YouTube star Logan Paul was in the Aokigahara forest near the base of Mount Fuji in Japan during 2017 filming for his popular daily video blog (Vlog). While walking through the forest, known commonly as the suicide forest for its paranormal activity, Paul and company filmed a body hanging from a rope under a tree in the distance. Paul asks, “Bro, did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest?” The film next shows the victim up close. The face is blurred, but the body is not while Paul addresses the camera and apologizes that mental illness, depression, and suicide are no joking matter. The reactions of the group are filmed while Paul engages in nervous laughter and exaggerated reactions that are familiar to his viewers, the majority of these fans being young children and teenagers. Within 24 hours, millions have watched the footage and accusations begins to fly that Paul was exploiting this person’s suicide and tormenting the victim’s family. On January 1, 2018, Paul releases a written apology on Twitter and followed that with another apology on YouTube on January 2, 2018.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Attacking the Accuser, Good Intentions, Defeasibility
Written Apology (January 1, 2019)
Dear Internet, Where do I begin… Let’s start with this. I’m sorry. This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong. I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought “if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,” I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am. I do this sh*t every day. I’ve made a 15 minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days. One may understand that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications. 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. It won’t happen again. I love everyone. I believe in people. I’m out here. Peace #Logang4Life
YouTube Apology (January 2, 2020)
I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse of my judgment and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize.
So, what we came across that day in the woods was obviously unplanned and the reactions you saw on tape were raw. They were unfiltered. 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, but I didn’t and for that from the bottom of my heart I am sorry.
I want to apologize to the Internet. I want to apologize to anyone who’s seen the video. I want to apologize to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide, but most importantly I want to apologize to the victim and his family.
For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended. The goal with my content is always to entertain, to push the boundaries, to be all inclusive. In the world I live in, I share almost everything I do. The intent is never to be heartless, cruel or malicious.
Like I said, I’ve made a huge mistake I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m just here to apologize.
I’m ashamed of myself. I’m disappointed in myself and I promise to be better. I will be better. Thank you.
Bromwich, J. E. (2018, Janaury 2). Logan Paul, YouTube Star, Says Posting Video of Dead Body Was ‘Misguided’: New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/business/media/logan-paul-youtube.html
Elbaum, R. (2018, January 2). Logan Paul apologies after ‘suicide forest’ YoutTube post. NBC News. Retrieved from: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/logan-paul-apologizes-after-suicide-forest-youtube-post-n833946
Vincent, J. (2018, January 2). YouTuber Logan Paul apologizes for filming suicide victim, says ‘I didn’t do it for views’. The Verge. Retrieved from: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/2/16840176/logan-paul-suicide-video-apology-aokigahara-forest