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Aokigahara Forest—sometimes called the Sea of Trees—is located in Japan and is famous for its large variety of plant and animal life. It’s also infamous for being known as “Suicide Forest” because of the large amount of suicides and attempted suicides that happen every year. According to Wikipedia, 105 bodies were found in 2003; and in 2010, 54 people committed suicide out of more than 200 attempts.
Twenty-two-year-old YouTuber Logan Paul recently recorded a video with three friends which he claims was to raise awareness of suicide. In the video—titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…”—Paul tells viewers to “buckle the f—- up” and that they will never “see a video like this again.”
The apology from Paul has been considered by many about as distasteful and insensitive as the video itself. Paul tweeted two screenshots of an apology note on his iPhone in which he immediately talks about himself (he uses some form of the words “I” and “me” more than 25 times in his short apology) and how he’s “never faced criticism like this before. He says he “didn’t do it for the views” and he goes on to say that he “thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet [sic]…”
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
But, the Internet wasn’t having it, with actress Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana), who lost a sister to suicide, tweeting “You don’t walk into the suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.”
When my brother found my sisterâ€™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
Twitter user and fellow YouTuber Joey (@TheAn1meMan) tweeted:
“As somebody who lives in Japan, has Japanese family and has filmed a video in the suicide forest, the amount of disrespect Logan Paul showed in his video is honestly sickening. No amount of demonetizing or “like if you feel sad” can excuse what he did. Really disappointing :(”
As somebody who lives in Japan, has Japanese family and has filmed a video in the suicide forest, the amount of disrespect Logan Paul showed in his video is honestly sickening.
No amount of demonetizing or "like if you feel sad" can excuse what he did.
Really disappointing 🙁
— Joey (@TheAn1meMan) January 2, 2018
And another YouTuber, Daz Black (@daz_black) said in a tweet “I cannot believe logan Paul posted that video and filmed someone who committed suicide up close for his audience of children to watch […] zero respect shown in that video. I literally am so angry”
I cannot believe logan Paul posted that video and filmed someone who committed suicide up close for his audience of children to watch. Fucking disgusting and completely in human ðŸ˜ zero respect shown in that video. I literally am so angry
— Daz Black (@daz_black) January 2, 2018
Of course, not everyone thinks Paul was in the wrong and some people are asking people to give him a second chance. The video received over 500,000 likes before being removed from YouTube.
Sigh…. he apologized, cut him some slack, he obviously feels bad.
— Alise Stewart (@AliseStewart03) January 2, 2018
Come on guys give him another chance
— Snakw Greed (@SnakkGw) January 2, 2018
But, some Twitter users aren’t accepting Paul’s apology. Whether or not this has an affect on his subscriber base has yet to be seen, as of writing Paul still has over 15 million subscribers.
Lmao you think an apology will make us forget about what you did? No. Youâ€™re canceled. GOODBYE
— NEW YEAR JAS ðŸ’“âœ¨ (@triskasbabygirl) January 2, 2018
Paul’s apology goes on to talk about himself some more and to say “it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications.”
For anyone that’s struggled with suicidal thoughts or lost a loved one to suicide, Paul’s video and subsequent apology are appalling. Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in a moment—and yes, sometimes human beings don’t think things through. Paul refers to his actions as “a mistake,” but one might argue that there were many points at which the adult YouTuber could have strived for a moment of clarity before posting a video that exploited someone’s loved one for personal gain.
Perhaps Paul could have stopped while venturing in, he could have stopped whiled editing, or uploading, or writing the description. He even could have stopped when he asked “bro, did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest?” Paul ends his apology with a peace sign emoji (??) and a hashtag that promotes his videos (Logan4Life).
As someone who has struggled with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts I find this video and apology disturbing. Ending your apology with a self-promoting hashtag isn’t an apology, it’s marketing. That being said, I understand people make poor decisions, and I’m sure being YouTube famous comes with its own pressures and challenges. I hope Paul’s choice to upload this video can serve as a lesson in ethics and morality; for both him, and everyone else who uploads content to the Internet.
If there’s one good thing that came out of this, it’s the plethora of articles and posts promoting suicide awareness and advocating mental help. If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts or depression, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They provide free, confidential assistance to people in distress at all times. Learn more at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
You can read Logan Paul’s full apology here.