You might remember that Logan Paul got a lot of flack from the media after he posted a video that depicted a suicide victim hanging from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Paul has a loyal following of about 15 million on YouTube, which made this an extremely horrific and insensitive thing to post. Even though YouTube eventually pulled the video, Paul was getting criticized by everyone (including me) for being so disrespectful. Paul apologized for the video, and I can appreciate that, but I wondered if that was enough?
Paul thought that this video would make some kind of positive impact on the internet in terms of suicide prevention. At least that’s what he said. I think, however, that those words were an attempt to minimize what was really going on. Or provide an excuse for why he did what he did. Honestly, when someone messes up who is a public figure, I have more respect for them when they admit – I screwed up, I shouldn’t have done it, but here’s what I’m doing to move past it. But if you list off a bunch of excuses, it takes away from your actions and maybe makes you look worse.
Despite this apology, Paul has decided that he will be taking a break from posting videos on his YouTube channel so that he can take some time to reflect. To me, this is more of what I would expect and I can respect him for this move. Paul didn’t say how long this hiatus will last, and that’s a good thing. I mean, it shows maturity to be able to say – hey, I messed up, but I’m going to take a break and figure this out. Putting a time frame on it suggests that it’s not sincere. That said if you’re just fed up with social media, for example, taking a timed break isn’t a bad thing. But when you’re trying to atone for something, setting a time limit is a bad strategy. The other way to look at this, though, is it’s a PR stunt.
But before you think that I’m declaring my respect for Paul, you should know this. Since the suicide forest video, more disturbing videos from his channel are being found on his channel. In fact, in one of his videos from early 2017, Paul pranks his fans into thinking that they’ve witnessed a murder. More specifically – his murder. Paul’s video reminds us of Sam Pepper’s infamous murder prank video. In it, he tricked a friend into thinking that his best friend had been killed during a kidnapping. Logan staged his own death across from where a group of his fans were waiting.
Yes, Logan explained at the beginning of the video that he wanted to mess with his fans, but that doesn’t make the actions any better. Maybe the worst part about this is that he bought a prop shogun and set up a blood spray system to make the shooting look as realistic as possible. The video depicted a murder, not a suicide, but the fact that Paul thinks these kinds of things are funny speaks volumes to his character. Which makes you think that maybe he didn’t post the suicide forest video as a way to help with suicide awareness. But rather because he finds death to be funny in some way. I respect his decision, but that doesn’t mean I respect him. Even if it’s a PR stunt.