Fresh off facing backlash for promoting a questionable mystery box website, Jake Paul has now seen his latest YouTube video, 24-Hour Bird Box Blindfold Challenge, age-restricted and demonetized for violating YouTube guidelines that prohibit content encouraging dangerous activities that could result in physical harm.
In the video, Paul participates in the controversial ‘Bird Box Challenge,’ an undertaking where participants blindfold themselves and go about their daily lives. It’s based on the recently-released Netflix film Bird Box, where star Sandra Bullock and the film’s other protagonists must wear blindfolds or risk catching a glimpse of a creature that, if seen, compels them to commit suicide.
Paul is far from the first YouTuber to do the challenge. In fact, it became so prevalent on the platform that Netflix publicly asked people to knock it off:
Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.
— Netflix US (@netflix) January 2, 2019
But in his typical fashion, Paul took the challenge much further than many others by driving and walking out onto a busy street while blindfolded. At the beginning of the video (which also features fellow YouTuber George Janko blindfolded), a small warning flashes on the bottom of the screen directing viewers to a disclaimer in the video’s description.
“Please be warned (and we cannot possibly stress this enough); under no circumstances should any challenges, stunts, or pranks be attempted by any of our viewers,” the disclaimer reads. “All challenges, stunts, and pranks are performed by trained professionals in a controlled environment with proper safety measures taken, and are for entertainment purposes only! Again, do not try this at home!”
Apparently “trained professionals in a controlled environment” includes Paul zooming down what’s presumably his driveway in a truck, stopping when he takes out a handful of garbage and recycling bins. In the video, it’s clear this isn’t movie magic — Paul is actually blindfolded while driving. (Worth noting, though, that it’s still possible the challenge’s dangerous stunts were faked in some capacity.)
Paul’s video was demonetized and age-restricted shortly after a piece about it published by The Verge. YouTube had already been taking down some other Bird Box challenge videos prior to restricting Paul’s, and a spokesperson for the platform told Fast Company that it was evaluating whether challenge videos would remain uploaded on a “case-by-case basis.”
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines have long prohibited content intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,” the spokesperson said. “[W]e work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate these policies.”
It’s not clear why Paul’s video wasn’t pulled down altogether. Tubefilter has reached out to YouTube for comment and will update this story with any new information.