Logan Paul tells Good Morning America his controversial video was intended to show the ‘harsh realities’ of suicide

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Fox/Getty Images

Logan Paul is continuing his apology tour following the widely criticized video of a dead body he posted on YouTube at the end of 2017. In an interview with Good Morning America today, the 22-year-old vlogger says that he posted the Aokigahara forest video with a specific goal: “The idea was to shock and show the harsh realities of suicide and get people talking about something that I don’t think people are talking about much.”

Paul’s video, which he removed from YouTube after swift backlash, featured the vlogger heading into the forest with friends to do another “fun vlog,” he says. They planned to camp for the night and “make an entertaining piece of content in a forest.” Shortly after they entered the forest, he says, roughly 100 feet away from the parking lot, the group encountered the body of a man who appeared to have recently hung himself. Part of the criticism around the video is Paul’s reaction as he struggles to suppress laughter and cracks a few jokes, as well as the clear disregard for the somber legacy of the forest.

In the time since posting the video, Paul says that he’s received comments from people suggesting that he himself should commit suicide. “Millions of people, literally, telling me they hate me, to go die in a fire,” he says. “It’s the most horrible, horrific things.” However, he says that much of the criticism has been fair, including YouTube dropping several of his projects and removing him from its Google Preferred ad program. “I understand that they needed to take a stance,” he says.

“While I don’t necessarily maybe agree with it, I do respect it... It hurts, but it’s not like I’m drowning. I try not to live my life thinking about money because money doesn’t make me happy,” he says. “Creating content to make people smile and laugh, that’s what makes me happy.”

After two apologies and a break from posting, Paul returned to the internet on January 24th with a video called “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.” The video is essentially a PSA for anyone having suicidal thoughts and includes brief interviews with professionals and a man who tried to commit suicide himself. In addition to committing to donate $1 million to suicide prevention, Paul promised to better educate himself on suicide and suicide prevention — a stance he echoed again today. ”I believe it happened for a reason,” he says of the whole experience. “I think that reason is so I could take this experience, learn from it, spread the message the right way about suicide prevention and suicide prevention awareness.”

The vlogger says that he believes parents should monitor what their kids watch online more and that he never meant to be malicious. “I am a good guy who made a bad decision,” he says. He adds that he’s “never been hated by the whole world” before and that it’s made him more considerate of what he should post online in the future.

“I don’t think everyone should get a second chance,” Paul says. “People do horrible things. This was a horrible lapse of judgment, and I can, will, and am going to learn from it and be a better person.”

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