YouTube star Logan Paul has apologized after posting a video that appeared to show the body of a suicide victim hanging from a tree in an area of Japan known as the "suicide forest."
Paul posted a statement on Twitter Monday apologizing for the video, which has since been taken down from his popular YouTube channel.
"I didn't do it for views,'' the 22-year-old vlogger wrote. "I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity.
"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."
The video showed Paul and a group of others happening upon what appeared to be a dead body hanging in the Aokigahara forest, a dense forest on the edge of Mount Fuji that known as the site for a high number of suicides. The face of the person was blurred.
"This is a first for me. This literally probably just happened," Paul says.
A voice off camera says, "I don't feel good."
"Depression and mental illnesses is not a joke," Paul says. "We came here with the intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This just became very real."
In another moment, Paul says, "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?" and starts laughing.
The video was originally posted to Paul's YouTube channel, which has 15 million subscribers, and was still circulating online.
It cause a huge backlash of angry reaction online, including a comment from "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul. (The two are not related.)
Many also pointed out that he took the time to watch and edit the footage and still decided to post it.
YouTube was also criticized for allowing the video to be put up on the site.
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
Logan Paulâs instinct to continue filming, continue editing, and continue uploading after filming a dead suicide victim shows just how corrupt he has become in the persuit of relevancy. You had many chances to turn back, dude. You chose this.— Luke Cutforth (@LukeIsNotSexy) January 2, 2018
Dear @youtube, after the Logan Paul video where he shows a dead body of a suicide victim, uses that for the title, makes heartless jokes next to the body, there needs to b age restrictions for certain creators. How is this allowed on YT? His followers are children! Horrifying— Kandee Johnson (@kandeejohnson) January 2, 2018
Paul is the latest YouTube star to create controversy with offensive videos.
The popular YouTube personality Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie, had his reality show cancelled after criticism over a video with anti-Semitic imagery last February.
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