Logan Paul is one of Youtube’s biggest vloggers, and he is facing backlash for exploiting a Japanese man’s suicide.
Paul, who is known for his over the top stunts and 15 million YouTube subscribers, recently visited Japan’s Aokigahara forest.
The area is known as Japan’s “Suicide Forest”. The rate of deaths there is intentionally hidden from the public to not encourage suicidal visits, but it’s believed that around 100 suicides occur a year within the forest. Officials have put up signs urging suicidal visitors to seek help and annual body searches are conducted to retrieve bodies.
Despite Aokigahara’s well-known reputation, Paul says he cast the video as an attempt to search for ghosts. They brought camping gear and a football to play with since they planned to spend the night. In the opening of the video, the 22-year-old warns, “this is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted on this channel. With that said: buckle the f**k up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again.”
In the video, which has been removed, Paul quickly finds a dead Japanese man hanging from a tree. The man’s face was blurred, but his hands, clothes, and bag are clearly shown. Paul and his friends initially shout and laugh at the body, wondering if it was a joke while they call the police.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
Paul has issued an apology, stating that he intended to start a positive conversation about suicide and mental health. Instead, critics have taken exception to Paul’s use of humor throughout the video – something he claims to be a coping mechanism. Despite the video not being monetized, Paul is also being criticized for exploiting a young man’s suicide for views.
When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved.
You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.
— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) January 2, 2018
How dare you! You disgust me. I can't believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.
— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) January 2, 2018
logan paul exploiting a suicide victim in Japan to the tune of 6M+ views while youtube demonetizes students protesting in Iran is a perfect example of what a sociopathic garbage fire youtube has become. this industry has no soul left.
— Laci Green (@gogreen18) January 2, 2018
It is the purview of the privileged young to believe everything is for them, to be commented on by them. The young person who died was not for Paul- not their body, not their image, not their story.
— Caitlin Doughty (@TheGoodDeath) January 2, 2018
Japan has one of the highest suicide rates of developed nations. A 2015 report from the World Health Organization puts Japan’s rate at 15.4 suicides per 100,000 people.
Despite Aokigahara’s dark reputation, it is still a popular tourist location. Officials warn visitors to stay on the designated trails or risk getting lost in a sea of trees.