Logan Paul, 22, is a vlogger and actor from Ohio that quickly gained a massive online following through his YouTube channel. The content of his vlogs were almost always light and fun for his audience which was made up of mostly younger kids. Millions of people were subscribed to his accounts and he became a Vine and YouTube sensation.
This was the case until recently. In December, Paul and his friends went on a trip to Japan and intended on filming yet another fun vlog, though he did quite the opposite. The crew went to Aokigahara, also known as Japan’s “suicide forest”. Aokigahara sits at the bottom of Mt. Fuji in Japan. According to Paul, the intent of the video was to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and to feature the “hauntedness” of the forest.
The group discovered a corpse hanging from a tree in the forest and recorded it for their vlog. The video features only the person’s face blurred out while the rest of his body is visible. The recording shows the group’s reactions which showed uncomfortable jokes and mild laughter. Paul points towards the corpse and asks, “Yo, you alive?” and follows the questions with “This is a first for me.”
After realizing that the situation was far more serious than he led on, he apologized to his viewers and stated that the vlog was supposed to be fun and suicide and mental illnesses are not a joke. Ironically he then looks into the camera and says, “What? You never stand next to a dead guy?”
For obvious reasons, this video underwent intense backlash. The story is appearing all over social media. In one case, a mother told her story of how her 13 year old son was severely affected from the video as his father took his own life years earlier. She states how her son kept referring to how the hands were all purple in the video. She is incredibly worries about her son and the effects that the video caused with his.
Suicide and mental illness are not topics to be toyed with. Paul, a child entertainer, uploaded a vlog featuring a deceased person in a “suicide forest” and joked about the situation. Once the backlash set in, Paul removed the video a day later and issued an apology note on Twitter, and eventually posted an apology video on YouTube. Some people stood by his side and said he should be forgiven because he apologized. He stated how he copes with shock through comedy. Though everyone deals with stress situations differently, it is not meant to be broadcasted in the internet, especially to kids. The fact of the matter is that he is 22 years old and should have been capable of making a better decision as a public figure to the millions of kids that look up to him.
I hope that this situation and this article make people uncomfortable and ignite a fire to work to understanding mental illness rather than avoiding it. If you are struggling or suffering for and mental illness, you are not alone. There are so many people here to support you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is listen below.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255