Career Suicide? Vlogger Alienates Internet with Hanging Video
Photo — Kavos/YouTube
TOKYO (AP) — American blogger Logan Paul apologized Tuesday after getting slammed for a video he shared on YouTube that appeared to show a body hanging in a Japanese forest known as a suicide spot.
Paul, who has millions of Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers, posted a written and video apology on his Twitter, saying, "Where do I begin. Let's start with this. I'm sorry."
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
So sorry. pic.twitter.com/JkYXzYsrLX— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
Although the video has been taken down, segments were still online. Critics, who have also gone online, say what was offensive was Paul's giggling and joking about the body. In this edited version on TMZ, you can see the body in the background and Paul laughing. (Warning, the video may be disturbing to some.)
The video, posted Sunday, shows Paul going on a trek with friends in the Aokigahara forest, near Mount Fuji. He seems aware that the site is sometimes chosen for suicides, but is surprised to come across what appears to be a body hanging from a tree.
He said he had wanted to raise awareness about suicide and possibly save lives, and denied his goal was to drive clicks.
"I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity," he said in his Twitter post.
Paul posted a more sanguine video on YouTube on Monday, showing him romping through a Tokyo park, talking about his apparel brand, visiting gadget stores and running around city streets wearing a Pokemon outfit.
He briefly mentioned the encounter with a body at the start of the video, saying, "That was weird."
Japan has a relatively high rate of suicides, with more than 21,000 a year, according to government data. Its per capita suicide rate is among the highest in the world.
Many blame the high suicide rate on the value placed on conformity, excelling and hard work in the country.
Suicide also does not suffer the religious stigma here it does in other cultures. Ritual suicide, known as seppuku or hara-kiri, has long been portrayed in movies and theater as an honorable way to take responsibility.
The Mount Fuji forest has been known for suicides for decades because people can easily get lost there, and know they won't be found for a long time.
Although Japan has many suicide-prevention groups, the culture of shame has family members of convicted criminals, people who have racked up massive debt and youngsters bullied at school often turning to suicide.
The lengthy apology by Paul did not appease everyone with many still criticizing his choice to post the video.
How is filming someone’s death a “mistake” then you post it on YouTube? That was not a mistake. You CHOSE to do it and you should have known the consequences so now you can face them.— NEW YEAR JAS 💓✨ (@triskasbabygirl) January 2, 2018
I don't care if you've seen worse. What he did was unforgiving and hurtful to both his fans and the victims family. He exploited a dead body hanging from a tree, laughed and joked around with it and thought it would be a good idea to release the footage on the internet.— Santah lotteh (@Cpasz2) January 2, 2018
After this he doesn’t deserve a second chance I think cheating or lying deserves s second chance (depending on the person) but showing a dead body and laughing about it doesn’t deserve any chances— sims4life (@sims4life121) January 2, 2018
A few thought his apology was genuine and jumped in to defend him.
He didn’t laugh at it....and I’m a person that try’s to laugh and make jokes when I’m uncomfortable it’s how I deal with it....Logan laughed because he was highly uncomfortable like any human would be.... Logan is human and makes mistake people seem to forget that— DarkM (@Dark_M1451) January 2, 2018
The apology also prompted the hashtag #Logan_you_are_forgiven.
NH1 News contributed material to this story.