BY MARISSA CASTANOS
**SUICIDE TRIGGER WARNING**
In 2013, a new app came out for mobile phone users all over the world. This new app allowed users to make six-second videos that they could share with the world. Like any other social media app, such as YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram, stars were quickly born, one of them being Logan Paul. Paul quickly gained a following on Vine, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, all the while pushing out content to his new subscribers.
Recently, Paul released a video where he went into Japan’s infamous Aokigahara forest, also known as the Suicide Forest. Paul and his friends ventured into the forest with a guide, filming their experience. About 6 minutes into the now deleted video, Paul announces that they are witnessing a body hanging from a tree limb. Paul then walked closer towards the body, while the camera was still rolling, then zoomed the camera in closer, clearly showing the body hanging.
Paul then explains that the video was supposed to be fun, and that he and his friends wanted to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. But then, Paul starts making jokes, yelling profanities, and laughing about what he and his friends discovered. Coincidently, Paul then says “what if one of these kids running around stumbled across that body?” Ironically, most of the following he has gained throughout the years are from children, who more than likely watched the vlog he published. At the end of the video, Paul actually talked to a young girl who was under the age of 13 who stated that she was apart of the “Logang,” a nickname for the group of followers who watch his videos on YouTube.
Toward the end of the video, Paul states that his smiling and laughing does not portray the feelings he has on the inside, but that they are just a coping mechanism. This is a valid point, as people do in fact deal with death in different ways. But this in no way excuses Paul’s actions, as he should have just stopped filming altogether and not produced the video.
After extreme backlash for the video, Paul released a written statement on his Twitter account, followed by a video apology on his YouTube account. In his apology video, Paul states that “none of us knew how to react or how to feel. I should have never posted the video, I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through, there’s a lot of things I should have done differently that I didn’t.” Paul apologized to the internet, to anyone who has experienced mental illness, and most importantly to him, he offered his apologies to the victim and the victim’s family. Paul tells his followers that they should not defend his actions, because he believes that his actions do not deserve to be defended, and he realizes that he has made a shameful and hurtful mistake.
Logan Paul has shown that just because you may have millions of followers on various different social media platforms, your actions will still be held accountable. Suicide and mental illness are no laughing matter, and the individuals struggling with mental illness deserve to be heard, and deserve to be taken seriously. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please seek help and refer to the contact information listed below.
Fort Hays Kelly Center
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
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