Upper Schoolers respond to social media star’s video


Julia Henning

Logan Paul, a 22-year-old YouTube celebrity, recently received a large amount of backlash for a video posted on December 31. The video contained graphic evidence of a man who had committed suicide in the Japanese Suicide Forest, Aokigahara.

The video has since been taken down, but Inkwell saw it before YouTube flagged it and all the news broke out. There is also a reaction video by another YouTube celebrity, PewDiePie, where he shows blurred out unavailable clips of Paul’s video.

The beginning of the video shows a message warning viewers to watch at their own discretion and the contents of the video are not a laughing matter. The video begins with Paul standing in a street in Japan. He restates the message and makes a clear point that the situation was unplanned and all reactions were “raw and unfiltered.”

Then the screen flips to the beginning of the day. Paul is with his group of friends, Andy Altig, Melissa Marquez, Brendan North (his videographer), and their security guard/translator. They make the beginning a joke. They have shots looking down on the forest from a drone, and stand outside the gates saying there are spirits and ghosts of those who have taken their own lives in what we later find is a restricted forest. Paul states, “Hey, if you’re a ghost in this forest, please leave us alone.” They enter the gates and walk down a path with their sleeping bags, talking about their 24-hour challenge of staying in the “haunted” forest.

That is when the group goes off-trail. “Ummm…I really hate to say this…I think there is someone hanging right there,” said Paul. Everyone in the group goes quiet. Paul continues to talk to his vlog about the situation, and before calling 9-1-1, they walk up to the body. Paul’s vlog shows the man’s purple hands and only blurs out his face. The camera gets less than 12 inches closer to the body. Based on the footage and editing, they had to have been there for at least 20-30 minutes.

The group then walks out of the forest once the police arrive. A police guard or someone of higher ranking confronts them, saying, “You cannot enter the restricted area.” Paul responds laughing, “You told us a little too late, bro. We’ve seen a little too much already.” The video closes with the group sitting in the train station, discussing what they’ve seen.

The video went on trending, and angry responses, some from other celebrities, immediately began appearing on social media, though some also defended him.

“I was appalled…what does he think he’s doing? Like, what did he think was going to happen?” said freshman Mary Belisle. “Was he just sitting there and like, ‘You know what would be a great idea? If I posted a video of a dead man on the internet.’ I couldn’t believe it…Nobody is that stupid.”

“You don’t do that ever. You don’t see people whipping out their phones at funerals and being like, ‘Oh look! Here’s my dead aunt.’ You just don’t do that.

— Chloe Frey

“And if you ever encounter that, you definitely don’t make it a joke because that is an actual serious thing that people have done to themselves,” said sophomore Chloe Frey.

Paul issued an apology video on January 2. In it, he asks his followers not to defend him, stating, “I made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment and I don’t expect to be forgiven; I am simply here to apologize.” Some accepted his apology and others did not. After the release of the apology, the internet exploded with news, opinions, and arguments over the new video and Paul himself.

“I think that you can forgive people without forgetting, so I think that in most situations, you can forgive while still being hyper-critical of their future actions because their future actions all have to make up for their past,” said senior Kali McCoy.

“Everybody deserves a second chance, but he should’ve been more careful about it. Because even if he gets a second chance, he can’t get rid of what he has already done,” said junior Kelsey Seo.

YouTube has allowed Paul to stay on the platform, and after a 3-week hiatus he posted “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.” This video is Logan Paul’s new take on suicide and how he is educating himself on the matter. In the video, he meets with the Suicide Crisis Hotline Director in New York, who tells him the steps to helping someone having suicidal thoughts, and he also directs him to a suicide survivor, Kevin Hines. Hines, 33, jumped off the Golden Gate bridge 17 years ago. Paul talks with him about his views on life now that he has been given a second chance. Kevin is releasing his own documentary this year called Suicide The Ripple Effect. Paul is pledging to donate 1 million dollars to suicide prevention nonprofits with $250,000 of it going to the Nation Suicide Prevention Hotline.