Screenshot of Logan Paul in his apology video, January 11, 2018 - Logan Paul Vlogs/YouTube Channel
CAIRO – 11 January 2018: YouTube Star Logan Paul is facing serious backlash from audiences to his host channel as controversy develops concerning a video he uploaded visiting Japan's 'suicide forest,' wherein he recorded a hanging corpse.
Paul, a former Disney Channel star alongside his brother Jake, was one of YouTube's most popular content producers, with over 15 million subscribers. His videos have earned a total of $12.5 million, making him the 4th highest paid YouTube star in 2016.
On December 31, 2017, Paul uploaded a video of himself and several of his friends visiting the Aokighara Forest in Japan. Also known as the 'suicide forest' in the western world, it has gained a reputation as a place for suicidal individuals to end their lives.
Since removed, the video showed Paul touring the forest to find a dead man hanging from a tree, to which Paul and his friend react with shock. They then spend time focusing on the body, though the face was blurred. Prior to its removal, the video amassed well over one million views.
Outrage spread across the internet, with users commenting that the video was disrespectful and disgusting. A call was made for Paul to be penalized severely by YouTube for uploading the video. Paul posted an apology on his Twitter account and announced on January 4 that he would be taking some time off to change his ways.
Now, YouTube is answering the criticism and has removed Paul from its Google Preferred program and cut him from from the Original Series “Foursome.” YouTube also cancelled the planned sequel to his 2016 YouTube Red movie “The Thinning.” YouTube's official representatives outlined their response to the controversy on Twitter, noting why they had taken so long to act.
"Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views," the statement by YouTube reads, "As Anna Akana put it perfectly: ‘That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.’”
They concluded by adding that the video violated their community guidelines, and would have been taken down even if Paul hadn't done so himself. Graphic content is only allowed on YouTube for educational purposes, with a warning that users must be 18+ to view.