After an onslaught of online criticism for a video he made, which appeared to show a lifeless, hanging body, YouTube star Logan Paul has apologized on social media for his incredible "mistake."
Paul posted, and has since removed, a video he shot in a Japanese forest, in which the body of an apparent suicide victim appeared to have been hanging from a tree. In the clip, Paul and his crew claimed to have come across the incident while exploring the Aokigahara forest, known widely as Japan's "Suicide Forest." In the posted video, the face of the person who appeared to have taken his or her own life is blurred.
The comedian continued shooting after discovering the body and asked the tour guide if they should call the police, in the posted video. He then told his viewers that his crew had come to the forest to focus on the "haunted aspect" of a placed historically connected to suicides. He's also seen laughing in the clip, but said that was his way of coping with the incident.
Paul is known for his pranks and comedy vlogs, and has more than 15 million subscribers on YouTube.
In his first statement Monday, the 22-year-old comedic actor and host said his intentions in posting the video were to raise awareness for suicide prevention, not to anger anyone. Paul posted a warning at the start of the video advising viewers who are considering suicide to seek help.
"Where do I begin," he wrote. "Let's start with this - I'm sorry." Paul added that he's never "made a mistake like this before."
"But I'm still a human being. I can be wrong," he continued. "I didn't do it for views ... I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity."
Paul added that if his video had saved at least "ONE life," he thought it was worth posting.
"I'm often reminded of how big of a reach I truly have & with great power comes great responsibility ... for the first time in my life I'm regretful to say I handled that power incorrectly."
He later added a video apology Tuesday afternoon, adding that his reactions in the video were raw and unfiltered and that "none of us knew how to react." He knew he should have put the cameras down and stop filming.
His apologies didn't stop the Twitter community, fellow actors and activists alike, from slamming him.
"Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul wrote, "You disgust me. I can't believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell."
Dear @LoganPaul,— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) January 2, 2018
How dare you! You disgust me. I can't believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.
Actress Anna Akana also slammed his attempt to say his video was to start a dialogue about mental illness.
"When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved," she wrote. "You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness."
Dear @LoganPaul,— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) January 2, 2018
When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved.
You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.
Mortician and author Caitlin Doughty wrote, "The young person who died was not for Paul- not their body, not their image, not their story."
It is the purview of the privileged young to believe everything is for them, to be commented on by them. The young person who died was not for Paul- not their body, not their image, not their story.— Caitlin Doughty (@TheGoodDeath) January 2, 2018
Others were brief in simply describing the comedian as "disgusting."
"Who is Logan Paul?" I asked.— Derek Haas (@derekhaas) January 2, 2018
"You don't know but your kids will," they said.
"Who is Logan Paul?" I asked my kids.
"Some idiot on youtube," my kids replied.
People have also been calling for more than just the video to be taken down.
Can we start 2018 by removing all Logan Paul content from the internet?— Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) January 2, 2018
logan paul gotta go ????— Andrea Russett (@AndreaRussett) January 2, 2018
Hugely saddened by suicide video on .@YouTube by Logan Paul.— Dr Lauren Gavaghan (@DancingTheMind) January 2, 2018
It is utterly disrespectful & very disturbing.
.@YouTube ought to remove him given the huge reach he has to young people.
With a number of v high-profile suicides in media recently, young people may be at risk. pic.twitter.com/q7lhRSNpBJ
A representative for YouTube told ABC News in a statement, "Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in this video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated. We partner with safety groups such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center."
YouTube added that the channel places a strike on such videos posted that violate its policies and according to the channel's guidelines, first strike is a warning, followed by a halt on posting. Accounts are suspended if they have three strikes within three months.