One month ago, Logan Paul told Casey Neistat he was a changed man.
He said he wasn’t going to participate in juvenile pre-fight banter anymore with KSI, another prominent and controversial YouTube creator Paul is set to box on Aug. 25. Paul told Neistat that he’s learned he needs to prove to people around the world — his fans and his critics — that he’s changed over the past eight months. The man stepping into the boxing ring, he suggested, wouldn’t be the boy who walked out of a Japanese forest with footage of a man’s body that he would later upload to YouTube.
Just one month ago, Paul told Neistat that his earlier videos no longer represented “the person I’m trying to become,” adding that he was focused “more on positivity.”
Neistat asked Paul specifically about how much of his newfound personality was an act; is this genuinely a new version of Logan Paul who learned from his mistakes and is trying to make a heartfelt effort toward being a better person, or was he just putting on an act so people would sympathize with him for the first time in almost a year?
“It’s the new Logan Paul,” Paul answered. “I have no interest in bantering back and forth with someone who is the exact person I’m not trying to become by degrading women, by going after my family in a manner that is intended to harm. My goal here is to beat him, not talk about how I’m going to beat him or talk about his family or say what I’m going do to his girlfriend; the goal is to win a fight. I was over it as soon as I walked into the press conference.”
In the past few months, Paul walked away from malicious name calling, insults directed at his girlfriend and family and a rousing chant of “Fuck the Pauls” that occurred at a press conference in London, England. He didn’t produce daily vlogs calling out KSI or his brother, Deji, who is also slated to fight on Aug. 25. Paul tweeted occasionally about the fight, but seemed to hold his head high and move forward without sinking down to his competitors’ level. His seeming desire to change rang true in every positive step forward he took.
Paul is chasing sympathy; that’s how he designed it.
“I think Hollywood, I think America in general, they love redemption stories,” Paul told Neistat. “My life is now a story about someone who was winning, someone who self-imploded and the architect of their own destruction, and [that] struggle and vulnerability. I want to become better, I don’t want to let my mistakes define me.”
In the immediate future, Paul will release a documentary that he hopes to sell to fans. He wants to move merchandise. He wants to act in movies, continue uploading YouTube videos and go on tour. Everything Paul wants is reliant on people believing that he’s a changed person, which suggests Paul has learned nothing.
What Paul’s diss track really means
This week, in anticipation of his boxing match, Paul dropped a diss track calling out KSI for his past controversies and statements, taking shots at the British creator, cracking jokes about the #MeToo movement and participating in the pre-fight hype circus. The song, “Goodbye KSI,” which follows KSI own diss track against Paul, isn’t the most disrespectful diss track he’s ever produced. But, by Paul’s own admission, those videos were by products of a different time.
The content of “Goodbye KSI” isn’t even the bubble-bursting moment for Paul’s redemption tour. Everything comes back to the age-old saying “actions are louder than words.” Paul solemnly told Neistat he wasn’t going to sink down to the level of his competitors. He wasn’t going to trash talk on YouTube or post countless Instagram posts calling Deji and KSI out. His only intention was to show up, fight and fly back home with girlfriend Chloe Bennet. That’s what he said.
Dropping a diss track just a few days before the fight — desperate to have the last word, make a few extra bucks on the back of his controversial arc, and in the end, plug new merchandise — suggests Paul isn’t trying to find the positive path forward. He’s not looking to become a better man. He’s looking for just enough good moments to make people support him again before he returns to participating in the same provocateur culture he was heading up before.
There was a small window of hope for Paul; he couldn’t change his past actions, but it seemed he might be willing rise above them and become better a person for his fans to admire. The diss track reverts Paul to his former self. He doesn’t want to become better, he just wants people to believe he’s changed. He’s seemingly not walking away from the culture he claims to have rejected, yet he wants people to believe that’s what he’s doing.
Logan Paul, based on current actions, has learned nothing. This isn’t a case of two step forwards, one step back. Paul tried to pull the wool over his fans’ eyes, and this diss track is just proof that he couldn’t even commit to the bit long enough to make that happen.