Sunday 18 February 2018

YouTube star condemned for posting video of body in forest

Logan Paul is an online vlogger
Logan Paul is an online vlogger

Mark Molloy

American YouTube star Logan Paul has apologised after footage he posted online of an apparent dead body sparked a global backlash.

The 22-year-old faced a barrage of criticism after posting a video of his visit to the Aokigahara forest in Japan, the site of frequent youth suicides, under the title "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest."

Mr Paul, who has more than 15 million subscribers, later deleted the video and apologised for being "misguided by shock and awe". The post was viewed more than six million times before it was taken down.

In an intro to the video, he says: "This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I've ever posted on this channel."

The Ohio-born actor, who rose to fame posting prank videos on defunct short-form video app Vine, is filmed exploring the forest with friends while wearing a trademark comical hat before stumbling across the apparent body.

It includes a number of close-up shots of the man, whose face has been blurred out, and footage of the group standing next to him.

Actor Aaron Paul [no relation] and 'Game of Thrones' star Sophie Turner were among the high-profile critics who condemned the footage, as the vlogger's name began trending on Twitter.

Others also condemned the video for its insensitivity. Another wrote: "You do not try to raise awareness of Suicide and Suicide Prevention by filming [this]."

The Aokigahara forest, which covers the slopes of the base of Mount Fuji, is a frequent site of suicides. In the past, suicides in the forest have been so frequent that police and volunteers have formed human chains to search for victims.

People living nearby have said deaths in the forest began to increase after the publication of a novel by Seicho Matsumoto in 1960 called 'Kuroi Jukai' (Sea of Trees), in which two lovers take their lives in Aokigahara.

In an apology posted on Twitter, Mr Paul wrote that he had intended to raise awareness about suicide prevention, providing a link with information on the American Society for Suicide Prevention.

Irish Independent

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