Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

YouTuber apologizes over suicide video

AWARENESS?Outrage over the video that showed a body spread to Japan yesterday, with people across Twitter slamming the Internet star for his novelty hat and laughter

AFP, TOKYO

Japanese social media yesterday reacted with a storm of outrage to a video by YouTube star Logan Paul showing a suicide victim in a forest near Mount Fuji, as anger spread over the now-deleted video.

Angry comments flooded Twitter after Paul, who has gained notoriety on social media and has a popular video blog, apologized for the footage, which was reportedly viewed 6 million times.

The video shows the 23-year-old discovering a body in Aokigahara, a dense woodland at the foot of Mount Fuji known as “the Japanese Suicide Forest,” in a nation that has long struggled with some of the highest suicide rates in the developed world.

As news of the video and apology was reported in Japan yesterday, social media erupted with indignation over the film, which showed a man who had hanged himself.

“It is insane to show to the world the body of someone who died after being depressed. Shame on you,” Twitter user @j_rivoluzione said.

Others objected to Paul’s appearance in a novelty hat, while outtakes showing the US Internet celebrity laughing and joking about the incident also stirred anger.

“It’s good to raise awareness, but you can do it without filming a person who committed suicide,” @spiffymiffy1 said. “It looks like he did it for self-satisfaction. Suicide and depression are serious issues. There’s nothing funny about them.”

In his apology, Paul said he had posted the video in a mistaken effort to draw attention to the problem of depression and suicide.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications,” he said in his statement. “I thought I could make a positive ripple on the Internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity.”

Actress Anna Akana was among many in the US and elsewhere to hit out at Paul.

“When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her,” she said on Twitter. “You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.”

Japan has the highest suicide rate of any G7 industrialized nation, with more than 20,000 people taking their own lives each year.

Aokigahara has become so notorious as a spot for people to kill themselves that authorities have put up signs among the trees urging people to contact a suicide prevention group.

“Life is a precious thing... Think again about your parents, siblings and children,” the signs say.

Suicides in Japan have fallen since their peak of 34,427 in 2003, with 21,897 taking their own lives in 2016.

YouTube indicated the video was removed, because it violated its terms of service.

This story has been viewed 1755 times.

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