by Kassie Boyd, news editor
YouTube celebrity Logan Paul, who rose to fame on the popular app Vine in 2013, has come under fire for posting a video entitled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” which was quickly deleted, but not before garnering nearly three million views.
Paul begins the video by saying: “This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted on this channel and this is the most circumstantially surreal event that has ever happened in my life.”
Paul and a group of friends filmed their experience in Japan’s Aokigahara. The forest, located near Mount Fuji, holds the tragic title of the second most popular place to commit suicide (the first is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco). The video shows a hanging victim, unblurred and uncensored, with the exception of his face. Japan adheres to much stricter privacy laws than the United States, and while Paul will avoid legal trouble, he demonstrates a massive lack of respect for the deceased man, and Japanese culture in general.
Other than blatant disregard for cultural and emotional sensitivity, Paul spends the entire video perpetuating the American stereotype: loud and ill-mannered. While the body is certainly the most shocking part of the video, it’s not the only problematic part of Paul’s trip to Japan.
Paul and company spent the entirety of their trip making a mockery of Japanese culture. He dresses up in Kimonos and throws Poké Balls at unsuspecting people, he destroys things in stores and shoves dead fish and squid into stranger’s faces.
The video was only up for a few hours. It was deleted and followed by a half-hearted apology that placed the blame on everything and everyone but himself. It’s important to note that his apology video was monetized, meaning Paul ultimately profited from this whole ordeal.
YouTube came under fire following Paul’s video, for allowing it to trend and for not taking harsher action. Many claimed that Paul’s video violated Youtube’s strict content laws about privacy and disturbing imagery.
Following the blowback, Youtube dropped Paul from their YouTube Red comedy “Foursome,” and set aside any original material Paul was working on. He was cut from Google Preferred, a premium ad program that runs on the top five percent of Youtube channels. While Paul will still make money off his videos, he won’t make nearly as much.
Subscribers and non-subscribers alike denounced his actions. “I think what he posted was extremely offensive to people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or depression,” said junior Mikayla Balog. “It’s also offensive to Japanese culture and the family of the deceased.”
YouTube’s official statement included a reminder of their partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a condemnation of Paul’s actions. Many said YouTube did too little, too late.
“Everyone deserves a second chance,” Paul said in a recent video. He plans to return to vlogging soon, most likely hoping the whole incident will blow over.
Maybe it will; people forget or ignore issues and troublesome past in order to focus solely on artistic matter.
But his reputation has taken a massive, and well-deserved blow.
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School