Logan Paul is an American YouTuber, internet personality, actor and professional boxer born on April 1, 1995, in Westlake, Ohio, and rose to fame through his Vine videos in 2013.
He later transitioned to YouTube, where he has amassed a massive following of over 23 million subscribers as of September 2021.
Paul is known for his controversial content, which has included stunts, pranks, and other provocative videos.
He has been criticized for his behavior, including filming a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, also known as the suicide forest, in 2017.
Paul has since apologized for the incident and has taken steps to improve his image and content.
In addition to his online presence, he has also pursued a career in acting, appearing in films such as The Thinning and Airplane Mode.
Paul also made his professional boxing debut in 2018, fighting fellow YouTuber KSI in a highly publicized match.
He has since continued his boxing career, with his most recent fight taking place in June 2021 against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Japan’s Aokigahara forest
Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees or Jukai, is a forest located on the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji on the island of Honshu in Japan.
It is a unique forest in many ways, with a very high density of trees and barely any wildlife, making it very quiet and a popular destination among locals.
However, it is also known as the number one suicide spot for Japanese, with many visitors choosing this place as the setting for their final moments.
The forest has a tragic reputation and is known colloquially as the ‘suicide forest’.
Aokigahara is a forest on the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji on the island of Honshu in Japan, thriving on 30 square kilometers of hardened lava laid down by the last major eruption of Mount Fuji in 864 CE.
The forest is known for its very high density of trees, and there is barely any wildlife in here, thus it is very quiet, making it a popular destination among locals.
Aokigahara is also very sought-after by tourists because there are two caves located here, The Ice Cave and the Wind Cave.
Aokigahara has a tragic reputation as the number one suicide spot for Japanese.
Many visitors have chosen this place as the setting for their final moments, walking in with no intention of ever walking back out.
In years past, Aokigahara was also believed to contain yūrei, or mythological Japanese ghosts filled with anger and vengefulness.
The forest’s dark reputation has been around for decades.
In a popular 1960 novel by Japanese author Seicho Matsumoto, a heroine heads into the forest to take her own life.
More recently, in a 2016 American horror film, The Forest, a woman goes there looking for her twin sister, who mysteriously disappeared in the woods.
According to the Yamanashi government, there were more than 100 suicides committed in Aokigahara forest between 2013 and 2015 alone.
The victims, whose remains are found deep in the sea of trees, often travel from far away to join countless others who have ended their lives in these mist-shrouded woods.
The Japanese government no longer gives statistics on suicides in Aokigahara in an effort to deter people from coming there to do it.
Aokigahara is also known for something else, too — it is where some die by suicide.
Local legend has it that Aokigahara was a place where people once practiced ubasute — taking an elderly or sick relative to a remote area and leaving them to die.
Logan Paul’s Aokigahara forest suicide video
In December 2017, Paul posted a video on his channel that showed him and his friends in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, also known as the ‘suicide forest’ due to the high number of suicides that occur there.
In the video, they come across the body of an apparent suicide victim and make jokes.
The video received widespread criticism for its insensitive treatment of suicide and mental health, particularly in a country where suicide rates are high.
YouTube cut some business ties with Paul, including removing his channels from the Google Preferred program, where brands sell ads on the platform’s top 5% of content creators and putting on hold original projects with him.
The video itself was not taken down by YouTube; Paul himself took it down.
The controversy surrounding the video led to intense criticism on social media, and Paul posted an apology on Twitter and a video apology on his YouTube channel.
A production company called Planeless Pictures sued Paul, claiming that fallout from the video caused it to lose a multimillion-dollar deal with Google to promote and distribute a film called Airplane Mode.
Reactions to the video
After Paul posted a video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, he received widespread condemnation on social media.
The video featured Paul and his friends in the forest, which is known as a frequent site of suicides.
Reactions ranged from deeply personal expressions of pain and disgust to pleas for forgiveness from the fan base of the vlogger.
Some Twitter users shared their experiences of losing loved ones to suicide, saying there was no defense for Paul’s intrusive video.
Although the dead man was not identified and his face was blurred, the footage included close-up shots of his corpse.
In the video, one of the group with Paul is heard to say he ‘doesn’t feel good,’ before the vlogger asks him; ‘What, you never stand next to a dead guy?’ and laughs.
Many fellow YouTubers and social media stars spoke out against Paul’s behavior, with some calling him ‘pure trash and disrespectful’
Grayson Dolan, another YouTuber, tweeted that ‘filming a video and mocking a victim is not raising suicide awareness’.
Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul also criticized Paul in an emotional post that referenced his millions of young fans.
YouTube also took action against Paul, cutting some business ties with him and removing his channels from the Google Preferred program, where brands sell ads on the platform’s top 5% of content creators.
YouTube also put on hold original projects with the US vlogger.
In response to the backlash, Paul issued an apology on Twitter and in a video, saying that he had been ‘misguided by shock and awe’ and that he had intended to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
However, his initial apology was criticized as being tone-deaf and self-praising.
YouTube also apologized to its user community and promised that changes were on the way, implying that ‘further consequences’ against Paul would be forthcoming.