Internet personality, viral video maker, and star of the lukewarm YouTube movie The Thinning Logan Paul unleashed intense backlash yesterday after posting a video where he appears to stumble on a Japanese suicide victim’s body and make light of the horrific situation. The video was recorded in Aokigahara, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji that has become infamous for its high rates of suicide.
Paul and friends entered the forest to highlight its “haunted aspects.” The 15 minute video was part of a wider series of vlogs focusing on their Japanese vacation.
Upon stumbling upon the body of a hanging suicide victim in the forest, a member of Paul’s team can be heard expressing discomfort. Paul retorted by asking, “What, you never stand next to a dead guy?” Paul could also be heard saying to the body: “Yo, are you alive? Are you f–king with us?”
The video which has since been deleted, featured the victim’s body extensively despite blurring out the face.
The backlash was swift and unforgiving, with both loved ones of those who have been lost to suicide and celebrities expressing their disgust and outrage.
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
When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved.
You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.
— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) January 2, 2018
Paul tried to run damage control by writing an apology and posting both it and another video, but it was too late and too far for most netizens.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
Phrases like “I’ve never faced criticism like this before,” “I didn’t do it for views. I get views,” and “I’m often reminded of how big a reach I truly have” definitely didn’t help him come off any less awful or attention-grabbing.
Others saw his claims that he was having a spur-of-the-moment reaction or that he might have been trying to raise awareness on the issues of mental health as disingenuous because he had to take time to film the moment, poke humor at it constantly, kept filming after what he saw, then took the the time to edit and post the video without ever thinking “maybe I should not do this” or “maybe this is not okay.”
So sorry. pic.twitter.com/JkYXzYsrLX
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
Many also condemned him for his choice to monetize the actual YouTube video of the apology by making money off ads on it.
@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
that boy logan paul said he wasnt thinking…. you know how much thinking go into going to film a video,filming a video then, exporting the video, then looking over clips, then editing the video, then reviewing the video, uploading it then titling it
— Introducing…The Coziest boy ever..CozyBoy Meech (@meechonmars) January 2, 2018
— Reina Scully (@ReinaScully) January 2, 2018
what logan paul could've (and should've) done:
– stop recording as soon as he noticed the person
– not upload the video at all
– not make the thumbnail
– not make jokes throughout the entire thing
– not have a channel
– not have fans
– not do anything on youtube ever
— kelly | 93 (@trellyeye) January 2, 2018
People were also quick to drag his supporters or fans (many of them young) for expecting the world to condone and forgive his actions as fast as they could.
the logan paul thing sucks for so many reasons but like
he really filmed that and was like ‘oh this seems like a good idea’ and he pressed upload LOL like
his fans now think that’s appropriate to do
to film a dead resting body
and it’s only day 1 of 2018 LOL
help us lord pic.twitter.com/toOrHVkb6E
— ♡♪!? (@SkyWilliams) January 2, 2018
The fact that there's Logan Paul fans this blinded actually kinda worries me. pic.twitter.com/edSbO3JrAW
— Nabeel (@leafy) January 2, 2018
My friend's sons', ages 9 and 11, are huge Logan Paul fans. I pray to whatever god is listening that they somehow avoid Youtube and social media for a long while, and that they didn't watch that video. Their uncle hung himself Thanksgiving day.
Thats your audience.
— Sarah (@hellosebbie) January 2, 2018
As seen in several translated responses, Japanese netizens were not willing to forgive or forget either.
— Best Mom Eva (@mombot) January 2, 2018
For Paul, who enjoys millions of subscribers and followers on his social media accounts and money from merchandise, this was evidently the first time he realized that he can’t actually do or say whatever he wants.
Many others were disgusted and appalled, but not surprised that someone so vapid and self-serving would stoop to such a stunt.