Twitter erupted in outrage on Friday when on his Impaulsive Podcast, Logan Paul said that he was going to practice “Male only March” and attempt to “go gay” for one month. If you don’t know who Logan Paul is, I am envious of your blissful unawareness. Logan Paul first became famous on the now defunct social media platform, Vine. From there, he became a social media star and started his own YouTube channel, which to date, has over 18.7 million subscribers. (For reference, that is more people than the entire population of Beijing.) But, to give you a sense of who Logan Paul really is, here are some facts about him according to his Wikipedia page, which is a wild read by the way, for anyone brave enough:
1. He has an amateur boxing record of one match, which was declared a draw
2. After being evicted from West Hollywood after numerous complaints from neighbours, he purchased a mansion in Encino, CA for $6.5 million where he allegedly lives with 20 other people
3. He allegedly is missing 15% of his right testicle from doing a stunt
4. YouTube temporarily suspended his ad revenue because of his pattern of behavior including tasering two dead rats, performing CPR on a fish, and releasing a parody song where he objectifies women by riding on them like bicycles
5. He posted a video of the corpse of a man who had committed suicide in a forest in Japan. He elicited intense reactions online due to his insensitivity towards suicide victims.
Note to Lainey: I have lost years of my life researching this article.
Logan Paul is the same age as me. Logan Paul is also an incredible idiot. He is an example of how, when unchecked privilege is afforded overnight celebrity status, it can create the worst type of person: someone with incredible influence but without the perspective or integrity to make proper use of it. So when I read the headlines about his intention to “Go Gay for One Month,” I was annoyed, but not surprised. I have come to expect very little from Logan Paul, and he rarely even registers on my radar. In fact, when you watch that video, the joke barely even has an effect. Logan’s comment doesn’t seem out of place in the segment; it’s rather underwhelming and he immediately moves past it to the next topic. (Side note: His podcast is painful to watch. Why do straight guys feel the need to punctuate their sentences with “bro”? It’s almost like they need to constantly affirm the platonic status of their male relationships to dissuade anyone from even momentarily thinking that they might be gay.)
What caught my attention about this story is how Logan delivers this joke. What Logan Paul says doesn’t really matter. What’s important is what his fans hear. His audience is primarily made up of young teenaged/tweenaged boys, mostly ranging from 8 – 14 year-olds. The demographics of his “Logang” show the incredible amount of influence he has on how young people view and interact with the world around them. Logan made a gay joke. And Logan Paul is teaching his fans how to trivialize homosexuality. He’s showing them that gayness is always the joke. That being gay is a choice. That it is a fad to try rather than an experience that can tragically, for many, be accompanied by violence and emotional trauma. The worst part is that he shows them that this behaviour is normal. When you trivialize being gay, kids in Logan’s audience questioning their sexuality internalize this as self-hatred. The others learn to perpetuate it among their social and professional circles.
As I was researching this article, I came across this tweet:
that shit logan paul said about going gay was literally a joke why are there articles about it— carter⚡ (@10feettalI) January 13, 2019
This person’s right. It is just a joke. But jokes are the first step in creating a culture that excludes, humiliates, and even harms a group of people. Logan has since “apologized” for his actions, if you can call it that.
very poor choice of words... my fault. let’s get together and talk about it on my podcast next week? https://t.co/Ki8RKgMJOO— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 12, 2019
I’m skeptical, because he’s apologized in the past before, yet little has changed, and he’s leveraging this apology to create new content on his podcast! The point of outrage and criticism is not to elicit a half-assed apology. Logan Paul is going to continue to do dumb things for the rest of his life. But if this reaction can stop his fans from following in his footsteps, then maybe we’ve actually accomplished something useful.