Warning: This article contains videos and written content that deal with suicide. No footage from Paul Logan’s Aokigahara vlog is shown. Many of the videos in this article also contain adult/mature language.
The first major story to hit the internet and ring in 2018 has been the incident surrounding Logan Paul, a famous Youtuber, and the Aokigahara Forest in Japan. Logan Paul started off as a Viner (someone who posted videos on the short-form video hosting service known as Vine). The hosting service was shut down in 2016 and many of the famous Viners on the service moved over to Youtube. Logan Paul was one of them. Since the move, Logan Paul has continued to be a big hit on Youtube, drawing in more than 15 million subscribers, many of whom are children and young teens.
His move to the Youtube platform, however, has brought with it controversyーnone more major than his recent vlog (video blog) entitled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest [Aokigahara].” As the title implies, this vlog showed Logan Paul and his group entering Aokigahara, often referred to as the “Suicide Forest” on the internet, and encountering the body of a suicide victim. Instead of shutting off the video and editing this scene out, Logan’s crew continued to shoot footage of the victim’s body, even doing close ups, and only showed the barest amounts of decency to blur out the face.
On December 31st, 2017 Logan Paul uploaded this vlog to Youtube and it had garnered thousands of likes before it reached the attention of other Youtubers and those outside of Logan Paul’s fanbase. The backlash and criticism of the vlog hit the next day – January 1st, 2018.
In the days following, there have been numerous commentary and news videos created discussing the situation and the story has been picked up by many major news outlets. Over the past week, the situation has also expanded beyond just the Aokigahara vlog and into examining and criticizing the other vlogs that Logan Paul made while in Japan and which have recently been uploaded to his channel.
There are many layers of criticism surrounding this situation, some of which involves Youtube itself, but they can all be organized into three main categories:
1. Logan Paul’s Behavior
2. The Toxic Nature of Logan Paul’s Fanbase
3. Lack of Proper Action by Youtube and Parents
So, let’s tackle these categories:
1: Logan Paul’s Behavior
There are two Youtube commentary videos. They were both made by Japanese Youtuber’s and they focus heavily on Logan Paul’s disrespectful and racist behavior.
Video #1: The first video is entitled “Logan Paul (Don’ be That Guy in Japan…or Anywhere Else)” and it is by That Japanese Man Yuta.
In this video, while the issue of Aokigahara is briefly touched upon, it largely focuses on Logan Paul’s behavior in the other vlogs about his time spent in Tokyo. He points out the many ways in which the behavior shown in those vlogs is extra rude in Japan and how Logan Paul’s Japanese guide apologizes for him within the vlogs themselves. Thus, Logan Paul holds no accountability for himself or his actions.
Yuta also does something very important in his videos, which were missing from Logan Paul’s vlog: he blurred out the faces of the Japanese individuals that Logan interacts with. The only exceptions were Logan’s guide and the cops. All other individuals have their faces blurred, which is a very common practice in Japan when it comes to uploading and sharing videos and photos on the web. Japan has strict privacy and portrait laws. A Japan Times article entitled “It’s OK to film people in public in Japan, if the conditions justify it” discusses the issue of filming and photographing people in public places within Japan. They summarized a 2005 Supreme Court ruling in Japan on this topic as such:
“[…] taking photos without consent is illegal if the extent of the violation of the subject’s personal rights exceeds the maximum acceptable according to social norms, while taking into consideration the social status of the people photographed, the content of activities, the location where filming took place, the photographers’ purpose, the way the pictures were taken, the necessity of capturing the images, and so on.”
Logan Paul’s Tokyo vlogs certainly tip-toe the lines of some of these conditions and he and his crew do not blur out or hide the identities the individuals taken in vlogs. There is a possibility that he got permission from everyone involved, but this is unknown. It is also unknown at this time if any legal actions might possibly be taken concerning these vlogs.
Video #2: This second video is “How I feel about what Logan Paul did in Japan…” by Reina Scully.
In her video, Reina focuses heavily on the Aokigahara vlog. She talks of the very serious issue of suicide in Japan, about the disrespect Logan showed not only to the victim but also to Japan in general by creating and uploading this vlog on New Year’s Eve. As she states in the video, New Year’s Eve in Japan is a sacred holiday. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are celebrated in a similar way to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in America, with a large focus on family and traditions. Her video also goes into how Logan’s behavior dehumanizes Japanese people.
Reina Scully’s video also ties into the second category, which is The Toxic Nature of Logan Paul’s Fanbase, with the comments section being a prime example of his fanbase’s toxic behavior.
2: The Toxic Nature of Logan Paul’s Fanbase
While there have been supportive comments on Reina Scully’s video, there has also been an overwhelming amount of racist and sexist fueled comments by Logan’s fanbase on her video. Here there are also two Youtube videos that touch on the topic of Logan Paul’s fanbase and the toxic nature of it.
Video #1: The first video is entitled “Logan Paul Racism Vs Disrespect Controversy Erupts” by Philip DeFranco, a big name Youtuber whose videos tend to cover Youtube drama to international news stories.
The first half of the video (00:30 – 06:53) focuses specifically on Logan Paul’s behavior, his fanbase, the situation with Reina Scully, and other aspects related to Logan Paul’s behavior being reflected in the fandom. He makes mention of the fact that, even though Logan Paul has told his fans to not defend him many still are. He also noted that though Logan Paul is currently taking a hiatus, he is still gaining fans. Fans who are largely children who have grown accustomed to Logan Paul using dead bodies as clickbait and his faking his own death as shock value in his vlogs. He also brings up how people have dug back into past tweets of Logan Paul’s, which show him making racist comments, all of these aspects of Logan Paul’s character is being reflected in his fanbase.
Video #2: The second video is “LOGAN PAUL RAISES AWARENESS! (ClickBait)” by DavidSoComedy, which takes a more comedic, but still scathing approach to commenting on the situation surrounding Logan Paul.
David So’s video focuses on the Aokigahara vlog and how Logan Paul crossed a line. He spends a good deal of time discussing the fact that Logan Paul’s Aokigahara vlog was not a livestream, but that it was taped and then edited, explaining the intent from a creator’s view. The video was edited and created to specifically use the body of a suicide victim as a prop and clickbait, and Logan Paul’s laughter (whether due to shock or not) was not edited out and was kept in. David So focuses on how this vlog shows who Logan Paul really is and how his fanbase is what is propping him up and allowing this behavior to keep going. The fans are mimicking the actions of a Youtuber they look up to. He also rips into the apologies that Logan Paul has given and the insincerity of them both.
And Both David So and Philip DeFranco note that Logan Paul is past the age where “He’s still young!” can be used as an excuse. Meanwhile, all of the four videos and/or Youtubers above take note of a very troubling part of this whole situation – lack of accountability.
3. Lack of Responsibility by Youtube and Parents
All of the videos above mention Youtube’s lack of proper response to the Aokigahara vlog. But for this category, there is one video in particular that will be focused on. That video is “RELOADED ~ Youtube’s Golden child Logan Paul apologizes! #boybye” by lovelyti2002.
Although the video is quite long, Ti discusses in the first five minutes how her original video about Logan Paul and this current situation was made private and taken down within an hour of being uploaded. There is talk of the hypocrisy and bias of Youtube, and how some Youtubers, such as Logan Paul, get special treatment.
She further goes on to talk about how the lack of proper action by Youtube not only allows Logan Paul’s entitlement based behavior to go unchecked, but that it negatively impacts smaller Youtube creators such as herself. Youtube was not the one to take down Logan Paul’s Aokigahara vlog, but rather Logan Paul himself. It has since be re-uploaded by others numerous amounts of times and can still be found on Youtube. The Aokigahara vlog had also made it to trending, which many believe Youtube actually hand picks. While the vlog was demonetized, Logan Paul still gets plenty of money from other ad revenue, major sponsorship such as Pepsi, and through increased views on his other videos that are monetized.
Ti being a Youtuber as well as a mother, also talks about the parental responsibility of talking with your kids about the Aokigahara vlog. This is something that she extends to the content that kids consume online and the content creators that they follow. Parents, as well as Youtube, need to take responsibility for the role models they are allowing into the lives of children and the content that children are watching and internalizing.
People may not be able to influence the way parents raise their children, and Youtube may not have given Logan Paul’s channel a strike yet, but there is currently a petition up to delete Logan Paul’s Youtube Channel. As of this writing, it has around 378,000 signatures, with a new goal of reaching 500,000. Please sign the petition and show Youtube that you would like to see Logan Paul receive proper consequences for his actions and learn personal accountability.
Also, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, or simply in need of someone to talk to please call or chat online.
The Trevor Project (Online Chat / Call: 1-866-488-7386 or Text: 1-202-304-1200). The online chat is available 7 days a week (texting Mon.-Fri.) between 3pm–10pm ET / Noon–7pm PT and the crisis phone number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You can also call or chat online through The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline Chat or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)). The Lifeline Chat and crisis phone number are both available 24/7 across the USA.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (This site provides links to local crisis centres – many of which are available 24/7).
The United Kingdom:
If you have information regarding suicide prevention from your country that you would like us to include in this post, please leave a comment below.