YouTube star Logan Paul has come under fire on New Year’s weekend after posting a video that appeared to show a dead body hanging from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara forest on the slopes of Mt. Fuji.
The video was uploaded Sunday under the title “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” and garnered more than 6 million views in less than a day, according to New York magazine. By late Monday, Paul had taken down the video and issued an apology for his “mistake.”
“I didn’t do it for the views. I get views,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “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.”
But Paul, the older brother of fellow YouTuber and former Disney Channel “Bizaardvark” star Jake Paul, drew heavy criticism for showing the graphic images of an apparent suicide — especially since it came in the midst of a 15-minute clip about his Japanese travels in which he laughs and jokes about other aspects of local culture.
“I really don’t know what’s more disgusting, the fact that Logan Paul filmed the body of someone who committed suicide or that he was able to LAUGH after it,” one commenter wrote.
“How insensitive and sick can you be to film someone in that state,” another wrote.
Reps for Paul, the winner of two Teen Choice Awards last year, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
When Paul and his buddies stumble on the body in Aokigahara, his reaction is initially one of disbelief. “Yo, are you alive?” he says aloud. “Are you f—ing with us?”
At another point in the video, Paul addressed his fans with a more serious message: “Suicide is not a joke. 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 s— in their lives.”
According to New York magazine, he also included a link to the American Society for Suicide Prevention in the YouTube description for the clip.
But those efforts proved insufficient for many on the internet. See some of the reactions below.
Logan Paul filmed a dead body hanging in the woods & this is who kids are watching? Do u understand how damaging that is for the people involved with the person who died, or for anyone who’s dealing with the same thing, this isn’t how u teach people anout mental health or suicide
— ????????✨???????????????? (@oshimakesmusic) January 2, 2018
Logan Paul may have removed the video but the fact he still thought it was a good idea to post it in the first place is disgusting. I will never forget or forgive him. pic.twitter.com/Q6pZfDBYwj
— shane dawson dancing™️ (@dancing_dawson) January 2, 2018
I really don't know what's more disgusting, the fact that Logan Paul filmed the body of someone who committed suicide or that he was able to LAUGH after itpic.twitter.com/TP56f1nYib
— yasmin (@zarasglory) January 2, 2018
I cannot believe how beyond disrespectful this Logan Paul guy is filming and zooming in on a Japanese man who hung himself. So dehumanizing, utterly disgusted. Who in their right minds thinks this is okay? Using it in the thumbnail? Undefendable.
— Ross O'Donovan (@RubberNinja) January 2, 2018
i’m truly sickened by this logan paul situation. i lost my brother to suicide… my brother took his own life by hanging himself… how insensitive and sick can you be to film someone in that state ????
— mommy (@CorinnaKopf) January 2, 2018
.@LoganPaul, you are sickening. Exploiting someone's suicide for views is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. How dare you expose your young fanbase to a subject so sensitive. You treated suicide like a joke. Delete your channel and get help dude.
— Brian Burkheiser (@Bri_Prevail) January 2, 2018
So Logan Paul took down the video, but I know exactly what he's gonna do next.
- He's gonna make a half heated response.
- He's gonna say sorry multiple times and not mean it.
- He's gonna stare into the camera and sigh a whole lot.
— Ro????️????️y (@calmdown_robby) January 2, 2018
With this whole Logan paul thing going on
Depression isn’t a joke.
Mental health isn’t a joke.
Suicide is NOT A JOKE.
Please don’t hesitate to talk to anyone. There are hotlines. People love you. There is hope. Please don’t give up. There are people out here that love you.
— Lizzy❄️ (@PunksPepsi) January 2, 2018