Casey Neistat just released a lengthy, unedited interview with Logan Paul, the controversial YouTuber whose video from the Japanese “suicide forest” in January earned worldwide scorn.
Months later, Logan Paul wants to tell people about the circumstances that made it happen. He’s making a documentary about his ascent to fame, and the way having millions of supportive fans can blind you.
At around 19 minutes, Neistat asks Paul about a supercut of his trip to Japan, for which he criticized for and said to have severely disrespected Japanese culture. Paul gets extremely defensive, arguing with all his might that his actions were not culturally insensitive, but rather just plain insensitive.
“There’s a difference between being culturally insensitive — being insensitive towards a culture — and being insensitive,” Paul said, later explaining that he laughed during the suicide video as “a defense mechanism.”
“It’s about a story of a young man from Ohio, a seemingly regular kid, falling into the social-media machine over the past four years,” Paul told Neistat. “Becoming the most hated man in the snap of a finger. The question that the doc answers is how do you recover from that? Can you recover from that?”
Neistat pushed back on Paul, asking whether or not this was a ploy designed to earn Paul sympathy from an audience that, as he said in the video, may “want me to crawl into a hole and die forever.”
After watching Paul’s responses in the interview, many people had a hard time feeling like the YouTuber had grown as a person or learned much from his fall from the top.
So when Paul asked Casey Neistat to appear in that forthcoming documentary, Neistat agreed on the condition that Paul sit down for an interview himself. The video is unmonetized and uncut, Neistat tells The Verge, because he wanted it to be real.
“I personally felt the impact of Logan’s actions as a creator,” Neistat said in a phone call last night. “I personally felt some degree of shame — I was embarrassed to say I was a YouTuber.”
“I FORGOT TO BE A HUMAN BEING… AND INSTEAD DECIDED TO BE A CONTENT CREATOR.”
“My intention was to see if he is sincere or if the whole thing is a charade for PR, and after watching this whole thing over and over, I’m still not sure,” Neistat says in the video. “To be totally honest, I am still not sure releasing it is the right thing.”
Asked last night if he thinks Paul has grown out of this self-destructive cycle, all Neistat would say was “I believe now that he understands the consequences of his actions.”
The entire interview — totally uncut and complete with interruptions from passing emergency sirens, audio issues, and asides to the camera operators — is worth watching. Referring to himself as “the most hated man in the world,” Paul says he’s making a “redemption story.”
“Is it possible for Logan Paul to make a comeback or am I going to be a failed YouTuber?” asks Paul. “I got so caught up with my actions of being validated by millions of people I forgot to be a human being in that situation and instead decided to be a content creator.”
“THAT’S WHY I’M A BRAND — THAT’S WHO LOGAN PAUL IS.”
But he’s still Logan Paul, the brash YouTuber who also explains the conflict between what he says he wants and what he’s actually doing by saying “That’s why I’m a brand — that’s who Logan Paul is. I bridge the gap between being a motivational speaker for kids, and saying, yeah, I am a fucking kid. I’m 23 years old and if I want to go jump out of a plane naked, I’m going to go fucking do it. But at the same time you can work hard and achieve your goals.”
It’s also clear Paul still hasn’t fully come to grips with the whole of the controversy surrounding him. For one, the documentary seems premature — and Neistat says as much. But Neistat also pushes Paul on the other parts of his trip to Japan, reminding him that he dressed up as Pikachu and jumped on the hoods of cars. Paul’s answer? “There’s a difference between being culturally insensitive — being insensitive towards a culture — and being insensitive,” Paul says, further claiming that his laughing at the dead body in the forest was really a “defense mechanism.”
“To my fellow creators, wholeheartedly, I am sorry I brought shame upon the platform,” he says. “I promise I will do the community well and keep on trucking and bring light to YouTube.”
“I PROMISE I WILL DO THE COMMUNITY WELL AND BRING LIGHT TO YOUTUBE.”
Part of the disconnect comes from the reality of Paul’s last six months. Since the Japan videos, the older Paul brother successfully pivoted to another stunt: he’s spent months hyping up what he’s calling the biggest event in the history of YouTube.
The plan, which will unfold on August 25th, is to box against YouTuber KSI, who has 19 million subscribers. To promote it, the pair have been doing a series of press conferences where they both talk shit to rile up their fans. The first event, which happened in June 2018, was not great. Even so, it was better than the event that happened in July in the UK. That was brutal: Paul barely got any words in, and instead was largely subjected to cruel taunts that visibly made him tear up. Things also reportedly got