"This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I've ever posted," says YouTube star Logan Paul at the start of a 15-minute video posted Sunday that quickly came under fire. The title of the since-removed video was "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest...", and that basically sums it up: Paul traveled to Aokigahara, a 35-square-mile forest that's become a popular enough destination for those seeking to end it all that it features a sign that begins, "Your life is a precious gift from your parents." While there, he filmed a dead body hanging from a tree. As New York observes, the video was "largely indistinguishable' from other videos he has shared with his 15 million followers: replete with silly hats and mugging for the camera, he calls out "Yo are you alive?" upon seeing the body, then, "His hands are purple. He did this this morning."
The BBC notes the video zoomed in on the body a number of times, and blurred only the face. When someone is heard saying he doesn't feel good, a laughing Paul is filmed replying, "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?" Paul tells fans his intention was to look at the spooky side of the forest, and tries to add a sort of PSA bent, noting, "Suicide is not a joke." He explained the video—which racked up 6.3 million views within its initial 24 hours—wouldn't be monetized, and included suicide prevention information. That didn't quell the rapid and biting criticism: "Logan Paul is a disrespectful piece of garbage who further glorified something horrible under the guise of 'there's help for you,'" reads one Twitter post. He took the video down, and tweeted an apology late Monday. "I've never faced criticism like this before, because I've never made a mistake like this before." More on the forest here.