On New Year’s Eve 2017, extremely popular YouTube personality Logan Paul uploaded a video while in Japan, where he came across a dead body in the Aokigahara forest, known as the “suicide forest.” The video started trending on YouTube, outrage over such explicit content on YouTube’s platform ensued and Logan, amid swift backlash, took down the video. After nearly a month since the incident, Jake Paul, Logan’s brother and fellow YouTube celebrity, has responded to the situation.
In a video titled “YouTube, Let’s Talk About Brother Logan Paul..” (below), Jake addressed the reckless behavior of his brother...at the very end and super quickly, kind of ridiculous for a 13 minute clip. In case you’ve never watched a Jake or Logan Paul video, the first eleven minutes is just a bunch of Jake and his friends snowboarding, pranking, and making obnoxious jokes, so certainly skip ahead if you aren’t already a Jake Pauler (yes, that’s what his fans are actually called.)
Around the 11 minute mark, Jake sits on a couch to address Logan’s actions. Serious isn’t a tone that either Paul brother are particularly adept at expressing, so the two minute monologue he delivers about his brother’s distasteful footage of a dead body is fairly...uncomfortable? He states in the video:
I think what Logan did was very, very, very, very wrong, and he made a huge mistake. And not only is he paying for it, but he is learning from it. I think that in no way, shape, or form is suicide a joke or should be made fun of in any, shape, form, or any behavior or mental issue...I don’t think it’s right, what he did at all.
Jake Paul oscilates between standing up for his brother and rightfully calling out the gross behavior his Aokigahara forest video engaged in. Towards the end of the video, Jake states how he doesn’t believe that Logan wanted to offend anyone or make light of suicide, but even those comments felt weak?
The controversy surrounding Logan Paul’s video isn’t based on whether or not he was intentionally or unintentionally offending people. The issue is that he proudly uploaded a video of a dead body to show to his fans as content and didn’t see any issue in doing so—two very different issues that inform one another, but are not synonymous.
Jake Paul’s response, while not perfect, shows the YouTube stars are still processing and trying to learn from this moment. Let’s hope they do.