Logan Paul Posts Appaling Video Online


Maddy Bruce, Editor in Chief



On December 31, YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video of himself and his friends hiking and discovering a dead body in Japan’s infamous Aokigahara forest, better known as the “suicide forest.” The video, another installment of Paul’s vlog series covering his trip to Japan, went up on New Years Eve. It was only taken down after receiving millions of views from his 15 million followers and outside viewers, many of whom are kids and teenagers.

Aokigahara is a massive forest at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. It is known for being so dense that the trees absorb any outside noise, providing visitors with a sense of solitude. It is believed that, for this reason, the forest has become one of the most common suicide sites in the world. The suicides started in the 1950s, with at least ten to thirty bodies being found per year. The most recent count is 105 in 2003, although the officials at Aokigahara have stopped publicizing the body counts in an attempt to disassociate the forest with the suicides that occur there.

Often, bodies aren’t recovered for years after the person disappears, and items like shoes, clothes, camping gear, and books left behind by those who ended their lives can be found along the trails. Annual body searches are held due to the known fact that people walk into the forest to end their lives, and signs are posted all over the forest pleading with hikers to consider their loved ones before taking their lives. The forest is a place to be respected and feared, and Japanese citizens who live near it often don’t let their children play near it because it is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of people who died quiet and alone.

It is virtually impossible to look into visiting the forest without finding articles upon articles about how many people end their lives there and how sacred the land is because of this. So, Logan Paul had to know exactly what he was doing when he brought his camera into the forest and filmed the dead body of a real person who felt that their life truly wasn’t worth living, and that nothing would ever get better.

The video starts with Paul warning viewers that the following footage is graphic. He says that the content in his video is “a moment in YouTube history,” and that “this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever.” He commentates on the history of Aokigahara, so he clearly knew how respected and feared the forest is to the Japanese. It’s obvious, then, that he deliberately disrespected Aokigahara and the people who have taken their lives there in order to gain views and to make content that he thought was funny and entertaining

While it was eventually taken down, the video was up long enough to be seen by millions of people and spark an outrage large enough to have the video taken down and discredit Paul. People began calling Paul out for his disrespectful, privileged behavior. As a way to help those who were greatly affected by the video, suicide hotlines were posted, and some people even shared their own stories of mental illness.

In response to the outrage, Paul first posted a written apology on his Twitter, which came across as insincere and filled with excuses. He claimed that he was “misguided by shock and awe” and “intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.” More outrage resulted from this, with people telling him that there are better, less offensive ways to raise awareness for suicide. An example being, oh, I don’t know, not posting a video that includes the dead body of someone who committed suicide and asking it “Yo, you alive?” But, who am I to say? Because of this outrage, Paul posted a video of himself apologizing, which was, once again filled with excuses and self pity. YouTube eventually released a statement that the original video had violated its policies, which forbid violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner,” and took it down.

It’s obvious that Logan Paul’s actions in his video are disrespectful and appaling. Because of this, it might appear that he wasn’t thinking while making the video, however, that is not the case. Planning, creating, and editing a YouTube video takes an enormous amount of thought, especially when doing so is a career. Logan Paul’s actions were deliberate and selfish, and his apologies are invalid. He consciously ignored the sanctity and respect that the Aokigahara is revered with, and he played into the stigma of mental illnesses and suicide. In more ways than one, he has proved that he is invalid and does not contribute to the progression of our society.

Caption: A screenshot from Logan Paul’s apology video
Credit: Google images