In Depth

Logan Paul: YouTube parts ways with vlogger who filmed dead body in Japanese suicide forest

Paul faced criticism for a video post in which he jokes near the body of a hanging man

YouTube has severed its business partnership with Logan Paul, a star vlogger who filmed the dead body of a suicide victim in a Japanese forest.

Paul’s channel has been removed from Google Preferred, a platform that links advertisers with top-performing YouTubers, “in light of recent events,” according to a spokesman, Sky News reports.

The 22-year-old first rose to internet fame on clip platform Vine, before building a YouTube channel that now boasts in excess of 15 million followers. He also has a role in sitcom Foursome on the platform’s original content channel YouTube Red.

However, the spokesman said that the upcoming fourth season of the comedy “will not feature Logan” and that his other pending YouTube Red projects have been placed on hold.

The announcement follows an open letter earlier this week in which YouTube said “suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views”.

Logan’s comedy skits frequently feature puerile humour and bad taste pranks, but many felt that a video filmed in a Japanese “suicide forest” went beyond the pale.

In the video, uploaded on New Year's Day, Paul and a number of friends walk through Aokigahara forest, near Mount Fuji, before stumbling across the body of a person who had hanged himself. 

Paul shows the body of the victim, whose identity is unknown, from several angles but blurs his face. A member of the group is heard remarking that he “doesn’t feel good”. Paul replies: “What, you never stand next to a dead guy?” and then laughs, The Guardian writes.

The video had millions of views on YouTube before it was taken down, the BBC reports, while online comments slammed the video as “disrespectful” and “disgusting”, and called for Paul's channel to be taken down.

Paul later apologised for the video, claiming he had been “misguided by shock and awe”.

Aokigahara has a reputation in Japan as a destination for people who want to kill themselves.

“Data on the number of suicides there each year is not made public, to avoid publicising the site,” the BBC writes. “Signs are posted in the forest urging people to seek medical help rather than take their own lives.”

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 or contact them online for confidential, 24-hour support

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