Popular social media personality Logan Paul is receiving intense backlash after posting a vlog in which he finds a corpse in a Japanese “suicide forest”.
Paul deleted the video a day after its release, but by then, it had been viewed over six million times. Since then, other sources have re-uploaded the video back onto YouTube for public viewing.
In the video, Paul vlogs his visit to the Aokigahara forest, a Japanese forest at the base of Mt. Fuji that is renown for its incredibly high suicide rates.
Enlisting the help of a guide, Paul and his film crew ventured into the forest, intending to camp there. However, during their trek Paul spots a body a short distance away. While censoring the face, Paul films the discovery as well as the reactions of him and his crew, where they are seen nervously laughing and joking.
Following the deletion of the video, Paul released an apology statement on Twitter on New Year’s Day, then posted a video apology to both Twitter and YouTube.
“I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment, and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize,” Paul said. “…I should have never posted the video. I should have put the cameras down… I want to apologize to the victim and his family. For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended.”
Paul claims that he didn’t post the video for attention, but rather to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
“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. That’s never the intention,” Paul said. “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. I still am.”
Despite his apologies, many are still outraged with the video Paul released. Over 50,000 have signed a Change.org petition to get Paul to delete his channel on YouTube. Several other YouTube personalities have posted videos regarding Paul and the incident. He has also received harsh criticism from celebrities such as Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul and Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner.
“Dear @LoganPaul, 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 said.
Paul released a statement on Jan. 3 via Twitter that he is suspending his daily vlog series for the time being.
YouTube also received criticism for its failure to address Paul’s behavior, as they did not take down the video; while it was up, it was on the top trending list. However, YouTube later released a public statement in response to the controversy.
“We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences,” said the statement.
As for, ‘further consequences’, YouTube has removed Paul’s channel from Google Preferred, a premier ad service that offers brand advertisers access to top channel producers. Additionally, Logan Paul’s YouTube originals are currently on hold, and he will not be featured on season of 4 the YouTube Red series “Foursome”.