03 January 2018 // At Aspiring Journalism Professionals

Logan Paul Is A Professional Manipulator Who Used Suicide As Clickbait

The YouTuber tried to capitalize off of tragedy, and in doing so, may have ruined his career.

Annie Bolin

To those of you who don’t know who Logan Paul is, congratulations.

The 22-year-old YouTube creator, with a combined 51 million followers, may have just ended his career with one 15-minute video.

On New Year’s Eve, Paul uploaded a since-deleted vlog in which he and his friends explored Aokigahara, Japan. Also known as "Suicide Forest," Aokigahra is known for its high suicide rates, with an estimated 10 to 30 suicides per year. In 2003, a record 105 bodies were recovered.

Paul was disrespectful from the beginning of the vlog, obnoxiously joking with his friends as they arrived and asking any spirits in the forest to refrain from haunting them. As he put on a jacket before entering the forest, he joked, "if I'm getting haunted by a ghost, I'm gonna do it in my fucking Gucci jacket, I wanna look good."

At the midpoint of the vlog, the group encounters what they later confirmed to be the body of a recent suicide victim hanging from a tree. While Paul's friends giggled, he pointed out that "this isn't a fucking joke, guys" as he continued filming.

Only blurring out the victim's head, Paul filmed himself with the victim in the background as he asked the group's tour guide to call the authorities.

In arguably the most upsetting part of the video, Paul gets as close as possible to the victim, showing a close-up of the victim's hands, noting their purple color.

Paul then claims suicide and mental health awareness as his reasoning for filming the victim, noting that "depression isn't a joke, guys, suicide isn't a joke."

Except, Logan Paul, filming the body of a person who committed suicide not even 24 hours before you decided to joke around in a place only second to the Golden Gate Bridge in its suicide rates is not "raising awareness."

It's exploitation.

Contrary to his disingenuous apology posted on Twitter, Paul was, in fact, doing this for views. He filmed the victim as clickbait in a move to get the most views, most likes and most intense shock factor.

All he wants is attention and money.

And that's exactly what he got – the video reached over six million views and was number 10 on YouTube's Trending feed before it was taken down.

Yes, this was just a YouTube video. No, Paul really isn't that famous.

But since the majority of his 15 million subscribers on YouTube are impressionable kids and teenagers who he regularly manipulates with wild clickbait, this is a big deal.

Paul's loyal followers, which he calls the "Logang," quickly came to his defense, most claiming he only made a mistake and should be forgiven.

This support was short-lived, and other YouTube creators and celebrities publicly condemned Paul.

Actress and YouTube creator Anna Akana reminded Paul that her own sister committed suicide, adding, "you do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness."

YouTube creator Kendall Rae called the video "sickening" and asked YouTube to remove the video "immediately."

Even high-profile celebrities like journalist Piers Morgan, "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul and "Game of Thrones'" Sophie Turner slammed Paul.

Vlogger Casey Neistat gave Paul advice, suggesting he "make a donation to the National Suicide Lifeine [sic]" or invite "experts in the field to share information about prevention" on Paul's channel.

Adding fuel to the fire, Paul posted an additional video apology on Twitter, in which he offered his condolences to his fans, the victim and the victim's family, subsequently requesting that his followers not defend him.

While Paul may appear sincere in his apology, he did wait two whole days to make the video, and, again, left the original forest vlog uploaded for 24 hours, just enough time for him to make a profit.

The majority of the YouTube community is calling for his channel to be suspended or deleted, and even after YouTube released an official statement on the matter to YouTube's go-to creator for news and controversy, Philip DeFranco, the company's plans are unclear.

What is clear, however, is that Logan Paul is no stranger to manipulation. He tried to capitalize off of tragedy, and in doing so, may have ruined his livelihood.

I don't feel bad for him, and neither should you.

If you are struggling with depression, self-harm or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text WELL to 741-741 to speak or text with certified counselors.