The internet turned on YouTube star Logan Paul after the vlogger and actor posted a graphic video depicting the body of a suicide victim.
In the now-deleted video, Paul and his friends traveled to Aokigahara, a dense forest located at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan that is also known as “The Suicide Forest” because of the number of people who choose the forest as a site to take their own lives.
Paul and his friends intended to make a vlog about their experience camping in the forest overnight, but the video took an ugly turn when they encountered a dead body in the woods hanging from a tree. Paul turned the camera on the victim’s body, blurring out the man’s face to protect his identity.
Viewers were outraged by Paul’s actions, calling his decision to film the victim’s body insensitive and potentially triggering to those in his 15 million follower base who may be fighting depressive and suicidal thoughts.
Many on social media also expressed their outrage at Paul and his friends’ lack of respect for Japanese culture and the dead, especially considering that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world, with 22,000 people committing suicide in 2016. The Japanese government goes to great lengths to prevent suicides in Aokigahara, posting signs throughout the woodland urging people to think of their loved ones.
A white gaijin piece of trash filmed himself disrespecting a body in Aokigahara.
I’ll be honest, I don’t mind if people film or do pictures of the bodies there. Just don’t make fun of them. If you are going to film a dead body, do it to show awareness more than getting views.
— まこりん☆Alpaca Day 02/02 (@kurietachan) January 2, 2018
Among those who expressed their ire was fellow YouTube personality and actress Anna Akana, whose own experience with suicide and loss made her particularly disgusted by Paul’s actions.
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
Paul has since deleted the video and posted both a text and video apology on Twitter.
Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 2, 2018