YouTube star apologises for showing suicide victim

NEW YORK • Death is not a laughing matter. That is why a YouTube star with millions of followers has apologised for posting a video that showed a dead body hanging from a tree in a Japanese forest known as a destination for suicidal folk.

Logan Paul, 22, posted an apology on Twitter after the video drew criticism, saying that he had shown it in an attempt to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

"I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video," he added. In another video posted on Tuesday, he again apologised, this time to the dead man and his family.

The original video, which has since been removed from YouTube, begins with Paul warning viewers that the footage was graphic.

As the video proceeded, he spoke about the reputation of the Aokigahara forest. In 2016 alone, three North American films were set in the forest, which lies at the base of Mount Fuji, a sacred site in Japan.

Local folk tales have fuelled talk about the paranormal within the forest, a subject that Paul eagerly latched onto as he and his companions began their trek with a guide.

In the next scene, they came across the body. Paul and the others reacted in shock and he urged the guide to call the police.

As a camera panned over the body, he described its condition and speculated that the death was recent. He also said that suicide, depression and mental illness are not a joke.

As the group left the area where the body was found, Paul began to behave in a way familiar to his viewers: exaggerated reaction shots and nervous laughter.

Towards the end of the video, he attributed his smiling and laughing to his coping mechanism.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'YouTube star apologises for showing suicide victim'. Print Edition | Subscribe