YouTube personality Logan Paul has issued an apology following severe backlash after he posted a video of an apparent suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara, an area known as the “suicide forest” due to the high number of suicides in the area.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
“Let’s start with this — I’m sorry,” Paul said in a statement. “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.”
The outrage against Paul — a YouTuber known for his outlandish and over-the-top antics — was swift, with social media users accusing him of making light of a serious issue, as Paul and his friends were seen laughing and joking in the video.
“I didn’t do it for views,” Paul continued, “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…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.”
“Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul (no relation) was one of the more prominent users to lambast the 22-year-old web star.
“Dear @LoganPaul, How dare you! You disgust me,” Paul posted on Twitter. “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.”
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
“Exploiting a suicide victim in Japan to the tune of 6M+ views while youtube demonetizes students protesting in Iran is a perfect example of what a sociopathic garbage fire youtube has become. this industry has no soul left,” YouTube personality Laci Green added.
logan paul exploiting a suicide victim in Japan to the tune of 6M+ views while youtube demonetizes students protesting in Iran is a perfect example of what a sociopathic garbage fire youtube has become. this industry has no soul left.
— Laci Green (@gogreen18) January 2, 2018
Paul has over 15 million subscribers and the video was viewed millions of times before being taken down.
The ordeal has raised more questions about YouTube’s policy in policing the content on its platform, as this latest controversy comes on the heels of discoveries last year that some of its content geared toward kids was plagued with comments from child predators.
It’s unclear whether YouTube has applied a strike to Logan Paul’s account before. But per YouTube’s community guidelines, a strike lasts 3 months then it’s erased from your account, and the company essentially has a “3 strikes you’re out” policy. https://t.co/2UfCYovTFn pic.twitter.com/6y9gI9tW7K
— Davey Alba (@daveyalba) January 2, 2018
YouTube claims it has applied a “strike” to Paul’s channel. But as BuzzFeed reporter Davey Alba notes, there’s essentially a “three strikes [and] you’re out” policy, suggesting Paul won’t see a significant punishment for the video.