When I first saw what had happened in regards to Logan Paul’s most recent YouTube Video, where he filmed the body of a suicide victim, I was upset and once again frustrated at the toxic behaviour displayed by Paul and his crew. What angered me most was the lack of empathy and respect Paul and his friends had towards Japan’s suicide crisis, and not to forget the average audience range of Paul is 7-14.
The incident follows a problematic theme among the YouTube community of Prank and Scare videos, which often cross cultural and social lines of behaviour to gain views and media attention. I mean any publicity is good publicity right? Wrong. Another prime example of this is the exposure of YouTube prankster Sam Pepper, who finally got called out after posting numerous ‘pranks’ blatantly making a joke out of sexual harassment towards women. When young kids, our future generations, are using YouTubers as models for their future personas, it is extremely concerning that people like Paul are carelessly using their voice in ways like this.
Sadly the Paul video in question and many others of a similar theme once out there are there forever. It is a shocking example of how desensitized our society has become to graphic imagery. 7-14 year olds watching Paul are going to think posting things like this is standard and okay way to use your social media voice and that deceased or suffering people behind a screen aren’t real people, which they are. If you search into YouTube, Google or any other platform with a search button you will find countless parodies titled with things like “My Reaction to Logan Paul Finding a Dead Body” and “I Watched The Logan Paul Dead Body Video” and the real gravity of the situation is trivialised and becomes a viral spectacle. The man who Paul decided to publicly display would’ve had a family of his own who would have been devastated to learn of their Father/Son/Brother/Uncle’s death through the online mockery of a foreign Tourist, a guest to the country.
I would like to touch on this, as it is so important to know and learn about the countries you visit and to respect everything and everyone you encounter that may have cultural significance and treat it appropriately. The forest Paul visited is a hugely significant and heartbreakingly infamous site in Japan and was no way at the same level as the creepy house down your street you want to explore for entertainment or a thrill. The forest is a place of sadness not somewhere for people to run through with their cameras hoping to capture a tragedy as a souvenir. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world and an estimated 21897 people died in 2016 as a result of suicide. Some of those would have been in Aokigahara (the forests official name) and due to the sheer size of the site they are not necessarily able to be located. This alone is clearly enough information already to see that there is nothing funny or uploadable about the issue. It is not a situation to make light of. I hope Paul feels the repercussions of his actions and I hope this is a red flag for this particular YouTube Community that there is a line and you do not cross it.
Written by Lottie Buchanan
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