The Apache Pow Wow

Selfish and Unacceptable: Logan Paul’s ‘Suicide Forest’ Video

Michelle Lee, Staff Writer

On Dec. 31, Logan Paul, a vlogger with 15 million subscribers on Youtube, posted a video depicting the body of an apparent suicide victim in the Aokigahara forest, also known as the Suicide Forest. What started out as an innocent, light-hearted video turned into something much darker as soon as Paul and his group happened upon the body. Instead of immediately turning the camera off, Paul chose to venture closer, even including close-up shots of the victim’s body. Controversy over Paul’s actions erupted over the Internet, some accusing him of joking about suicide while others rushed to his defense. The video was taken down two days later, but it had already been viewed five million times by then. Paul announced that he would be taking a hiatus from vlogging, and Youtube has since cut him from the Google Preferred program, where brands sell advertisements on the platform’s top 5% content creators, and suspended original works with the vlogger.

Given that mental health and suicide are sensitive and serious topics, what Paul displayed in the video was atrociously unacceptable, especially pertaining to the public setting in which the video was uploaded. It is one thing to have the misfortune of discovering the victim, but to continue recording and making light of the situation is another. The video should have never made it onto the Internet, out of respect to the victim and others who were affected. Paul made the conscious decision of uploading the video, knowing the sensitive topics at and included graphic images on top of that. The fact that Paul chose to do this reinforces the implication that he lacks regard for the people and the effect his actions will have on others. His backlash is well-deserved and serves to deter him from similar actions in the future. Not only did the video violate Youtube guidelines, but Paul’s actions in the video itself left much to be desired.

Paul’s lack of respect for the victim was also a major cause of backlash. After the discovery, Paul continued to make jokes and laugh at the victim’s expense, treating the discovery like a hallmark. Instead of leaving the victim alone, Paul continued to film it in close proximity. Paul then proceeded to say that this was the “realest” vlog he had ever filmed and continued to laugh. Suicide is not something that should be treated as a tourist attraction. Making jokes and laughing about the situation is disrespectful to the victim and anyone who is sensitive to the situation. Paul’s actions have an even wider impact, considering the millions of people who watched the video.

The viewers of Paul’s videos are generally comprised of the younger demographic and his influence is not to be taken lightly. Paul’s blatant lack of respect for the deceased is proclaiming to the younger generation that it is acceptable to joke about suicide. Although Paul mentioned in his video that suicide is not a joke, his actions say otherwise. Since then, Paul has uploaded an apology video addressing his mistakes and repenting. His actions were inexcusable; the public apology was a commendable effort at redemption. His sincerity seemed forced at best and surfaced only when he was publicly shamed and retributed. His ego and insensitivity forced him to apologize only when consequences were placed upon him. Rather than apologizing of his own free will, his selfishness drove him to do the right thing only when it affected him. A public figure is obligated to set forward a good example, but Paul’s actions have been the exact opposite and a terrible influence on his viewers. Paul is now on indefinite hiatus, and netizens are hoping that he learns from his mistakes and returns a better person.

Photo Courtesy of J-14.COM

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Selfish and Unacceptable: Logan Paul’s ‘Suicide Forest’ Video