YouTube Punishes Logan Paul After Suicide Video

In these days of 24/7 social media presence, bloggers, vloggers, and online personalities will go to all lengths to gain subscribers, fans, and followers. Logan Paul, a 22-year-old vlogger and internet sensation started his career on Vine (the now defunct service where users would upload and share six-second videos) and it expanded quickly to include other major social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

The goofy, mop-haired blonde would regularly upload funny videos and short films, and millions of followers ate it up. His media presence has grown to include TV appearances and a clothing line called Maverick.

But things turned sour when Paul crossed the line on New Years’ Eve. It was then that he and some friends planned to camp out in the Aokigahara forest at Mount Fuji in Japan.

Aokigahara forest (The Sea of Trees) is claimed, by locals, to be haunted and is known as “the suicide forest.” In Japan, suicide is looked upon as a morally responsible action stemming from ancient samurai who would take their own lives to avoid dishonor. In recent decades, suicide rates in Japan have increased because victims feel overwhelmed by school, business or social pressures to achieve “perfection.” They would rather commit an “honorable” suicide than bring dishonor or shame to their families and colleagues.

But back to Logan Paul. In his constant need for acknowledgment, praise, and attention, he recently uploaded a video to YouTube showing his discovery of a man who had hanged himself in the forest. Rather than stopping the video and deleting it, Paul and his camping friends were filmed laughing and joking as cameras continued to roll.And although he notified authorities, Paul proceeded with posting the video, which gleaned more than six million views in its first 24 hours. Because of intense criticism from the media, celebrities and former followers, he uploaded a video apology after he deleted the original forest video.

The apology video was seen by many as disingenuous because Paul claimed the now deleted ‘suicide video’ was to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. Critics felt it was just another vehicle for Paul to bring attention to himself.Nearly 500,000 signatures have been collected via www.change.org to convince YouTube to delete his channel. YouTube proceeded to remove his video and issued this response on January 9:

“It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.”

The next day, YouTube issued another statement confirming it was removing Logan Paul’s channels (which have more than 20 million subscribers) from its preferred ad program as well as cutting ties with several film projects they currently have with him.

Paul also issued an apology via Twitter, claiming “I didn’t do it for the 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. I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am.”

Really, Logan? Is this really how you feel as a 22-year-old young adult, who’s overwhelmed by the response to a bad decision or are you just eating up the money you’re earning from clicks?

The public may never know the truth. But as one woman, Anna Akana, tweeted: “That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.” Just sayin’.

Suicide is not a joke. If you or a loved one need support, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 800.273.8255.