Youtuber Logan Paul
says, “Just like everyone in life, people make mistakes, mine happened to be in public and in front of the whole world.” Do influencers have the same right as us to make mistakes?
In recent years, YouTubers and the world of influencers have gathered a large following, weaving their way into the public eye. There is no age limit to following an influencer, there is someone to cater to for everyone. Undoubtedly, you’ll find someone to suit your tastes, feelings and opinions. Influencers are easily found on a wide range of platforms. They have the ability to reach thousands and millions of people instantly via social media, podcasts and online blogs.
However, this may make us question whether we can categorise them as normal people and part of the public sector. An influencer is potentially a celebrity, especially one with an extremely large following, like Logan Paul, Zoella or James Charles. Their viewers (followers or haters) watch their every move, read into anything they say and question their actions. Essentially, an influencer has to be careful and weary. However, what they post is their choice. Therefore, we could argue they are responsible for their mistakes just like a ‘normal’ person is.
Logan Paul and the Suicide Forest
Logan Paul, aged 24, is an extremely controversial Youtuber. He has gained millions in followers and net worth through his ‘entertaining’ videos and ‘mistakes’. With over 19.9 million subscribers, you would think that Paul would be extremely careful with his content. However, back in December 2017, Paul was unfortunately involved in one of the biggest YouTube controversies to date.
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Paul published a video of him and his friends vlogging inside Japan’s ‘suicide forest’. A bad idea in and of itself, you might think. It gets worse. Despite blurring out the face of the corpse, he videotaped the body. Paul received a lot of (deserved) backlash for this video. He was criticised for his lack of respect for the deceased, people who have lost friends and family members to suicide, and those struggling with suicidal thoughts themselves.
Paul recently said, “Just like everyone in life, people make mistakes, mine happened to be in public and in front of the whole world.” With his scandal, it may be difficult to accept the argument he made. He faced a lot of scrutiny in his YouTube comments, on social media, as well as large news platforms reporting on his incident.
Paul apologised on Twitter and took a break from YouTube to ‘reflect’ on his mistake. To some, it’s still shocking that he returned to the large platform. However, by most people, he was forgiven. He’s back to constantly gaining followers and making content his viewers enjoy. Therefore, to some extent regarding his situation, he does have the same right as us to make mistakes.
He made a severe mistake, and it affected many. He was forgiven because he is human, and he learnt from his mistake. Some may argue that if a peer or friend did what Paul did, they wouldn’t forgive them due to the immorality, or perhaps they would, because, in life, everyone makes mistakes.
Social media and mental health
On the other hand, it is important to discuss the hate YouTubers and influencers receive and how that affects their careers and mental health. YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella online, has faced a lot of scrutiny in her over 10 years online on. Sugg has received a lot of backlash for the quality and the prizing of her products from her Zoella beauty line. Fans are easily led to believe she’s only in it for the money.
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From time to time, people don’t think before they comment on social media or YouTube. Often they don’t think about the consequences when leaving their opinion behind. This has affected Zoe Sugg and her mental health, forcing her to stop posting regularly on her YouTube channel, delving into business endeavours instead.
I believe that influences do have the same rights as us when they make a mistake. Yes, they choose to be in the public eye, so their mistakes will receive intense scrutiny. Perhaps they need to be more aware of what they choose to put online and be more careful with their content before publishing it. In society, we are all growing and learning.
As influencers are becoming more and more popular, they are bound to make mistakes in their career for the same reasons. Everything they do is in the spotlight, but the majority of YouTubers use their platform to their advantage. Most influencers, regardless of their mistakes, promote positivity and respect because they understand their influential position. In the public eye, influencers have to be mindful of what they say – like a politician. However, we must not forget they are human and therefore are allowed, like everybody else, to mess up now and again.