Erin Gardner | Lifestyle Section Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
YouTube sensation Logan Paul returned to his platform on Jan. 24 after a three-week hiatus after publishing his 15-minute video of the Aokigahara Forest and finding an apparent suicide victim.
As of Jan. 10, Paul’s advertisement deals are on hold and he was removed from Google Preferred. A YouTube Red movie, that Paul was supposed to star in, titled The Thinning: New World Order, is on hold. The creator has also been removed from Foursome, another YouTube Red comedy series.
Paul has a reach of 16 million subscribers on YouTube, 16.2 million followers on Instagram, and 4.17 million followers on Twitter. Paul is originally from Westlake, Ohio, and attended Ohio University before dropping out in 2014.
Soon after the initial Aokigahara forest video was uploaded on Jan. 1, Twitter backlash started.
Later that day, Paul issued an apology stating that this is a first for him and he didn’t do it for views. “I get views,” he said. “I’ve made a 15-minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460 plus days. One may understand that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications.” His apology ended with his appreciation for people. “I love everyone. I believe in people. I’m out here. Peace. #Logang4Life,” he said.
After the apology was tweeted out, the counterattack continued. On Jan. 2, Paul then uploaded a 2-minutes-long video where apologized to his viewers, those affected with mental illness, and the victim’s family.
Paul did not produce any content or any social media presence for the majority of the month of January. On Jan. 24, Paul uploaded a 7-minute documentary style video titled “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.” He interviewed Kevin Hines, an advocate for suicide prevention, and Bob Forrest, the founder of Alo House Recovery Centers. “You’ve never known anybody that killed themselves… but in Ohio, where you come from, it’s the second leading cause of death,” Forrest said.
In Ohio, suicide is 11th leading cause of death overall in Ohio and the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34. On average, one person in Ohio dies by suicide every five hours, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Paul sat down with Dr. Don Draper, the director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to talk about ending the stigma where Paul then relayed the five steps used to help prevent suicide. After talking to Hines, Paul pledged to donate $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations with the first $250,00 going to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Paul appeared cleaner after his break, with more stoic expressions. Typically known for his outlandish and unnecessary tactics, the video was more composed with aesthetic drone shots of the city and clean cuts.
The Internet had mixed reactions.
Actor Jimmy Wong tweeted his skepticism.
Instead, we get treated to a precisely formed and deliberately manipulative piece of content from your PR machine to show us you care. Hey Logan. You’re not solving a real issue when you address the one thing you just happened to get caught about. You’re just covering your ass.
— Jimmy (@jfwong) January 24, 2018
Casey Neistat tweeted his support.
.@LoganPaul has a long way to go and people are right to continue to question his motives but today’s video was a thoughtful first step. hopefully this is part of a true effort to move on from sensationalist content – https://t.co/VqU5q97jKi
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) January 24, 2018
Freshman Emily Gayton expressed anger toward Paul. “Logan Paul is yet another unfortunate representative of Ohio and Ohio university,” she said. “I think I speak for most that his actions do not reflect upon this environment that he did not complete his education. In other words, you can keep him, because we don’t want him.”
Freshman Jessie Milligan expressed anger, too. “Logan Paul represents a larger problem in our generation today, one of lack of empathy and ignorance,” she said.
If you or someone who is depressed or suicidal, please reach out. There are resources. You are not alone.
Suicide hotline: 1.800.273.8255
Depression hotline: 1.888.640.5174
Self-harm hotline: 1.877.455.0628
Mental health hotline: 866.677.5924
Crisis text line: 741.741
Athens suicide hotline: 740.593.3344
Ohio University After Hours: 740.593.1616