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Logan Paul
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Youtuber apologises for filming body of suicide victim

Logan Paul discovered the body in Japan’s ‘suicide forest’

YouTuber Logan Paul posted a disturbing video online, showing the body of an apparent victim of suicide. The vlogger, who posts daily vlogs to his 15 million subscribers, was on holiday to Japan when he decided to go to Japan’s Aokigahara forest.

The forest, at the base of Mt. Fuji, is commonly known as the “suicide forest” due to the amount of people who go to take their own lives. While the official numbers are no longer publicised in an effort to decrease suicides in the forest, in 2003, 105 people reportedly died by suicide there.

The video, entitled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…”, was deleted less than a day after it was posted. Paul intended to show himself and his entourage camping in the “haunted” forest. They took camping gear, “binoculars to see the ghosts” and “a football so we can have fun”, all of which would still have been insensitive and inappropriate in itself at a site renowned for being the place desperate people go to spend the last moments of their lives. Not content with that level of disrespect, when Paul and his crew stumble upon a man hanging from a tree, and continued filming. 

The group get closer and closer to the body, only blurring out the face and talking about his “purple hands”. Paul asks “bro, did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest?” and acts very shocked and upset for a little while before saying “I’m so sorry about this Logang, this was supposed to be a fun vlog” and “what, you never stand next to a dead guy?” and laughing. He says “this was all going to be a joke, why did it become so real?” and continuing to laugh and pull faces while they all cry “it doesn’t make sense bro!” and “yo, this is crazy!”. Over dramatic music, he cries “there’s no going back! I’ve seen things I can’t unsee!” and laughs hysterically when a member of his crew says “we found a dead body”, continuing to make a massive joke out of something very, very serious and dark.

Back in the parking lot Paul yells a lot, laughs some more, and acts as if it’s his responsibility to deliver content every day at any cost – as he puts it, “to entertain you guys every single day”. And while it is, to some extent, as a creator he also has a responsibility not to post anything that will not only affect his audience negatively but potentially the family and friends of a man who was unhappy enough to take his own life.

Since the video release, Paul has received a barrage of criticism across social media, challenging the social and moral responsibility he has for a fanbase made up of young people. Many called for his channel to be totally removed.

In a statement posted to Twitter Paul said that he has “never made a mistake like this before” and that he didn’t do it for views. He claimed he wanted to “make a positive ripple on the internet” and “raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention”. He quoted Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, citing the “great power and great responsibility” that comes with having a huge platform, and signed off with #Logang4Life and a peace sign emoji to show just how very, very sorry he was.

The thing is, though, no matter how much Paul wants to blame his hectic upload schedule and getting “caught up in the moment”, there’s not really any excuse. In the first place, he went to a forest renowned for suicides with the intention of camping out and ghost hunting, undermining the seriousness of the reason it’s considered “haunted” to begin with. He then continued to film, laughing and violating the privacy of the poor man who had died. He then uploaded the video with a clickbait title, and despite adding in a disclaimer about suicide and not monetising the video, at no point realised that it was a bad idea. Supposedly in no point of planning, filming, editing, uploading or sharing did he think there might be an issue with filming in the forest at all, let alone filming a dead body. Let alone laughing about it. It’s symptomatic of a very troubling either intentional or accidental lowering of morality and personal responsibility in the pursuit of relevance.