Image: YouTuber Logan Paul (Picture: Youtube)
Editors Note: This article contains potentially triggering content relating to Suicide, please be advised.
The two Paul brothers are already known for being controversial but 2018 has only just started and Logan Paul, the older brother, has already hit a new low.
22-year-old YouTuber Logan Paul, who has a predominately young audience of over 15 million, recently uploaded a video which according to him, was to raise awareness about mental health and suicide.
During the video, he visited Aokigahara forest in Japan, a well-known place for people to commit suicide. Soon after he enters the forest, he and his friends come across somebody who recently completed suicide by hanging themselves. Instead of putting the camera down and calling the police immediately, he continues to film whilst standing next to the dead body and makes jokes over the matter. Not only does he film his own reaction, but he also films the dead body and zooms into the body’s hands that have turned blue/purple.
He contradicts himself by saying that he along with his friends visited the forest to stay overnight for the “haunted” aspect, whilst also stating that he did it to raise awareness for suicide rates and mental health in general. Whichever is the correct reason as to why he filmed and uploaded the video, there are definitely other ways to go about it. If Logan Paul wanted to have a spooky experience, he could have done what most people do and tell ghost stories, play with the Ouija board, or just play bloody mary. However, if his intention truly was to raise awareness for mental ill health, uploading a simple video sat at home talking about it and providing helplines would have been better than potentially triggering thousands, if not millions, of young people.
He also decides to use the dead body in the thumbnail as clickbait. Even though he didn’t monetize the video, he knew he would gain more views than usual. This, of course, led to the media talking about him which will ultimately lead to gaining subscribers as well as merch sales. Meaning that although he had the common sense not to monetize the video, it hasn’t stopped him from capitalizing and exploiting off of someone who recently ended their own life.
It took almost a day for people outside of his audience to react to the video but before then, it already had roughly 600k likes. As mentioned previously, Logan Paul has a young demographic so it’s safe to assume that most of these likes came from his young and easily influenced audience. Logan Paul’s fans are brainwashed and adore him to the extent where they are still defending what he did.
In addition to this, camping out in this forest as a “haunted experience” is extremely disrespectful to not only the other hundreds of people who have previously died there but also to the rest of Japanese society. It’s common sense that the country and the forest specifically shouldn’t be seen as an amusement park or a fun night out. There’s plenty of other places, including in his own country, to go for that.
Before Logan Paul deleted this video, it became number 10 on the trending page and it’s not a secret that YouTube actually handpicks all of the trending videos. After the website has taken down countless videos for having anything LGBTQ+ related in the title and other topics that don’t deserve it, everyone assumed that YouTube would take a video down that had “we found a dead body” in the title. However, YouTube did nothing about it other than rewarding him by putting it as trending and giving him even more views.
A couple of hours after everyone on social media as well as larger media outlets started to talk about the controversy behind the video, Logan Paul tweeted an apology written on his phone. To summarise his apology in better words, he essentially said “the reason as to why I laughed at a dead body was to raise awareness for suicide. I didn’t previously notice it was a mistake as I upload too many videos to think about the consequences of all of them”. A huge amount of thought went into making this video, including going to the Aokigahara forest in the first place, filming, editing, and uploading the video. It wasn’t just something he quickly did without thinking about it.
Ideally, the portrayal of suicide by celebrities should be about the grief and distress it causes, alongside providing information on how their audience can get help if needed. Not what Logan Paul did.
If you or someone you know is in need of emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – you can also visit one of their many branches in person or visit the website here.