in his videos/allow the groping. It was a gigantic Catch-22 that made the situation worse for Pepper, who will appear later in this list as he completely destroyed his career not long after this video.
4. Charles Ross Gets Arrested
Now, there are fake “pranksters” like Sam Pepper and then there are real pranksters like Charles Ross that essentially just exist to remind the fake pranksters why they stage their pranks. Ross was known for pushing the envelope with his pranks (for example, he removed a stop sign in one of his videos and then asked his followers for the fees he’d need after getting arrested… Savage? I guess?) and one time he pushed that envelope too far. He set his camera behind two police officers who were sitting on what appeared to be a picnic table at a park. He ran behind them, jumped on the table and did a pretty slick parkour flip. One of the cops responded to him by saying that if he did that again he’d “break his neck”, and then once he realized that Ross filmed the “prank” they attempted to arrest him while Ross attempted to flee. That was a bad move. He was also arrested for the stop sign “prank” and also for giving wedgies outside of a movie theater, which brought the charge of battery and a bail of $7,500 (and a bond of $750). Perhaps he needs to start faking his stuff?
3. Sam Pepper’s Murder “Prank”
This is the “prank” that ended Pepper’s career. In it, he essentially set up a situation where he and his best friend were “kidnapped” and eventually the kidnapper “shot” Pepper in the head. His friend’s reaction was genuine and horrible, as he felt that his best friend had been murdered in front of him, while also thinking that he’d be killed next. While Pepper had been criticized for his fake stunts, you could tell that the reaction(s) in this video was genuine, unless his friend was the best actor of all-time. The reaction was immediately negative and it essentially shunned Pepper from posting any more videos. He did take a break and then attempted a comeback, but it appears that people are tired of his mix of fake and genuinely upsetting “pranks”, or his new vlog style. The viewers of YouTube are fickle and really it’s all based on their perception of you as a human being. From your looks, your personality, your heart. Once people figure out that you’re essentially a bad person, things begin to fall apart. Pepper is the best example of that on this list.
2. PewDiePie’s “N”-Word
PewDiePie could be on this list multiple times, but this was the best choice of his multiple snafus as it was the most recent and the most blatant. In the past, the things he had done to lose sponsors, partnerships (most famously with Disney) and also the additional money he was receiving as a top-tier content provider on YouTube, were all done as “jokes”. The most famous of those jokes was when he attempted to see how far people would go on Fiverr.com (a site that offers gigs for (starting at) $5). He found two young men in a third world country and paid them $5 to hold up a sign that said “Death to All Jews”, he defended the “joke” by saying that he was simply “trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online.” His fans mostly believed him and his sub count kept growing essentially at the same rate it did before. However, his most recent racist incident occurred while he was live-streaming a video game and while he was attempting to kill another player he referred to them as a “N*****”. That was a subconscious slip that showed that it’s something he’s said before, and even if it’s something that’s common in the online video game community, it shows a side to PewDiePie that is really just dark and sad.
1. Logan Paul in Japan
Of course you knew that this would be the top entry on this list, as it’s really the reason this list exists in the first place. This was perhaps the most poorly handled scandal in recent memory and you’d think that considering the money that Paul was bringing in (emphasis on “was”), that there’d be some people behind the scenes giving him some sort of common sense guidance. The fact is, many popular (and otherwise) vloggers have visited the “suicide forest” and there’s also been documentaries about the people that go into the forest to find bodies. However, the difference is that those videos (by vloggers) didn’t find any actual dead bodies and the documentaries were done with a certain level of respect and decorum. Paul clearly was looking solely for clicks (despite the de-monetization of the video and his disclaimer at the beginning that the video wasn’t “click bait”). Beyond his abhorrent behavior by the body, his apology afterwards was on par with Kevin Spacey’s recent “apology”. He attempted to claim that he was simply trying to raise “awareness of suicide” by showing the body to his audience, which is mostly children. It’ll be interesting to see if Paul can bounce back, he does have a very fervent and loyal audience, however if parents start paying attention to what their kids are watching on Youtube, Paul might lose some subscribers. And considering that he lost all of his sponsors, he might have to find a day job sometime in the near future.