In the internet age, you no longer have to go to Hollywood to become famous. The emergence of YouTube has spawned a generation of online bloggers who amass millions of followers and make millions of dollars through ad revenue on their videos.
Typical material in these "vlogs" includes crazy stunts, outlandish pranks, and other attention-grabbing antics always accompanied by an over-the-top title to generate interest. Popular videos get shared all over the internet, rack up tons of views, and generate piles of cash for their creators.
It's all laughs and paychecks, until things go too far.
One of YouTube's brightest stars, Logan Paul, is suddenly at risk of losing everything after he posted a highly controversial video in which he films -- and appears to laugh at -- the dead body of a suicide victim.
Under the title, "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest " the video (which has since been deleted) shows Paul and his crew venture into Japan's Aokigahara forest a notorious site for suicides. The camera is turned on a deceased person as the YouTuber pokes fun at the body's appearance. The crew then drinks sake in a nearby parking lot as emergency crews carry the body away.
Although Paul claimed his intent was to raise awareness for mental health issues, the backlash came almost immediately. Critics angrily pointed out how disrespectful the footage was to the victim and their family. "What if that was your family member?" many asked. Actress Anna Akana had a particularly cutting reaction:
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 Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul (no relation, thankfully) didn't hold back, either:
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 With the tide clearly breaking against him, Logan Paul removed the video but not before it had racked up some six million views. YouTube has acknowledged that the video violated their policy and public pressure is mounting for Paul to receive punishment.
**Loyal Fans: "Who Cares?"
Despite the storm of negative publicity, not all of Paul's fans are jumping ship. In fact, some voiced their support for the embattled star on Twitter, saying they "forgive him" and are "tired of all the criticism." They argue that humor is simply a "coping mechanism" in intense situations, and that Paul shouldn't be judged for how he reacted on camera.
It's worth noting that many of Paul's followers are young teens who perhaps can't fully grasp why people are so angry about the video -- although that makes his decision to broadcast the disturbing content to them all the more disturbing.
Anything For Fame
People have always been willing to push the bar in search of fame, but this surely takes the cake. How could someone think it a good idea to record a dead body and upload it on the internet for millions to see?
In one word: views. Having tasted success, it seems some YouTubers will stop at nothing to gain attention, increase their followers, and, of course, make more money. With eyes trained on money and popularity, all moral considerations go out the window.
In our hyper-connected society, this dynamic is deeply troubling. Whereas entertainers of decades past had to run things by producers, network executives, and the FCC, these days YouTube stars can film whatever they want and broadcast it to millions of people with essentially no oversight. The appearance of videos such as the one filmed in Japan seem to be an inevitable result.
The internet has made life better in countless ways, but this is certainly not one of them.
I am unfamiliar with the work of Logan Paul. I personally have no interest in the type of content he is known for and this recent posting certainly doesn't change my view. For a small country, the suicide rate in Japan is better than double that of the US. Even though the stigma of suicide in Japanese culture is much less than anywhere else, it is none the less an unfortunate loss of human life and one than produces much pain to the family and friends of the deceased. My question is how can so many people find this act of desperation something to joke about and sensationalize. This has little to do with the availability of information and social media, and is more about the character and integrity of the person. Mr. Paul and I suspect most of his followers have way too much time on their hands and have lost their way into what's really important in this world. Sorry to say it, but it will take something catastrophic in their lives to finally "see the light"
Yeah I watched the video when it came out but a video by Phillip DeFranco has some great points on the issue because he mentions how due to his audience he will not lose any growth in his channel but will gain more even though it was sick and a horrible thing to do yet the real thing you have to look at is how the video got through his whole team of editors and people that help him create his content not realise what they were posting to millions of people however Youtube itself also needed to be more proactive on the situation because they personally did not remove the video. The way Logan has manipulated his fans in the thinking they are part of the 'Logang' and being a 'Maverick' is another reason that people of that age are also sticking up for Logan but with the new controversy of him getting sued over his clothing brand he will give him a reality check and people have to realise also that the internet are more ruthless and unforgiving yet there will be things that will come up later in the year and they will move on because he is only 22 and most people will do something dumb when they're young large or small
Suicide is no laughing matter, yet I'm glad SOMETHING is being said about the serious mental health crisis in this country. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people! Auto accidents are first, and murder is second, which is done by mentally ill people too.
I understand Logan Paul was trying to get people's attention to mental health issues by using shock and awe... perhaps signifying a mentally disturbed way itself. So many mental disorders have a high rate of suicide attempts, like passive-aggressive, borderline, high functioning autism, and many more. Many people need help and there are very few effective resources available. It is sad.
IMO, his video is very disrespectful to those that had a loved one die that way. If I had a family member or friend commit suicide, I'd be very upset at first... then furious. But everyone makes mistakes and he has sincerely apologized for his terrible lapse of judgment. What other punishment should he get? He has received extensive harsh public criticism and has publicly professed several times he was terribly wrong.
I don’t know what consequences he should face but there is no underlying social value in what he did and his contrived concern for awareness of issues of mental illness is just damage control. How can anyone really believe that this person had any intention other than mocking Japanese culture and making money from the children that follow his videos. The other parts of his videos from Japan that have been shown, clearly establish him as a racist and a bigot, along with the low life people that were with him. This is a pure manifestation of our American greed based culture and economy. Apologizing over and over doesn’t erase what he did or change his moral fiber. Did he return any money he made from the millions of views of this video? Did he offer to contribute any of his money to Japanese organizations that battle mental illness? His words are meaningless.
Rick, good point of Logan Paul making a contribution with the money gained from the views on that video. I agree, it seems if he were truly contrite, he'd at least do that.
I understand the Japanese culture is different than ours. They may see the suicide as a mark against the whole family so the video's popularity now may continue to hurt them in many ways.
The video was taken off by the time I heard about it on here, but I wonder if it had any info on what led the person to commit suicide. Why doesn't the Japanese take action to stop using the forest as suicide grounds? Regardless of Paul's intentions, it does raise questions... and has anyone else promoted a spotlight on this sad, senseless problem?
Hi, Linda. The Japanese government does recognize the long-standing problem and has posted a sign at the entrance of the forest about the sanctity of life and encourages people to seek help if they are contemplating suicide. Unfortunately, they can’t constantly patrol the entire place and prevent people who are determined to kill themselves from doing so (a bit like the Golden Gate Bridge).
Life is a very precious and sacred gift from God. I find Logan Paul's actions repulsive. He should be removed from his UTUBE position. John Smithkey III RN BSN
It deeply disturbs and disgusts me as well that YouTube didn’t follow its own regulations and prohibit the video’s appearance on its site. Unbelievable.
It shows the jaded side of people, nobody cares about anyone or anything if they can get there 15 minutes, this YouTube crap is just that, I could go on but people make me sick and it gets worse everyday, just look at the late night crap that is spewed everynight in the name of comedy.
YES,EXACTLY it's CALLED the DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP SYNDROME or NOT HAVING a LOVING HOME EDUCATION, a CLOSET CHILD FOREVER !!!
Great Scot! Nothing whatsoever to do with Trump or your Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Trump? Really? How stupid can u get?
I wouldn't make a youtube video and laugh, and I am not defending Logan Paul, but it could be that ridicule might discourage a few suicides. No one wants people to make fun of them. That used to be a good psychological tool to discourage certain behavior.
THEN, JOHN OWINS WHOM ARE U DEFENDING as USUAL YOUR MENTALLY UNSTABLE SUGAR DADDY DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP, SPEAK UP COWARD, TAKE UR FEET OUT of UR MOUTH, VILLAGE IDIOT.
MILLANIALS HAVE NO RESPECT. They are the WORST generation IN HISTORY. They lack respect and manners and are all in BLACK LIVES MATTER (full of racists).
I THANK GOD my adult child is sterile so they cannot produce an awful ENTITLED BRAT millanial.
The huge backlash may be good, even eye opening, but why persist at beating a dead horse? Yes, accountability is good, but could it be a bit hypocritical to be continually "throwing stones" at Logan Paul? I shudder to think of some of my thoughtless actions having unintended results in my younger days. Whatever his motives, Paul has not tried to defend his actions, nor make up excuses for them, but has apologized numerous times instead. He seems fairly young, and hopefully this is a huge step in his maturity process. Who knows how he will come to atone for this mistake. We all make mistakes, but isn't the important thing what we do about them?
Here is more on the story at CNN:
I don't think he ought to be banished from YouTube. He's young and stupid and ill-mannered but he might be able to learn
WELL BUTTERFLY OWINS YOU HAVEN'T BEEN BANISH FROM ANYWHERE YET, I GUESS the LEFTISTs are TOLERANT AREN'T YOU GRATEFUL, DUMP DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP
John Mayer, IMO, it's obvious that you are overwhelmingly the best advocate for Trump and the republican party. Think about it. If you are symbolic of the people against Trump and the republicans; someone being unnecessarily insulting and disrespectful toward those with differing opinions, that will cause many to refrain from being in the same camp as you.
On the other hand, John Owens has been very respectful in his posts that I've seen, even to you. People will take that as a point for the republican party.
John Mayer, if you have Asperger or a disorder that makes appropriate social skills a challenge for you, please tell us. There's nothing "wrong" with having a neurology different than others and there are a lot of extremely brilliant people that innately struggle with civilized discourse, especially concerning conflicting personal views. If that is your case, please inform us so we can understand your style in a better light. If we know your social skills are weak neurologically, then it would reflect better for your side of the debate.
I agree John. If some people don't want to watch him, they certainly don't have to do so. Why be so quick to take away people's rights after one mistake? It's not like his video led to the suicide. If he loses viewers, that's the repercussion of his actions. Personally, I've never watched Logan Paul and probably never will.
He is the personification of all that is wrong with his generation.
HIS is the PERSONIFICATION of ALL that is WRONG with the PRESIDENCY and CONGRESS, DUMP DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP
OH man ur negative! Learn and let live! John u scare me! I think Paul Logan messed up. I pray for the family. I wish we didn't have internet sometimes! Be happy, positive and it shall flow through the world! I am worried about our children.
Ever notice that the hardcore anti Trump people sound just as stupid as a Trump supporter.
As for the actual subject of this... YouTube is the bane of today's society and I am not a fan of Mr Paul. Fact is though there was a warning at the beginning that said it was to raise awareness. He also blurred the face out of respect. His laughter is just a coping mechanism. If I was walking through the suicide forest and saw a body, I'd half laugh cuz I couldn't believe I actually came across a body. It's not like he knew the person. If he knew the person I'm sure he would have freaked. But he didn't and I'm sure he didn't scout the place to look for a body before he filmed. It's not every day that you can find a body.
There is the fact though that he did disrespect the Japanese in general while he was in Japan. And not just with the suicide thing.
1 person posts a video. 6 million view it. Who is accountable? I would said everyone.
It is SO sad that this happened, and even more pathetic that a certain commenter is making this political. This article has nothing to do with the current presidency and everything to do with the value of life and the current global mental health crisis.
Someone w/ "coping mechanisms" this dysfunctional needs to be evaluated and possibly medicated, not allowed to spread/condone his mental disease like an STD via YouTube >:(
There are consequences for bad choices, and God doesn't hand out any Mulligans. YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms are typically where people with low self esteem, and ego problems go and spend a lot of time. And it's safe to say a lot of low intellect folks are drawn to their drama and postings, which just feeds into the dysfunction. Meanwhile, YouTube and Facebook make billions off both sides, which reminds me of the Roman emperors using one citizen group in the arena to entertain those in the stands. Ironically there was an apology today on Twitter saying that YouTube's management will try "harder" to make sure bad content is addressed. I consider those just words, devoid of action or honesty.
This is what happens when you have no producer involved in creating content. Personally, I think that the kid was more shocked than actively trying to be disrespectful. I think that they all would have had a massive awakening to what they were doing. I can imagine the preprod talks "We need to be more edgy... yeah! let's go to Suicide Forrest!" Next minute, dead bodies. "Shit life isnt social media, life is real". I don't think his career is over but perhaps this is the wake up call he needed to use his platform for a greater good rather than just person ego gains and a little bit of coin.
Karma can be a harsh mistress.
Logan Paul deserves all the karma that is coming to him fro that video he posted. This guy is so stupid it ain't even funny I mean really come filming a dead body for views. That is so low I can't even explain it I mean I want to beat the crap out of the guy for not going to the police which was not too far from the forest. I am disgusted with the whole thing just disgusted.
Logan is a child seeking attention, negativity. My son committed suicide and I was horrified at the content and actions contained in Logan's video. He should be banned from TV and utube. Boycott anyone or companies backing him.
Sometimes people do things for the wrong reason, and it's clear that Logan is a repeat performer. Further, the response to his social media shellacking has been reactionary and not one of a repentant soul. Left alone, I have no doubt that the attention he garnered will be fodder for yet another exploit of a tragedy or human suffering. Yes, his career should be over. You don't let children play with guns, and Logan is as destructive.