- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A popular YouTube vlogger has apologized to his millions of social media followers after he posted a video of himself and friends stumbling upon an apparent dead body in Japan’s notorious “suicide forest.”

The 15-minute YouTube video showed Logan Paul and company finding what appeared to be a dead man hanging from a tree in the Aokigahara forest. Mr. Paul has since deleted the original video, but TMZ posted an edited clip showing Mr. Paul asking his friends to call the police and telling viewers that “suicide is not a joke.”

At one point, Mr. Paul said to someone off-camera: “What, you never stand next to a dead guy?”

Holding back laughter, the YouTube star said, “It was gonna be a joke. This was all a joke. Why did it become so real?”

The video caught a wave of backlash online, prompting Mr. Paul to issue a lengthy apology late Monday.

“I didn’t do it for views. I get views,” he wrote. “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,” he continued. “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.”

Mr. Paul continued to receive criticism after the apology was painted as self-promoting. He later uploaded a video apologizing to the victim’s family and calling off his fans from defending him.

“I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize,” Mr. Paul said in the video. “I should’ve never posted the video. I should’ve put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through. There’s a lot of things I should’ve done differently, but I didn’t, and for that, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.

“I’m ashamed of myself. I’m disappointed in myself and I promise to be better. I will be better,” he said.

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