Sunday, June 24, 2018
TV and Media

YouTube star Logan Paul apologizes for showing body in Japan’s ‘suicide forest’

Logan Paul, one of YouTube’s biggest stars, treated a video he uploaded over the weekend as the equivalent of a TV sitcom’s "very special episode." To indicate the seriousness of the matter to his young fans, Paul posted a warning at the beginning, telling viewers who are having thoughts of suicide or self harm to seek help. He also demonetized the video so that he would not earn advertising money off its views.

The now-deleted video was titled, "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest . . .", and that is, more or less, exactly what the vlog showed - complete with extended footage of the body of an apparent suicide victim. In a short intro, Paul called it "the most real vlog I have ever posted on this channel" and "a moment in YouTube history."

On Monday, amid outrage on Twitter and from other YouTube personalities, the video disappeared from Paul’s YouTube channel, and the social media superstar tweeted out an apology. Paul said he "intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention" with the video, and claimed he "didn’t do it for views."

"I’m often reminded of how big a reach I have & with great power comes great responsibility," He said. "For the first time in my life I’m regretful to say I handled that power incorrectly. It won’t happen again."

A moment like this was perhaps inevitable in Paul’s world, where everything is content before it is anything else. The only wrong decision in this universe is to turn the camera off.

If you’re over 25, this might be the first time you’ve heard of Logan Paul. The thing you need to know about him is that he is very famous. Paul has 15 million subscribers on YouTube. Each one of his daily videos routinely gets more than 5 million views. Like his younger brother Jake Paul, who also vlogs daily on his own YouTube channel, Logan’s fans are young - tweens and under, often.

Each Paul has a boy band-like role to play in the brotherhood. Jake Paul was the bad boy, the one who lost his Disney gig after the news picked up on the mayhem outside of his former Los Angeles-area home. Until he vlogged about a dead body, Logan played the relatively responsible older brother, or at least responsible enough to still get cast in TV and movie roles.

Logan calls his fans the "Logang;" Jake’s are the "Jake Paulers." The brothers treat fandom like a competition, pitting their viewers against each other by maintaining a mostly fake, on-camera rivalry to see who can get the most YouTube views or merchandise sales.

It works, and because of their success, the brothers have become the prosperity gospel preachers of social media stardom, inviting their young fans to follow in their vlogging footsteps. Your daily life, the gospel says, is meant to be monetized, just as the Pauls have done. Jake Paul’s catch phrase is "It’s every day, bro," which explicitly refers to the fact that he posts a new vlog about his life, every day. He turned "it’s every day bro" into a rap video that, while mocked into the meme stratosphere for its horrible lyrics, currently has more than 167 million YouTube views.

Experiences that don’t become content are, in the Pauls’ world, money and influence left on the table. The daily vlogging gospel only promises wealth and influence if your life on camera is interesting enough to deserve it. So in this context, consider that Logan Paul had footage of a dead body - and more importantly, his own on camera reaction to seeing a dead body for the first time in his life. As I said, it was inevitable.

Dozens of research studies suggest that media sensationalizing suicide, showing it extensively and graphically as this vlog did, can put vulnerable individuals at risk. But that research doesn’t seem to register as even a blip for Logan Paul.

The now-deleted video reveals something else: from the moment Paul walked into that forest, he intended to make a video about death and suicide. But his original plan was to fake it, treating the Aokigahara - where dozens of real corpses are found every year - like a haunted house. They were going to camp overnight in the forest. When it was dark, they’d pretend to see things, maybe a dead body. It’s the sort of video that tons of YouTubers make while visiting Japan.

Several minutes into the video, Logan and his crew are walking in broad daylight to find a place to camp, like the other YouTubers who have visited this forest for content before them have done. Then they find the body. They move in closer, camera rolling. Logan zooms the camera he is holding in on the body, closer still. He then turns the camera on himself. "I’m so sorry about this Logang," Paul said, using the nickname for his millions of YouTube fans, "this was supposed to be a fun vlog."

Still standing there, feet from the body of an apparent suicide victim, Logan tells his viewers that "we came here with an intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest, this just became very real and obviously a lot of people are going through a lot of (expletive) in their lives."

"Suicide is not the answer, guys, there are people who love you and care for you," Paul said.

Later, Paul and his crew are beginning to freak out. "I’ve never seen a dead person. Like, I’ve never discovered a dead person," Paul says. But standing there, it’s clear that they have already decided to use this footage. Paul tells his viewers that they will be blurring the face of the victim to protect his identity. Authorities have not yet arrived.

"This is the most real vlog I’ve ever made," Paul says. "400 vlogs And I’ve never, I’ve never had a more real moment than this."

The vlog is now gone from Paul’s channel. But before it went, a cached version shows, the video had hundreds of thousands of likes and more than 6 million views.


Sports on TV/radio for Monday, June 25

TODAYBaseballAngels at Royals4 p.m.MLBNationals at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMDiamondbacks at Marlins7 p.m.FSFYankees at Phillies7 p.m.MLBCubs at Dodgers10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesBest-of-3 championship, Game 1: Oregon St. vs. Mississippi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 24

TODAYAutosFormula 1: French Grand Prix10 a.m.ESPN2IndyCar: Kohler Grand Prix1 p.m.NBCSNMonster Energy Cup: Toyota/Save Mart 3503 p.m.FS1; 102.5-FMNHRA: Summit Racing Equipment Nationals (taped)6:30 p.m.FS1BaseballYankees at Rays1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMM...
Published: 06/23/18
5 recent shows to catch up on over the summer

5 recent shows to catch up on over the summer

emember all those TV shows you’ve heard about but never watched, saving them for that proverbial someday? Summer is the best time to finally watch them — curtains drawn, A/C cranked down to 70. Quick, before fall gets here, and critics start insistin...
Published: 06/22/18
MegaCon Tampa Bay celebrity guests include ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Doctor Who’ stars

MegaCon Tampa Bay celebrity guests include ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Doctor Who’ stars

MegaCon Tampa Bay has announced a lineup of celebrity guests that will likely conjure a mix of excitement and nostalgia among local geeks.They include Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who currently plays Negan on The Walking Dead, Christopher Lloyd, best known f...
Published: 06/21/18
Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Tampa might have the worst track record when it comes to contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race.Both queens who hail from the Cigar City were eliminated right away during their seasons. Alisa Summers was the first boot on Season 4 in 2012. Then on Season ...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Sports on TV/radio for Thursday, June 21

TODAYBaseballRed Sox at Twins1 p.m.MLBMets at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBCubs at Reds7 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Angels10 p.m.MLBCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas Tech8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA: Traveler’s Championship3:30 p.m.GolfHorsesRoyal Asco...
Published: 06/20/18

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, June 20

TODAYBaseballDodgers at Cubs2 p.m.MLBMarlins at Giants3:30 p.m.FSFMariners at Yankees7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCollege baseball, World SeriesOregon State vs. North Carolina7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals Championship6:30 p.m.GolfHor...
Published: 06/19/18

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, June 19

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas2 p.m.ESPNTexas Tech vs. Arkansas7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals c...
Published: 06/18/18

Sports on TV/radio for Monday, June 18

TODAYBaseballYankees at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesOregon State vs. Washington2 p.m.ESPNNorth Carolina vs. Mississippi State7 p.m.ESPN...
Published: 06/17/18

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Published: 06/16/18