The YouTube star and content creator Logan Paul sparked outrage after he posted a video featuring a victim of suicide while visiting a forest in Japan. The 22-year-old and his friends were walking in Aokigahara — an infamous forest near Mt. Fuji known for its high rate of suicides — when they stumbled upon the body of a man hanging from a tree.
“This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,” he says in the 15-minute vlog titled, “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…”
In a video posted on Sunday, December 31st, Paul and his entourage filmed the victim in close-up shots, blurring his face. At one point, Paul is even seen laughing and cracking jokes about the deceased man.
The backlash to the video was fierce and swift, and Paul has since apologized via Twitter (the video itself has been taken down).
“I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity,” he wrote.
“I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought, ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video,” he continued.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
Despite his apology, many have since called out the YouTube star for using suicide as a way to promote himself. Even celebrities like Aaron Paul and Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner shared their anger.
Logan Paul knew what he was doing. He’s not “sorry”. He disrespected that suicide victim, people with mental illnesses and Japan. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. He knew what he was doing and I’m disgusted.
— April (@obviouslyapril) January 2, 2018
How dare you! You disgust me. I can't believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.
— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) January 2, 2018
@LoganPaul You’re an idiot. You’re not raising awareness. You’re mocking. I can’t believe how self-praising your “apology” is. You don’t deserve the success (views) you have. I pray to God you never have to experience anything like that man did.
— Sophie Turner (@SophieT) January 2, 2018
No matter what you’re going through, how bad it may seem right now, suicide is not the answer. Please know there are so many people that love & are here for you.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 2, 2018
When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved.
You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.
— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) January 2, 2018
Meanwhile, others have called on YouTube to take action.
Dear @youtube, after the Logan Paul video where he shows a dead body of a suicide victim, uses that for the title, makes heartless jokes next to the body, there needs to b age restrictions for certain creators. How is this allowed on YT? His followers are children! Horrifying
— Kandee Johnson (@kandeejohnson) January 2, 2018
Regardless of what you believe YouTube should do in response to Paul’s actions, it’s clear that the video was wildly insensitive and never should have been shared, and we’re glad it was swiftly taken down.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with thoughts of suicide, you can reach The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. You are never alone.