Logan Paul is the perfect role model for indecency, racism, and criminality to his over 15.5 million YouTube subscribers.
I’ll give Paul credit for one thing: Unlike an increasing number of YouTubers, his most controversial video’s title, “We Found a Dead Body in the Japanese Suicide Forest,” does not employ clickbait. The vlog is set in Aokigahara (“Suicide Forest”), at the northwestern base of Japan’s Mount Fuji. In the video, Paul and his friends illegally wander off-trail and, much to their shock and amusement, find a hanging corpse. Rather than show the minimal decency expected of someone much younger than themselves, Paul and his smiling crew zoom into the body, blurring only his face. Paul called this “a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never happened to anyone on YouTube ever.” Quite the accomplishment.
The video, which undeservedly received over 6 million views in under 24 hours, has prompted open condemnation of Paul’s character from many other entertainment stars. PewDiePie, the most subscribed-to YouTuber, told his 59 million devotees that “I always knew that Logan Paul was a jacka**.” Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien tweeted that he has “literally never seen such a gigantic piece of sh*t.” Chrissy Teigen, Sophie Turner, and YouTube sensation Eva Gutowski are among others who cried outrage over the incident.
In his own shallowly apologetic Tweet, Logan Paul claimed that he has “never made a mistake like this before” and “intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.” Apparently Paul’s twist on spreading a positive message on a serious issue is by filming a stranger’s dead body in a culturally sacred forest with cussing and irreverent guffawing providing background ambiance.
Paul uploaded a YouTube video entitled “So Sorry” to accompany his Tweet. He concludes the brief video with an ambiguous promise that “I will be better.” I’m hoping that means he will take down the remaining vlogs from Japan and every other insulting video. That is, I hope his channel will be cleared for YouTube’s sake, if nothing else; his videos are proof of the website’s fallible censorship on disturbing content. The last thing YouTube needs is another idiotic Internet icon with too much influence over too many young worshippers.
Paul’s other Japan vlogs reveal his disrespect for Japanese culture as a whole. One video hallmarks Paul and his friends dressing up in Pokémon onesies and throwing stuffed Poké balls at a man riding a bicycle, a policeman, a moving vehicle, and a restaurant cook. In doing so, Paul essentially labels every Japanese citizen as a Pokemon character; this is likely one reason Paul doubtless did not obtain permission from them to be shown in his vlog. Another video shows a policeman kicking a tittering Paul and his pals out of Senso-ji Temple, at which Paul paraded around in a kimono and rice hat and loudly deemed the holy water as being “for people who are real pieces of shit in life.” Naturally, Paul had to cleanse himself in it. Other scenes from Japan show Paul placing raw seafood on a taxicab’s trunk, jumping onto a moving cart and scaring the driver, and smashing a gaming device on the ground in the middle of a store.
Well-known Japanese author, blogger, and YouTuber Yuta Aoki posted a video response to Paul, in which he stated that Paul was “taking advantage of the non-confrontational nature of Japanese culture,” which Paul had interpreted in one
video as the Japanese’s benevolence towards him. Aoki went on to further rebuke the 22-year-old.
“I wonder what he would do if somebody got hurt. Would he still be laughing and think it’s funny? I don’t know. But apparently he thinks it’s funny when somebody is utterly disgusted because of his idiotic behavior,” Aoki said in “Logan Paul (Don’t be That Guy in Japan… or Anywhere Else).”
Indeed, Paul’s demented sense of humour gives Asians like myself, not limited to the Japanese, disdainful flashbacks to comedy built on jabs at Asian stereotypes, such as the tetchy Mr. Yunioshi of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “the Donger” in Sixteen Candles, and the sly Chinese cronies in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Those movies belong to an entirely different century, but the distasteful farce continues with ignoramuses like Logan Paul, who are easily amused by the sufferings of others.
Paul’s vacation from his daily vlogs is one that I wish to see turn into a retirement, resulting in millions breaking from the influence of an abominable excuse of a successful adult and that the people he encounters will not have their lives so hideously divulged as the helpless, hanging man in the forest.