A job that has become extremely appealing to young people recently is to become a YouTuber, but the increase in content creators on YouTube’s site has driven many of them to try to get views on their videos by any means necessary. Most of the time that means making a fake story time video or putting a clickbait title on their videos, but Logan Paul decided to take it a step further.
Paul is known for showing off how much money and how many fans he has, and in order to maintain his popularity, he usually clickbaits. With Paul’s most recent video, he thought that it would be a good idea to exploit the suffering of people with mental health struggles for views.
He went to Japan and visited the Aokigahara forest, also known as the suicide forest, to film a vlog, but then came across a dead body and showed it on camera. Keep in mind, Paul’s viewers are mostly children, and just the fact that the Aokigahara forest is also called the “suicide forest” should have raised a red flag that this video would not be appropriate for his audience. Children should be taught about mental health, but they should not be subjected to the gruesome images that he displayed in his video.
In the video, Paul says that his intention was to make a fun vlog for his fans, but the site of where many people ended their own lives sounds like the last place to be for a light-hearted video. The Aokigahara forest’s reputation is a glimpse into the stigma on mental illness in Japan, and it is disgusting that Paul chose to make a profit off of a suicide victim. The victim was disrespected by the video not only because their body was being shown for shock value that would get Paul more views, but also by the fact that Paul stood next to their body and laughed. He downplayed the seriousness of the situation and joked with his friends about how crazy it was that they had run into a dead body, all the while ignoring the fact that the victim had been a living, breathing person that was dealing with so many hardships that they felt they had no other option but to end their life.
Paul posted an apology after he received backlash for his video, but it is more than clear that his apology is not sincere. Just the fact that the thumbnail of his Aokigahara forest video featured the dead body proves that he wanted to turn the victim’s death into a spectacle that would make him trend on YouTube. One would assume that such a heartless video would have been taken down by YouTube immediately, but it was actually up long enough to get 6 million views. In no universe does it make sense for a video like Paul’s to be monetized and remain up on YouTube after being reviewed by their content assessment team when countless LGBTQ+ videos have been demonetized even though they were not graphic in any way.
If Paul truly believed that his video was going to spread awareness about mental health, then he lacks basic common sense. Showing the dead body of a victim of suicide is triggering for someone with a mental illness to see, and then on top of that to make jokes about the fact that you found the body shows a lack of empathy. Paul keeps trying to fight off the claim that he uploaded the video for views, but it is hard to believe when even in his apology he made to sure to bring up how successful his YouTube career has been.
To anyone struggling with a mental illness, please go look at the Buddy Project’s website because it is full of helpful resources such as hotline numbers and self-harm alternatives.