New Year’s Eve is typically a time for celebration. It’s a chance to spend quality time with friends and family and should ideally be filled entirely with positive vibes. But YouTube star Logan Paul decided to spend his New Year’s Eve in a rather different way.
He spent the last few hours of 2017 shocking his 15 million subscribers and many more people around the world with an incredibly distasteful video.
The 15-minute video was titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” and as the title outrightly suggests, Paul found the body of a suicide victim which he then decided to capture on film.
The 22-year-old American vlogger had no qualms about showing the victim hanging from a tree in Aokigahara – a Japanese forest which is located at the base of Mount Fuji. It is often referred to as the “Suicide Forest” given the number the number of suicides that have occurred there.
The authorities have even stopped publishing figures for suicides that occur in the forest in a bid to avoid publicising the area. However, it is thought that within just a few years more than 100 people have taken their own lives there.
Other preventative measures include signs which have been placed in Aokigahara urging people to seek help rather than take drastic action.
Unfortunately, Paul completely overlooked the seriousness of the situation which he had found himself in, and many people believe he used it for his own gain.
“This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,” Paul said in his intro for the video.
“I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever. Now with that said: buckle the fuck up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again!”
Paul then shows how he and his entourage discovered a body hanging from a tree. “Yo, are you alive?” Paul says in response to the alarming find. “Are you f*cking with us?”
Paul then apologized to his fans for the morbid nature of the video. “This was supposed to be a fun vlog,” he assured them.
“Suicide is not a joke,” Paul later continues. “Depression and mental illness are not a joke. We came here with an intent to focus on the ‘haunted’ aspect of the forest. This obviously just became very real, and obviously, a lotta people are going through a lotta shit in their lives.”
Unsurprisingly, given its graphic and shocking content, word spread fast and the video quickly garnered over six million views and received about half a million likes before it was removed.
Many video responses were made by other high-profile members of the YouTube community, and they had a lot to say about Paul’s lack of integrity as a successful YouTuber.
Renowned British YouTuber Kavos’ response to the incident has so far received the most attention. Watch the video here to find out why Kavos believes Paul has just ended his career:
The content was so shocking that many people also took to Twitter to voice their disgust at the YouTube star’s apparent callousness.
Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul who starred as Jesse Pinkman was particularly outraged by Paul’s video.
“How dare you! You disgust me,” he tweeted. “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.”
A fellow YouTuber took to Twitter to express his disappointment in Paul but also in YouTube itself.
Writer Lauren Duca explicitly expressed her anger at the YouTuber and also made sure to include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Twitter user Zyphree picked up on the fact that rather than show total concern for the victim, Paul laughed and joked after the harrowing incident.
Other Twitter users went a step further and are calling for Logan Paul to be banned from YouTube altogether.
The YouTuber, however, has now responded to his critics.
In response to the fierce backlash, Paul released a statement on Twitter writing, “I’ve never faced criticism like this before because I’ve never made a mistake like this before.”
Here is the full statement:
“Where do I begin,
Let’s start with this —
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.
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 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.
I do this sh*t every day. I’ve made a 15 minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days. One may understand that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications.
I’m often reminded of how big of a reach I truly have & 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.
I love everyone. I believe in people. I’m out here. Peace #Logang4Life”
Paul then removed the video from his YouTube account, however, many people are having difficulties accepting his apology.
Hopefully, Paul has learned a lesson in sensitivity as a result of this whole debacle because what he did was truly thoughtless.
It should go without saying that suicide is an incredibly delicate subject, and when talking about it in any capacity, sensitivity is of the utmost importance.
If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of depression or thoughts about suicide, you can seek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visiting their website.