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YouTuber under fire for “suicide clickbait”

YouTuber under fire for “suicide clickbait”

The content of one of YouTuber Logan Paul’s first vlogs of 2018 has received a lot of concern and backlash on social media — people are claiming and hoping for the end of his career on YouTube. His video centred around the Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees, or “Suicide Forest” in Japan, at the base

The content of one of YouTuber Logan Paul’s first vlogs of 2018 has received a lot of concern and backlash on social media — people are claiming and hoping for the end of his career on YouTube.

His video centred around the Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees, or “Suicide Forest” in Japan, at the base of Mount Fuji, which sparked incredible backlash for the inappropriate and disrespectful nature of the content.

In the video, Paul, 22, and the group he travelled with are seen in close up shots with an apparent body of a suicide victim they found early on into their filming and continued to film just inches away from the body, even commenting on the body’s purple skin colour. Then edited the video and posted it online.

The forest is well-known in Japan as a place where thousands of people go to commit suicide each year. Going into this forest at any time it is very likely a victim of suicide would be sighted.

“This was supposed to be a fun vlog,” said Paul in the video. “This was all going to be a joke, why did it become so real?”

Rather than turning the cameras off after spotting the body, the group filmed their own reactions to the discovery and continued to film due to the “promise” Paul made to his viewers to put out videos every day and to entertain his audience. He even mentions that this is just the life of a daily vlogger.

Although the video did show a disclaimer at the beginning warning of disturbing content, many viewers still weren’t happy.

“@LoganPaul You’re an idiot. You’re not raising awareness. You’re mocking. I can’t believe how self-praising your “apology” is. You don’t deserve the success (views) you have. I pray to God you never have to experience anything like that man did,” posted Sophie Turner, an actress most-known for her roles as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones and Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse.

“Did someone forget to tell Logan Paul that raising awareness for something isn’t just showing people the thing. It’s like if I wanted to raise awareness for global warming by sitting and watching some ice melt for a week,” posted Bertie Gilbert.

Other social media celebrities such as Liza Koshy and Chrissy Teigan were also quick to post their responses, both being on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Paul’s video gained twice as many more views than his last vlog did and his video is being dubbed click bait as it follows the base lines of being “content posted with the sole purpose of attracting attention and to encourage viewers to click on a particular web page or video.”

With Paul having 15 million YouTube followers, including youth as young as 12 years old, backlash was imminent. He later posted a written and a video apology.

“This is a first for me,” he 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 thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity.”

He also added that he “intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention” by uploading the video under the title “We saw a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest” with a thumbnail of the body slightly blurred. His video apology showed more remorse as he advised fans that were justifying his actions online to discontinue, and that he is “ashamed” of himself. He also apologized to the victim and the family of the victim.

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