YouTube is investigating “further consequences” for Logan Paul, the influencer who filmed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. In a thread on Twitter, YouTube acknowledged the recent frustrations with the platform and its lack of response. “You’re right to be [frustrated],” the thread begins. “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.”
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, there are people who want to help:
In the US:
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, at any time, about any type of crisis
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call or text 988
[Note: As of July 16, 2022, anybody in the U.S. can simply dial 988 to be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The original number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will remain available as well.]
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Outside the US:
The International Association for Suicide Prevention lists a number of suicide hotlines by country. Click here to find them.
Befrienders Worldwide: https://www.befrienders.org/need-to-talk
Paul uploaded a video on December 31st, 2017, of his trip to Aokigahara, widely known as the “suicide forest.” The backlash to the video was swift, with many criticizing his actions for sensationalizing suicide and choosing to upload the vlog at all. Paul took down the video and issued two apologies, citing a desire to raise awareness about mental health and suicide. “I should have never posted the video,” he said in the second apology. “I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through.” The next day, Paul tweeted that he was “taking time to reflect” and would not be releasing a vlog. He has not posted on his Twitter or vlogging channel since.
As YouTuber and celebrity Anna Akana pointed out, however, — a sentiment YouTube echoed in its statement — “That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.”
In the wake of negative feedback from the YouTube community and the public at large, many questioned YouTube’s policies, as well as its lack of responsibility in addressing these problems. In its statement today, YouTube promised that it is listening to feedback and expects more from creators who build their community on the platform. “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.”
Although Paul removed the video from his channel himself, re-uploads continue to surface online. YouTube did not provide any detail on concrete steps it would take next.