A prominent YouTuber has apologised after he provoked outrage by posting a video showing the dead body of an apparent suicide victim.
Logan Paul posted a clip on his YouTube channel called ‘We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest’, which quickly racked up millions of views.
In the video, Paul is seen wandering the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan with pals before stumbling upon the dead body hanging from a tree.
A shocked Paul says to the camera: “I really hate to say this, I think there’s someone hanging right there.”
After investigating the scene, various shots show the man’s purple hands and his bag nearby before a member of the group says that he “doesn’t feel good”.
Paul then says: ”What, you never stand next to a dead guy?”, before laughing.
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The 22-year-old YouTube star, who has 15 million subscribers, has now apologised after he pulled video from the site.
In a lengthy apology, he wrote that he “didn’t do it for the views”, adding: “I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity…
“I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video.”
He added: “One may understand that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications.”
Despite his apology, Paul was criticised by commenters, who described his actions as “disgusting”:
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
what logan paul did was NOT a mistake. he consciously went to that forest, consciously filmed that body, consciously made fun of it, consciously edited the footage and consciously uploaded it to his channel. he was very aware of what he was doing, this can in no way be justified.
— tessa (@nocturnalethan) January 2, 2018
What Logan Paul did is inexcusable, disgusting, disgraceful & just sad. I hope we all learn something from this & just become better people since this turd is apparently not able to do so. Dont encourage this behavior Youtube. It’s now your call, make us believe again.
— Charles Trippy (@CharlesTrippy) January 2, 2018
Someone close to me passed away from suicide last month. I haven’t been able to talk about it online until now because it’s something I’m still healing from. Hearing what Logan Paul did absolutely breaks my heart. That was someone’s loved one he exploited for views.
— Meghan Camarena (@Strawburry17) January 2, 2018
Suicide is not a joke. You wouldn’t be laughing about it was one of your family members. That was someone’s dad,brother,son. Think how they would have felt if they watched your video.
— Depression Notes™ (@depressionnote) January 2, 2018
Aokigahara is widely known as a destination for young people who want to kill themselves, while Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world.
The identity of the man in the video, whose face was blurred out, is not known.
YouTuber Philip DeFranco claims he was sent an official statement from a contact at the video site, saying they “prohibit violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensationalist or disrespectful manner”.
I just received an official statement from a contact at @Youtube regarding the outrage and controversy around Logan Paul’s (now self-removed) “We found a dead body” top trending Youtube video.
I’ll save my personal comment for later. Just wanted to pass this along. pic.twitter.com/JNTQDMVvT4
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) January 2, 2018
Yahoo News UK has contacted YouTube for a comment.
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