A popular vlogger posted a video on YouTube of a recently dead body hanging in a “suicide forest” to his 15 million followers this weekend, inciting social media outrage before he removed the video.
Logan Paul and his younger brother Jake Paul are well-known social media stars among younger audiences, and frequently posts videos of their adventures on YouTube. Logan Paul was filming a trip to Japan when he and his crew visited Aokigahara, home to a legendary “suicide forest,” which is reportedly the second most popular place in the world for suicidal people to take their own lives.
As New York Magazine reports, Paul uploaded the video titled “We found a body in the Japanese suicide forest” over the weekend, and it garnered over six million views before it was taken down.
“This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,” Paul reportedly said in the video introduction.
“I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever. Now with that said: Buckle the f*** up, because you’re never gonna see a video like this again!”
New York Magazine and the Washington Post noted that Paul said in the video that he would not be monetizing it, and the video included contact information for the American Society of Suicide Prevention.
Still, the footage in the YouTube video appears to have been shared for its shock value. Paul and his crew reportedly approach a man hanging from a tree in the forest.
“Yo, are you alive?” calls out Paul. “Are you f*** with us?”
The man, whose face is blurred in the video, appears not to be alive, and Paul concludes that he died recently.
“His hands are purple. He did this this morning,” Paul says.
“Oh no, I’m so sorry … This was supposed to be a fun vlog,” he added after turning the camera on himself.
By Monday, the news of the video had spread beyond Paul’s core audience of teens and tweens, and several people called him out on social media, sharing concerns about the impression the video made on his young audience.
suicide is not a joke.
suicide is not a way to gain views.
suicide is not to be taken lightly.
what logan paul did is not acceptable.
if you’re struggling, please take your health seriously and please seek help. your life is worth so much. you are worth so much.
— ariona,, 12 + 72 (@httpariona) January 2, 2018
Logan Paul – YOU had a choice to post that video, YOU chose to use that photo as your attention grabber, YOU put that video on YouTube, YOU didn’t think of how other people feel, lastly YOU know your target audience is young children, and they would be the ones watching!!!
— Adam Fraser (@AdamFraserUK) January 2, 2018
Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul also spoke out on Twitter to criticize the video.
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
In response to the backlash, Logan Paul reportedly removed the video — which is no longer available on YouTube — and issued an apology.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018
“I’m often reminded of how big a reach I have & with great power comes great responsibility,” Paul wrote in the apology, while adding that he did not post the view for views, because “I get views.”
“For the first time in my life I’m regretful to say I handled that power incorrectly. It won’t happen again.”
But some on social media did not feel that Paul’s apology was sufficient.
Logan Paul isn't sorry. He's on the front page of every news site in the world. His brand, like so many other contemptible youtubers, is built on controversy. This will attract people to that brand and his apology will sedate his fans. He'll benefit.
— Daniel Hardcastle (@DanNerdCubed) January 2, 2018
Here’s a thread of everything wrong with Logan Paul’s terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible apology. pic.twitter.com/Nmq0nPtrPG
— Connor Howe (@yaboyconnorhowe) January 2, 2018
At this time, YouTube has not issued a statement about the incident or taken any action against Paul.
[Feature image: Associated Press/Logan Paul]