UPDATED: Internet star Logan Paul faced an immediate backlash after posting a YouTube video Sunday that included footage of a person who had apparently died from a suicide.
Paul was visiting Japan’s Aokigahara forest near Mt. Fuji — which has become notorious as a place for suicides — when he and his crew came upon a lifeless body hanging from a tree. A video showing the dead body (with the face digitally obscured) was posted to Paul’s YouTube channel with the title “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” before it was removed several hours later. The video received more than 6 million views before being pulled down.
“Suicide is not a joke,” Paul said in the now-deleted video. “Depression and mental illness are not a joke. We came here with an intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This obviously just became very real, and obviously a lot of people are going through a lot of shit in their lives.”
On Monday morning Japan time — after widespread outrage over the video and calls for YouTube to delete his channel — Paul posted an apology for the video in a Twitter post.
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“I’m sorry,” the 22-year-old wrote. “I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before… I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I though I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity.”
In the controversial video, Paul taunted one of the members of his team who expressed discomfort with the situation, saying, “What, you never stand next to a dead guy?” and then laughed.
Among those excoriating Paul for posting the video were actor Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”), who tweeted at the YouTuber, “How dare you! You disgust me. I can’t believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully this latest video woke them up.”
Here is Logan Paul’s full apology:
On Tuesday, Logan Paul posted another apology on Twitter, in the form of a somber video. “I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment and I don’t expect to be forgiven,” he opened the video. “I’m simply here to apologize.”
He went on to note that the reactions to the dead body were “raw and unfiltered,” and that he regrets posting the video and recording the body. “For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t,” he added. “They do not deserve to be defended.”
Logan Paul, who rose to fame on Twitter’s now-defunct Vine, currently has more than 15 million subscribers for his YouTube channel. He’s repped by CAA and affiliated with digital-media company Studio71.
Paul has starred in feature-length thriller “The Thinning” on YouTube Red and appeared in series including Freeform drama “Stitchers” and AwesomenessTV’s romantic comedy “Foursome” for YouTube Red. The Ohio native, after finishing his freshman year in college, moved to L.A. in 2014 to pursue a career as a digital-media personality.
Logan Paul is the older brother of Jake Paul, who’s engaged in a variety of his own outrageous stunts. In November, Jake Paul apologized for bullying Spanish teen twins Ivan and Emilio Martinez, who were members of his Team 10 social-media label before quitting over what they said was Jake’s abusive behavior toward them.