On Sunday, famed YouTuber Logan Paul posted a video he took while wandering through Japan’s so-called Suicide Forest near Mount Fuji. In the video, Paul and friends come upon the corpse of a man hanging from a tree. The video continues for some 15 minutes while Paul’s buddies call the cops.
Paul treats the entire adventure as a joke – he smiles and laughs as he explores the forest. He quips, “If I’m going to get haunted by a ghost, I want to do it in my Gucci jacket, I want to look good.” Upon finding the body hanging in the forest, Paul states, “This is a first for me, definitely a first for me.” He then apologizes to the audience, adding, “Suicide is not a joke…We came here with an intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest…Suicide is not the answer. There are people who love you, care for you…This is too scarily real.”
But the camera never stops shooting.
And after a few seconds, Paul starts joking again. “WHY?!” he shouts into camera. “This is how our lives unfold. There’s no going back!” Then he begins laughing as his assistant says, “You found a dead body.” He replies, “Yup! What the f***!” He finally says, “Me smiling and laughing…I cope with this with humor.” He does give a lecture at the end of his video about depression and suicide.
Paul issued this mea culpa:
Aaron Paul led the charge against Logan Paul (no relation):
Now, the internet has a habit of tearing down people who make mistakes – and this is a bad mistake, obviously. He shouldn’t have done the video – it’s disturbing and exploitative. Suicide isn’t a joke. It’s a tragedy of the highest magnitude. And Logan Paul did something awful.
But Paul removed the video and apologized. What exactly is he supposed to do now? What penalty suffices? There are those who say Paul’s entire YouTube channel should be demonetized. Given YouTube’s bizarre demonetization strategy overall, that wouldn’t be shocking. But there’s something here that smacks of any easy virtue signaling play – after the sin has already been rectified. There’s a pile-on after the fact.
I don’t know Logan Paul from Adam. As someone whose grandfather attempted suicide, I find his antics here despicable and horrifying. But let’s try to distinguish between justified outrage and the warm and fuzzy feeling too many people get from tweeting utterly uncontroversial condemnations of bad behavior, even after that behavior has been corrected.