The Outlook

Youtuber Logan Paul Apologizes

Harrison Le, Staff Writer

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Six million people saw a dead body, with a reported 600,000 likes, within 24 hours of its upload. Logan Paul, a popular Youtuber, made headlines for uploading a controversial Tokyo vlog filmed in the Aokigahara forest, nicknamed the Suicide Forest. The video has brought up a variety of problems about the creator’s morals. Because of a partnership between Youtube and Paul, the vlog ranked on the trending page before being removed due to the massive uproar that pushed Paul from tween entertainer to the front page news.

The Aokigahara forest is known for its scenic views with large lush trees at the base of Mt. Fuji, however it’s more well-known for the tragic tradition of suicides in the area due to a long standing belief in the area as a home for the dead. The site peaked in popularity in 2016 when the movie titled The Forest, featuring Natalie Dormer, made it to the big screen. Videos have flooded YouTube these past years with “adventurers” camping overnight, hoping for a chance for a glimpse of ghosts. However, most know the vlogs aren’t to capture ghosts but millions of views videos like this often bring. These vloggers exploited the sacred area deeply rooted in Japanese culture and it was only a matter of time before Paul joined them.

Paul, 22, is best known for his overly flamboyant attitude and flashy personality. Pranks and clips on his daily life are among his top viewed videos, which are specifically aimed at young kids. According to Business Insider, he is the 4th biggest Youtuber in terms of revenue as each video rakes in millions of views. The Tokyo blog started off innocently enough, at least to Paul’s standards, with the video “Kicked out of Japan (I’m Sorry).” In it, Paul runs around the streets of Japan messing with locals and being a nuisance, as seems to be the formula for all his vlogs. While waving dead fish and yelling in public areas is certainly annoying, the pranks are harmless.

While most of his acts bordered on disrespecting Japanese culture, part three of his Tokyo vlog took things past the point of sensibility. In a tour of the Aokigahara forest, Paul comes upon a body; then films the suicide victim hanging from a tree for around three minutes. Despite covering the body’s face, the rest of the body is clearly seen with graphic detail, getting within feet of the man. Paul appears shocked and states that suicide isn’t a joke. He reminds viewers he only came to focus on the haunted aspect. Disturbingly he seems otherwise unmoved, continuing to film the man. Paul’s companions seem to smile throughout the encounter seemingly unmoved by the body. With zero regard for the man as a father, son, or brother, Paul choose to post the video to an audience of 16 million subscribers. Paul went from “Real life Pokemon Go in Tokyo” to videoing a suicide victim in the space of a couple hours and if there is not something wrong with that, I don’t know what is.

Within a day, response videos came flooding in calling out Paul’s morals as a person. I can’t help but agree. No one in their right mind should publish a video showing a dead body especially for the purpose of gaining money. Paul had to have known the video would have gone viral. Even by demonetizing the video, the viral hit would have drawn attention to his other videos bringing in even more views and cash. Even though we don’t know exactly what he was thinking, it is unethical and completely sideways with what any normal person should have done.

Even Youtube distanced themselves from him by canceling his Youtube Red show. But it could be possible he turned himself around. More than two weeks after the initial upload, taking an unusually long hiatus, Paul released a vlog apologizing and specifically detailing suicide prevention. In the video he interviews suicide survivor Kevin Hines and even the director for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The new upload is stuffed full of dramatic camera angles, slow music and fancy editing that for sure gives the impression that he truly is sorry. He explains he has grown from the experience and reminds the viewer that suicide is preventable. Paul even pledges a donation of a million dollars to suicide prevention organizations to prove his remorsefulness.

However, to me it’s almost like he is trying to “buy” his viewers back. And maybe it’s working. Logan Paul has actually gained subscribers. On Jan. 25, he reached a peak of over 100,000 new followers in a single day. It’s hard to tell if the recent apology video is an attempt to build back his reputation or him being truly regretful, but only time will tell.

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Youtuber Logan Paul Apologizes