Last week, YouTuber Logan Paul faced tremendous backlash after posting footage of a victim of suicide in Japan’s Aokigahara forest to his channel. And now, YouTube is finally addressing the controversial video.
YouTube released the following statement on their Twitter page on Tuesday, January 9th:
“An open letter to our community: Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be. You deserve to know what’s going on. Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week. Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views…we expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences. It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.”
YouTube also cited fellow YouTuber Anna Akana’s tweet in their statement, which condemned Paul’s actions. She wrote:
Paul had been traveling with friends in Japan since late December, as documented on his Instagram. On January 2nd, he visited Japan’s “Suicide Forest” and uploaded close-ups of a suicide victim’s body hanging from a tree.
Aokigahara, a sprawling forest located at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, is commonly known as “Suicide Forest.” Japanese mythology claims that the forest is haunted by yurei (ghosts), and the location has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world. Japanese authorities have even erected signs throughout the forest urging potential victims to call a suicide prevention hotline should they be struggling with suicidal thoughts.
The video initially uploaded to Paul’s 15 million subscribers was titled, “We Found a Dead Body in the Japanese Forest.” In the video, Paul tells his followers to “buckle the f*** up” because they have never seen anything like this, panning to the victim and asking “yo, are you alive, or are you f***ing with us?”
The rightful backlash was strong and swift:
Paul uploaded an apology on his YouTube channel later that same day, saying:
Suicide should never be taken lightly, and we’re glad that YouTube is finally taking a stand on the issue. If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or depression, you can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You are never, ever alone.