“I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgement and I don’t expect to be forgiven, I’m simply here to apologize,” the 22-year-old vlogger said in an emotional clip titled “So Sorry” that he shared with his 15 million followers on Tuesday, January 2. “So what we came across that day in the woods was obviously unplanned and the reactions you saw on tape were raw, they were unfiltered. None of us knew how to react or how to feel.”
As previously reported, Paul faced a wave of backlash after posting the controversial video, titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…,” in Aokigahara, Japan, where many people take their lives every year. The internet celebrity tweeted his first apology shortly after removing the video on Monday, claiming that he didn’t share the video for views, and instead, aimed to “make a positive ripple on the internet” and “raise awareness for suicide prevention.” In his second apology, Paul said that he “should have never posted the video” and he wished he “put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through.”
The Ohio native added: “There are a lot of things I should have done differently, but I didn’t. And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. I want to apologize to the internet, I want to apologize to anyone who’s seen the video, I want to apologize to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness, or depression, or suicide. But most importantly, I want to apologize to the victim and his family.”
The Weird Loners alum also urged his fans to not back his behavior. “For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended,” he said. “The goal with my content is always to entertain, to push the boundaries, to be all inclusive. In the world I live in, I share almost everything I do. The intent is never to be heartless, cruel or malicious. Like I said, I made a huge mistake. I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m just here to apologize. I’m ashamed of myself. I’m disappointed in myself and I promise to be better. I will be better. Thank you.”
YouTube responded to the incident in a statement to vlogger Philip DeFranco on Tuesday, which DeFranco later posted to Twitter. “Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory contest posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner,” the video sharing platform said. “If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated. We partner with safety groups such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center.”
Celebrities have not shied away from criticizing the former Vine star. “Dear @LoganPaul, How dare you! You disgust me! I can’t believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad,” Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul tweeted on Monday. “Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.”
Sophie Turner also tweeted about the controversy: “@LoganPaul You’re an idiot. You’re not raising awareness. You’re mocking,” the Game of Thrones star wrote on Monday. “I can’t believe how self-praising your ‘apology’ is. You don’t deserve the success (views) you have. I pray to God you never have to experience anything like that man did.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.