YouTube Star Logan Paul Apologizes to Fans After Sharing Video From Japanese 'Suicide Forest'
By Emily Krauser
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Rolling Stone
Logan Paul is taking a lot of heat for his latest video.
The 22-year-old YouTuber shared a 15-minute video on Sunday of him and a few friends visiting Aokigahara, a forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan that is often referred to as "suicide forest" due to the many suicides that take place there.
The graphic video, which featured a dead body and was titled "We found a dead boy in the Japanese Suicide Forest...," has since been deleted. Paul issued an apology to his 3.9 million Twitter followers on Monday, claiming he posted the footage to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
"Let's start with this -- I'm sorry," he wrote in a lengthy statement on social media. "This is a first for me. I've never faced criticism like this before, because I've never made a mistake like this before. I'm surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I'm still a human being. I can be wrong."
"I didn't do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the Internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That's never the intention," he continued. "I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought 'if this video saves just ONE life, it'll be worth it,' I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am."
According to New York Magazine, Paul introed the video by saying, “I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever. Now with that said: buckle the f**k up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again!”
After discovering and filming the body, Paul tells his followers, “Suicide is not a joke. Depression and mental illness are not a joke. We came here with an intent to focus on the ‘haunted’ aspect of the forest. This obviously just became very real, and obviously, a lotta people are going through a lotta s**t in their lives.”
Despite that statement in the vid and his subsequent apology, many of Paul's fans and celebrities were extremely angry about the video being posted at all. They quickly took to Twitter to share their disapproval, as well as ways to donate to suicide prevention charities.
The amount of personal + social unawareness Logan Paul has displayed in THAT video is mind blowing to me. How could one w such power and influence have the audacity to put something so thoughtless online? You have potentially intensified an entire family's grief beyond measure.
Suicide is serious. People have lost loved ones, idols, hero’s, fans to suicide. Filming a video and mocking a victim is not raising suicide awareness. Laughing at the body of a poor depressed soul. I can’t believe the disrespect of the victim, their family, and your YOUNG fans.
What Logan Paul did was truly disgusting and unforgivable. Suicide is not a joking and laughing matter. It is a mental illness that people struggle with every day. And if you or anyone you know struggles with these kinds of thoughts, please call this number. (1-800-273-8255)