YouTube star Logan Paul has apologized after facing an avalanche of criticism for sharing the image of a suicide victim.
Paul posted the macabre clip filmed on location in Japan’s Aokigahara, also known as “suicide forest” due to the high number of suicides that take place within the woods.
The Paul controversy is the latest backlash to hit a YouTube star for inappropriate content. Last February, Disney’s Maker Studios severed ties with YouTube star PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg, after he released a series of anti-Semitic posts to his 53 million subscribers.
“Let’s start with this—I’m sorry,” Logan explained in a followup post to his 3.9 million Twitter followers. “This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong.”
He continued, “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. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention…I’m often reminded of how big of a reach I truly have and with great power comes great responsibility. For the first time in my life I’m regretful to say I handled that power incorrectly. It won’t happen again.”
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
In the now-removed vlog, Paul and several companions stumble upon what appears to be the hanging body of man. The 22-year-old internet celebrity appears to linger at the grim scene as he shares his thoughts on finding a corpse. “Did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest, hanging?,” he says. In another sequence, Paul notes the situation was “a first for me” and that it was “most real vlog I’ve made.”
Later, Paul attempts to drive home the severity of the situation. “Suicide is not a joke,” he comments, adding, “We came here with an intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest , this just became very real.”
The vlogger’s name is trending on social media as Internet users condemn his video as tasteless and offensive. One Twitter user Laci Green wrote, “Exploiting a suicide victim in Japan to the tune of 6M+ views while youtube demonetizes students protesting in Iran is a perfect example of what a sociopathic garbage fire youtube has become. this industry has no soul left.” Another, Meg Turney, wrote, “All eyes on you, YouTube. What Logan Paul did was unacceptable and deserves decisive action. There is no place on YouTube for that kind of content.”
Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul — no relation to Logan or his fellow YouTuber brother Jake — also lashed out on Twitter.
“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.”
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