Please note that this article was written on the 4th of January, 2018.
Suicide is not the answer, as someone who has been through and dealt with it numerous times I can tell you that there are better ways of dealing with depression, anxiety and suffering.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal tendencies, please call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group on 0800 21 22 23 (the number and group will be different depending on which country you live in, please call the appropriate numbers).
Not even a week into the year and someone on the Internet has already crossed a line. Over the last year we have come to expect anti-semitic or racist comments from Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, known to YouTube as PewDiePie, but while many were counting down or setting their New Years Resolutions, YouTuber Logan Paul was uploading possibly one of the most insensitive videos ever recorded.
Logan Paul and entourage had decided they would do a video on the infamous Aokigahara Forest in Japan, known internationally as the “Suicide Forest” (so named because hundreds of people have gone to this forest with the sole intent of committing suicide), they had decided to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest; not realising that, in 2010 alone, over 250 people committed suicide within the borders of the forest.
The video kicks off with a short warning about suicide and graphic content, even a short segment in which Logan talks about how serious of a topic suicide is, the video then cuts to earlier in the day with Logan and crew arriving at one of the entrances to the forest. They joke around, mentioning that they brought camping equipment, binoculars “for spotting ghosts” and “a football so we can have some fun”. They begin their trek into the forest with the usual craziness that is to be expected of Logan and his friends, when the video cuts to a shot of Logan seemingly noticing something off to the side.
Upon discovering the suicide victim, someone can be heard asking “Yo, are you alive? Are you fooling with us?”, a couple steps closer and they realise that this is no prank.
This is where the video gets graphic. Logan takes the camera and get up-close shots of the corpse, the face and upper torso were blurred out in editing but the white rope holding the man up and his blue hands said it all.
The camera turns to Logan who says “Suicide is not a joke. Depression and mental illnesses are not a joke. We came here with an intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This just became very real.”
It doesn’t take long for Logan and company to start giggling and cracking jokes, later claiming that it was a coping mechanism. As horrid as his ‘coping mechanism’ might sound, that is perfectly understandable; our brains have been known to short-circuit when we’re given bad news and we sometimes react out of character for the circumstances.
Their guide did call the police the moment they found the body; the cameraman even recording the officials as they left.
Logan ends the video with a short discussion on suicide and depression, mentioning suicide prevention hotlines and he placed the appropriate links in the description. The video was not monetised.
Logan was shunned on all forms of social media, with YouTubers of all varying sizes and types commenting on just how sick the video really was; even attracting the attention of CNN and a few other news outlets. Everyone from Boogie2988 to Comicsexplained and PewDiePie have commented and bashed on him; even TheAnimeMan took a bite out of Logan, ending his video with “get the (expletive) out of my country!” (in reference to the fact that he spent the majority of his childhood living in Japan, along with his familial ties to the country).
The really shocking part of all this is that the video made it to the Top Trending bar before it was taken down – and it wasn’t even YouTube that took it down, Logan did that himself.
Within a day the video amassed a total of 6.2 million views, and before being taken down it had been reuploaded to many times to numerous sites and servers.
Logan Paul’s evident lack of humanity is rivalled only by YouTube’s slow response to the matter.
YouTube, since the beginning of what has been called the ‘Adpocalypse’, has managed to demonetise or take down videos that simply even discuss suicide or make the slightest of sexual innuendos, as sexual themes and graphic content are against their user guidelines and are seen as ‘non-advertiser friendly’. DOOM gameplay videos have been demonetised simply for having ‘video game violence’ (a term used by rating boards the world over), videos have been taken down just because they feature a man using a sword to decapitate a dummy and yet a video which quite literally showed a dead person had no actions taken against it for over 24 hours.
Whether this is YouTube simply not noticing something or being complacent (Logan Paul has proven to be quite the cash-cow for them, acting in two YouTube Red Originals, The Thinning and The Thinning 2) remains unknown.
Logan did post an apology on Twitter after taking the video down, but by then the damage had been done and his apology seemed more like it was done in self-defence than anything else. On January 2nd he uploaded a video to his channel entitled So Sorry, as popular news-based YouTuber Philip Defranco said “This one had a different tone and I wished this had been his response” (as opposed to his rather short apology on Twitter).
Logan admits that what he did was wrong, that he never should have uploaded the video and that he probably should have turned the camera off the moment they found the victim.
Below is a direct quote from the apology video:
“I have made a severe in-continuous lapse in my judgement and I don’t expect to be forgiven, I’m simply here to apologise. What we came across that day in the woods was obviously unplanned, and the reactions you saw on tape were raw, they were unfiltered. None of us knew how to react or how to feel. I should have never posted the video, I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through. There’s a lot of things I should have done, but I didn’t, and for that, from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry. I want to apologise to the Internet, I want to apologise to anyone who has seen the video, I want to apologise to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide; but most importantly, I want to apologise to the victim and his family. For my fans who are defending my actions; please don’t, I do not deserve to be defended.
The goal with my content is always to entertain, to push the boundaries, to be all-inclusive. In the world I live in, I share almost everything I do, the intent is never to be heartless, cruel or malicious. Like I said, I’ve made a huge mistake, I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m just here to apologise.”
Logan has since stated that he will be taking a break from making his daily vlogs.