Logan Paul, one of YouTube’s biggest ‘stars,’ has faced a barrage of criticism after he posted a video online showing a man who had killed himself in a forest in Japan.
The video received millions of views before it was removed by Paul amid a tsunami of criticism, with many labeling the video as crass, insensitive, and potentially dangerous.
The 22-year-old American, who has over 15 million subscribers on the Google owned YouTube, was also labeled “disrespectful”, a “moron” and “disgusting”, after continuing to film the body of suicide victim and joking with his friends after discovering the body in Aokigahara forest. The forest, located at the base of Mount Fuji, has special spiritual significance for many Japanese people, and is a notorious area for suicide. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world.
Calls for ban
Although some people claimed that Paul had helped raise awareness, by posting the video, almost all the comments have been overwhelmingly negative and critical, with some calling for Logan Paul and his channel to be banned entirely. At one point a member of Paul’s group is heard to say he “doesn’t feel good”. Paul’s response is to remark “What, you never stand next to a dead guy?” and then laughs.
Even PewDiePie, the fellow YouTube star and who has himself come in for fierce criticism in recent months for his own controversial content, including Nazi related references, has criticized Paul, suggesting that the post was insensitive and accused him of filming the dead man to encourage more people to watch his channel.
Logan Paul was later forced to apology to his 3.9 million followers on Twitter, but only after the torrent of criticism was received.
“Where do I begin … Let’s start with this – I’m sorry,” he said. “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 [post footage of a man who had committed suicide] 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’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.”