Jake Paul finally issued a statement of sorts regarding his brother Logan Paul’s disturbing video — more than three weeks after it was uploaded, but you’ll have to make it through an assortment of tomfoolery first.
The statement appears in a video called “YouTube, let’s talk about brother Logan.” Jake Paul sits on a couch, clad in a bright orange shirt in the thumbnail. A shot of Logan’s head is off to the side, with thumbnails and descriptions from other videos floating around Jake’s head. The video is almost 14 minutes long, but not all of that is dedicated to the statement. It takes more than 10 minutes for Jake to issue his statement, addressing the elephant in the room.
“I think what Logan did was very, very, very wrong and he made a huge mistake,” Paul says. “Not only is he paying from it — but he’s learning from it. I know Logan better than probably anybody else and I do know that he didn’t mean to offend anyone. I can tell when he’s in shock and he didn’t handle the situation the right way but I know in the back of his head he didn’t mean to offend or hurt anyone or create such a big frustration.”
Before this, the first ten minutes consist of Jake talking about a fight with his on-and-off-again girlfriend Erika Costell, battling his friends in a prank war and snowboarding outside of their giant rental property. Jake’s statement on Logan’s actions appear like an afterthought. He treats the situation as an aside to what’s more important in his life and in doing so negates the purpose of the video entirely.
But it’s very on-brand
It’s also the most on-brand way Jake could have acknowledged the situation. Jake isn’t addressing critics and reporters who are trying to keep up on a story; he’s not addressing YouTube executives who are hoping that everything Logan Paul-related will go away. Jake’s video isn’t a statement on the situation, but a reminder to his fans over why they stick around in the first place.
Jake couldn’t have just released a statement about something that happened three weeks ago. A three-minute video isn’t as attractive to YouTube’s algorithms as a 14-minute video. YouTube favors watch time right now, choosing to give top ads to videos with high engagement and a run time longer than 10 minutes. Some people may recall YouTubers making fun of this change in 2017, running black screens for five minutes at a time just to hit the coveted 10:01 sweet spot.
Watch time and monetization are important vlogging features for Jake Paul. He chose to monetize this video with both pre-roll and mid-video ad placements. He linked his merchandise in the video’s description — something that appears on all his vlogs — instead of linking out to suicide prevention hotlines and associations that can help people struggling with mental illness. Jake wants to move things forward and pretend everything is peachy in vlogworld. He chose not to differentiate between addressing a serious situation that deserves its own video video and the reckless stunts that garnered him an audience in the first place.
That’s not to suggest Jake doesn’t understand how to address a serious situation. In November 2017, Jake came under scrutiny for the alleged bullying of two former members of his vlogging team, Team 10. The Martinez twins accused Paul of injuring them on the set of a prank for which he later apologized for. The apology video was posted in two parts on Twitter, and those videos never made their way to his official YouTube channel.
He knew this wasn’t a good period for him in the eyes of YouTube vloggers’ biggest fans and wanted to talk about the situation sincerely without detracting his YouTube audience from the brand he created for himself. By posting the videos on Twitter, away from the eyes of his YouTube fans who aren’t on Twitter, he buried the apology. Jake could own up to making a mistake without damaging his very important personal brand.
My response to the Martinez Twins pt1. pic.twitter.com/aRduWRcKqR— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) November 15, 2017
This is the heart of the issue: Jake Paul understands that he’s a brand and no one, including his brother, is going to get in the way of what he’s created over the years. Jake gets flack for many things, but you can’t argue that he doesn’t put in the work. Vlogging daily, working with an editing team to ensure those videos go up, keeping up on social media, working meet-and-greets and even operating pop-up store locations are all integral to his image and his career.
It’s about what comes next
That’s why his statement about Logan had to come at the end. Before he could remind his fans about what happened three weeks ago, he had to ensure they remembered why they watch him in the first place. He isn’t a somber commentary channel; he isn’t a gossip YouTuber. He’s Jake Paul — and for many of his young fans, that means he’s a fun, goofy character.
Jake ends his statement by addressing the Logang, a group of diehard fans who consider themselves to be part of Logan Paul’s team. He reminds them that Logan will return, and things will move forward. He’s not wrong. They will move forward to an extent; people won’t forget what Logan did, nor will everyone forgive him, but time will move forward and we’ll move on to the next story. Even though he lost the trust and respect of some of his viewers, Logan’s fans will return in hordes and he’ll continue to build an audience.
Logan may make his return to YouTube sometime this week, and when he does, the first video will probably address his actions. This may be different from the first two apologies he released; it could be a conversation about what he did, how he’ll change and what comes next. In the weeks that follow, Logan will be more reserved as he gets back to building up the channel that won him more than 15 million subscribers. But as the months go on and other YouTubers become the topic of conversation, Logan will return to the jokester that he was before everything came to a sudden halt. His brother Jake will help him.
Their videos aren’t a lesson in YouTube culture or influencer mentality; it’s a reminder that branding is powerful and can withstand controversy.