YouTube personality Logan Paul addresses fans in an apology video after having sparked controversy for uploading footage of a person who had committed suicide to his YouTube channel on Dec. 31, 2017. Photo Fair Use of www.TheVerge.com
On Dec. 31, 2017, YouTuber Logan Paul uploaded a video that sparked a conversation about profiting from offensive content online.
On Dec. 31, 2017, YouTuber and actor Logan Paul uploaded a video of himself visiting the Aokigahara Forest of Japan, which, according to CNN, is widely known for the suicides that occur in it.
Since the upload of the video, Paul has been widely criticized for uploading footage of a recent suicide to his YouTube channel, and especially berated for seeming to make light of it, laughing and jokingly lamenting, “It was just all gonna be a joke! Why did it become so real?”
Paul has since deleted the original video and issued both a video and written apology. However, according to the Washington Post, his original video garnered over 6 million views prior to its deletion.
Paul displayed a lack of sensitivity, not only in his conscious choice to leave the footage as part of his video, but in his reaction to seeing the dead body. The action he took sensationalizes suicide, makes light of it, and sets a negative example for his viewers, most of whom are children and teenagers.
In the video, Paul stated that his intent was to raise awareness for depression and suicide prevention, but his disrespect for those who have been affected by suicide displays otherwise.
These actions perpetuate the tendency of those who garner fame from the Internet to do just about anything for views, seeing as YouTubers like Paul have the ability to monetize their videos, and directly profit from incidents such as these.
According to Teen Vogue, Paul’s apology video has made him over $12,000. This means that, despite any negative attention or “hate” he may be receiving, Paul is benefitting from having exploited someone’s suicide.
The discretion of young people who watch YouTubers like Paul must be kept in mind, and most importantly of all, the memory of the young person who took their own life should not be profited from.
No one should be dehumanized for the sake of views and some petty cash.