Three weeks have passed since Logan Paul uploaded and apologized for his infamously insensitive Japanese forest suicide video. Afterward, Paul stated he was going to take some time away from the internet to “reflect” on his actions and the controversy surrounding them. It seems that time is up: Logan Paul has officially returned to YouTube with a new video, and a lot of people aren’t happy.
During the first week of January, Paul posted a video featuring himself and a group of friends happening upon a dead man hanging from a tree in Aokigahara, a forest near Mt. Fuiji. The video — which showed Paul and his friends laughing, joking, and appearing to mock the body — received immediate backlash from other content creators on YouTube and the internet as a whole. Paul apologized in a way many felt was lacking sincerity, and took to Twitter to say he would be taking a break.
A few days later, YouTube responded to the controversy as well, amid viewers demanding action be taken against Paul. Although many viewers wanted Paul to be banned from the site, that didn’t happen. YouTube instead removed Paul from its premier ad service (which limits his branded partnership and will hurt his revenue), and removed him from a YouTube series and movie.
On Thursday, January 25th, Paul posted his first video since the controversy began, titled “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.”
The video is a suicide awareness campaign featuring Kevin Hines. Hines, now an advocate for suicide awareness, is a young man who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge when he was 19 and survived.
Paul’s video begins with important statistics about suicide, then shows a shot of Hines discussing his own suicide attempt. Paul says, “I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I’ve let people down. But what happens when you’re given an opportunity to help make a difference in the world?” He adds:
The video addresses the controversy around his Aokigahara video, then segues into Paul showing his attempt to fix what he did. During the video, Paul talks with suicide prevention advocates, who deliver statistics and advice. He also pledged to donate $1 million to suicide prevention resources.
Many viewers are unhappy that Paul is back at all. Some feel that his time off wasn’t long enough to actually foster any sort of reflection. Others think he’s now abusing the cause for views and money, while many aren’t buying his assertion that he didn’t realize the importance of suicide prevention.
The full video can be watched below.
Whether this will help or hurt Paul is yet to be determined, but we’ll be keeping an eye on this story.