On December 31 2017, (former) YouTube mogul Logan Paul uploaded a video from his travels in Japan, detailing his experience inside Aokigahara, also known as the “suicide forest.” The video caused an international outrage among viewers and parents alike because of the way Paul inappropriately filmed a person who had ended their life. At first Paul appears shocked and startled, like any average person would be. Then, he starts making jokes while laughing and poking at the body.

First, Aokigahara is essentially a mass grave. It’s not a tourist attraction, it’s a place where people have been known to go and end their lives. In Japan, death is viewed as very private and something to be respected. If he hadn’t decided to film anything in there in the first place, then he wouldn’t have gotten himself into this predicament.

It’s not the first, second, or third time that Paul has been accused of derogatory acts. Despite being 22 years old, Paul has a reputation in the YouTube community for going to extreme lengths to pull childish, often harmful pranks all for likes that eventually translate into profit for him. His fanbase is filled with mostly 10-13 year old girls affectionally referred to as the “Logang” known for the nasty comments and vile things that they spit out at whomever dares to disagree with anything that Paul says or does. Boundaries and rules are non-existent with this troupe of narrow minded individuals. Clearly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the sense that both the Paul brothers and their fandoms share the same immature mindset.

What’s really unnerving about him publishing such an unseemly video is the timeline that  follows. The focal point is the editing, specifically how long it takes. How many times would he have had to look at that footage, to look at the dead man’s body, and still think that publishing the video was okay? How is it that after reviewing the video who knows how many times, only after he received a monsoon of criticism did the thought of “Oh! maybe I actually made a mistake” occur? It just seems too sketchy and out of place, like something someone much younger than him would do. The entire situation was made much worse when Paul later posted “apology” statements.

The first statement is startlingly self-praising, with the words “I’m sorry” only appearing once. What really rubs people the wrong way is his drastic assumption of “I didn’t do it for views. I already get views.” If anything, Pauls’ first “apology” statement incited more anger among his audience. The video that followed is more problematic than infuriating, however.

In his second apology, Paul appears teary and guilty, and maybe in some aspect he is. In his earlier statement, it is obvious that Paul assumed that would be the only thing he needed to say to make his problem disappear. It’s likely that Paul was acting all teary in his video because he had (finally) come to the realization that there was going to be consequences for his actions. The glimmer of inauthenticity is less apparent in the video than it was in his earlier statement, though it is still there. Even the length of the video is questionable. Spending less than two minutes apologizing for a serious offence says a lot about his character. I, along with nearly everyone else on the internet believe that he simply does not understand the gravity of what he has done.

The fact is, Paul is a perfect representation of the toxic prank culture that is growing on YouTube.

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