Dear Logan Paul,
Do you know what it’s like when someone you love dies by suicide? I’m guessing, by your latest video, you don’t.
Well, I do.
I’ve had multiple family members die by suicide, and, let me tell you, it absolutely sucks. It sucks when you get the phone call, informing you that they’re gone, it sucks when you spend night-after-night unable to sleep, constantly thinking about how you could’ve – and should’ve – done more to help them, and it sucks seeing the person who found their body, crumble in front of your eyes.
Because, this is the thing: when people find the body of someone who has died by suicide, they’re usually negatively affected: they may cry, they may scream, they may have a complete breakdown.
You, on the other hand, found the body of a person who died by suicide, and you laughed. Do you know how insulting that is to people who have lost loved ones in this way?
In particular, can you imagine how difficult it would be, if someone was to watch your video, and realise that the body in question was someone they loved? It’s hard enough receiving the news that a person you care about has died in this way, so I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to then find out that their dead body has been mocked in front of millions of people.
Now, I understand that you’ve said sorry. I’ve read your apologetic tweet, and watched your latest video ‘So Sorry.’ Whilst I’m usually the first to forgive people, there is something that just doesn’t sit right with your apology.
You claim that you made a ‘mistake’, that this is a ‘first for you’. But, your actions weren’t just a single mistake. Firstly, you decided to film in Aokigahara forest: an area of Japan that is known as ‘suicide forest’. You then decided to keep your camera rolling, even when you found the body. You decided to laugh about it. You decided to edit the video. You decided to upload it. You decided to pick a thumbnail, which showed the body. This wasn’t just one easy-to-make mistake – it was several decisions you chose to make. To me, it doesn’t seem like you’re sorry for what you did, it seems like you’re sorry that there’s been a backlash.
Furthermore, your apology seems to be all about you. Your tweet doesn’t once mention the victim, and it doesn’t offer any information about suicide prevention. When it comes to your apology video, it’s important to note that it’s currently trending #1 on YouTube. This means you’ll be getting no end of money from advertising revenue. You’ve essentially used your apology video to make money, instead of using it to help people who have been negatively affected by your original video.
Because there will be people affected by your original video. Firstly, there’s your fans, who are mainly young people. There will be seven-year-olds, 10-year-olds, young teenagers, who have now seen a dead body for the first time in their lives. Sure, they may’ve seen a character die on one of their favourite shows, but this may be the first time they’ve been exposed to ‘real’ dead person. For them, this could’ve been seriously traumatic.
There’s also the people who have mental health difficulties themselves, viewers who experience suicidal thoughts. There could be people watching who are struggling with their mental health, but are too scared to get help for fear of ‘not being taken seriously’. Your reaction to that body will play into their fears, suggesting that mental illness is something that should be laughed at.
In your Twitter apology, you claim that you ‘intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention’ but, to me, it seems like you’ve done quite the opposite. In future, if you want to raise ‘awareness’ and help to prevent suicides, check out YouTube’s guidelines. Read the media guidelines issued by mental health charities, such as Samaritans. Donate the money you make from videos to relevant mental health organisations. Share helpline numbers with viewers.
Above all, think about people like me: people who have lost loved ones to suicide, people who have made suicide attempts themselves, people who have mental health difficulties, and people who have suicidal thoughts. Think of your young fans - children who shouldn’t be exposed to dead bodies.
Essentially, think of others, instead of just focusing solely on yourself.