April 1, 1995
Westlake, Ohio, United States
Logan Paul parlayed his talent for brief bursts of physical comedy into an enormously popular and financially profitable career as a YouTube personality and occasional film and television actor, until an unexpected scandal cut his burgeoning career short. Born Logan Alexander Paul on April 1, 1995 in Westlake, Ohio, he reportedly began making internet videos for a YouTube channel at the age of 10, but focused most of his teenaged energy on scholastic sports, with a particular focus on football and wrestling. Paul put aside these interests after enrolling at Ohio University, where he studied industrial engineering and maintaining a modest presence on YouTube. His standing on the social media site changed dramatically when he entered a short, six-second video created on the internet video sharing service Vine into a contest sponsored by Virgin Mobile. His entry proved to be one of the most shared videos in the contest, and by the end of 2013, his Vine account had over one million followers viewing and sharing his comic efforts, which largely hinged on broad slapstick comedy or Paul placing himself in harm's way, with decidedly nerve-rattling results. By 2014, he had over 3.1 million followers on social media platforms, with 150,000 alone on YouTube, where his first Vine compilation was viewed four million times in a single week. Such a sizable audience made Paul an extremely attractive showcase for companies, and he soon began earning thousands of dollars from advertising revenue. In 2015, he was named the tenth most influential figure on Vine, while his YouTube channels - which split into two outlets, one devoted to his comedy sketches and the other a daily video blog, or "vlog" - were followed by 4.36 million and 15.7 million viewers, respectively, by 2018. Interest from film and television studios was a natural next step for Paul, though his acting roles outside of YouTube Red productions like the science fiction thriller "The Thinning" (2016) were limited to guest appearances on series like "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). Social media remained his most popular showcase, and in this capacity, he enjoyed a successful partnership with Dwayne Johnson on a series of 2017 shorts that detailed, in comic broad strokes, why his guest appearances in all of Johnson's films had been removed from the final release. But a pair of controversial videos posted that same year did much to undermine his shot at mainstream acceptance: a November 23 video titled "No Handlebars," which borrowed a sample of the Flobots single "Handlebars" and featured Paul appearing to ride women like bicycles, was lambasted by the media. A month later, Paul uploaded a video that depicted the corpse of a man who had committed suicide by hanging in Aokigahara, a forest in northwestern Japan where numerous similar deaths had occurred over many years. Seen by over 6 million people within 24 hours, both Paul and the video were widely criticized, and YouTube was petitioned to remove his channel. His channels were eventually removed from Google Preferred and production was halted on his Comcast video series, "Logan Paul vs." More significantly, the video and its ensuing uproar prompted YouTube to review its posting policies. He offered a number of video apologies in the wake of the incident, and posted a lengthy look at suicide prevention to his vlog channel in late January 2018.