The video has since been taken down, but not before it was viewed millions of times
If you have kids of a certain age, the names Logan Paul and Jake Paul are probably said in your home around one million times a day. The brothers each have their own insanely popular YouTube accounts where they post daily vlogs of whatever they and their friends are up to. Logan’s most recent video is now the subject of controversy after the YouTube shared footage of a dead body he found.
Over the weekend, Logan posted a video titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” to his YouTube channel, which has over 15 million subscribers, many of whom are kids. It showed footage of an actual dead body, a man who apparently took his own life, hanging from a tree. He filmed the video in Aokigahara, a forest at the base of Mt. Fuji famed for the number of suicides that happen within it.
According to The Verge, in the now-removed video, Paul said, “this is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted on this channel.” He told his subscribers, “With that said: buckle the fuck up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again.”
Paul explained to viewers that he and his crew were going camping and had brought binoculars “to see the ghosts” and a football “so we can have fun.” After walking through the woods, the video cut to the body hanging from a rope from a tree. Paul asked, “Bro, did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest?”
They shout, “Yo, are you alive, are you fooling with us?” while filming the person up close, blurring out the face but showing the hands and body. Paul told the camera, “Suicide is not a joke. Depression and mental illnesses are not a joke. We came here with an intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This just became very real.” He claims he shared the video to raise suicide awareness.
The group’s reactions were filmed and Paul almost laughs saying, “this was all going to be a joke, why did it become so real?” They captured footage of the emergency vehicles showing up to handle the situation. “That’s the life, this daily vlog life. Guys, I said this in one of my first vlogs, I have chosen to entertain you guys every single day,” Paul says.
The video was not monetized and a message about getting help if you’re suffering from mental illness played at the start and end of the video.
Needless to say, the backlash against Paul has been intense and ongoing:
Logan Paul is an amoral piece of shit who could not be less deserving of his platform. Fuck. If you need help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 2, 2018
@LoganPaul You’re an idiot. You’re not raising awareness. You’re mocking. I can’t believe how self-praising your “apology” is. You don’t deserve the success (views) you have. I pray to God you never have to experience anything like that man did.
— Sophie Turner (@SophieT) January 2, 2018
Logan Paul doesn’t deserve his fame, or his following, or his money, or anything. He crossed the line this time. But honestly, it’s probably not gonna hurt him or his career, because his fans are literally 6 and they are gonna love him no matter what he does or who he exploits+
— Brayden 🌟 (@nickiisacutie) January 2, 2018
No, Logan Paul…
You did not help spread Suicide Awareness.
— CK (@charley_ck14) January 2, 2018
it’s heartbreaking to see logan paul’s younger audience stick up for him and not understand that what he did was extremely wrong. what logan paul did was upsetting and wrong. the younger audience is completely brainwashed. #loganpaul #loganpaulisoverparty
— gabriella (@gabriellamatz) January 2, 2018
Some are also taking YouTube to task for not taking decisive action against the vlogger for posting such offensive and thoughtless content, geared toward children, no less.
If Logan Paul gets to keep his channel after this controversy I’m gonna get real mad. YOUTUBERS WHO POST GOOD CLEAN CONTENT GET DEMONETISED BUT LOGAN PAUL SHOWS A DEAD BODY AND IT TAKES OVER 12 HOURS TO DELETE. SUPRISE YOUTUBE, 6 MILLION KIDS SAW IT #loganpaul
— im just here idk why (@judgyteenager) January 2, 2018
Paul took to Twitter yesterday to express regret for what he did. The tone was pretty defensive with the vlogger making sure to remind the internet that this is the first time he’s made such a colossal error in judgment and pointing out how easily he gets views, no matter the content.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
He also made an apology video that he uploaded to his YouTube channel this morning. This version is more regretful than yesterday’s tweet, as he’s no doubt seen how unhappy basically the entire internet is with his actions and tone-deaf Twitter note.
“For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended,” he says.
Damn straight. It’s admirable that he’s apologizing, but disturbing that he ever thought any of this was acceptable to begin with.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).