Career suicide

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Logan Paul in Tokyo.

Logan Paul has been successful in careers that recently didn’t exist, like “YouTube vlogger,” or that recently didn’t exist and now don’t exist again, like “Vine star.” He’s also tried perennial categories like “actor” and “just started a band!” He’s now 22.

The YouTube part of this consisted of daily videos of Paul acting goofy with various pals. Recently he decided to go to Japan with a few goofy side-kicks and post videos from there. These featured him running around Tokyo waving an octopus tentacle, mugging about how you gotta “respect the culture,” running through traffic in Pokemon costumes, teasing shopkeepers (“mucho broken”), exclaiming “Tokyo is a real live cartoon!”, and dressing in embroidered coat and conical straw hat.

The website Kotaku looked at some of these and translated remarks by people confronted by Paul: “Annoying foreigner,” “dumb American,” “You’re bothering Japanese people,” and “You should never be allowed to leave your own country” are a few.

But — maybe you heard — it got much worse.

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In the forest.

Paul and his wacky friends/sycophants went to Aokigahara Jukai, the sea of trees, also called the Suicide Forest. On the side of Mount Fuji, it’s a deep forest of cypress, pine, and hemlock. Many people have committed or attempted suicide there. Sort of like the Golden Gate Bridge.

In a video which Paul’s team shot, edited, and posted to YouTube, they come across a suicide victim, hanging from a tree. It’s titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest.” Paul intros the video by telling viewers to “buckle the fuck up.” The video shows Paul responding goofily. When they see the dead man, Paul tells their guide to call the police, then shouts “Yo, are you alive?” And “Are you fucking with us?” To the camera, he speculates about the condition of the man’s body, and the timing of the death. The group mugs, jokes, and laughs. Afterward Paul exclaims that this is among, “the top five craziest things I’ve ever done in my life!”

People hated this. They really hated this. They suggested that his next career move should be rotting in hell. They reported it to YouTube. They made their own videos attacking Paul’s disrespectful behavior toward the suicide victim. They started a petition to have him banned from YouTube.

Paul removed the video and apologized on Twitter.

I’m sorry.

This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong.

I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I do this sh*t every day. I’ve made a 15 minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days. One may understand that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications.

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

I love everyone. I believe in people. I’m out here…. #Logang4life

SUCH A BAD APOLOGY. He’s apologizing to his fans, not to, say, the victim’s family. And maybe Japan.

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Logan Paul raising awareness.

He doesn’t even mention what he did wrong.

He brags about his reach and power and his “views,” which are so great that he needs nobody and nothing. He brags about how many videos he’s made and how much experience he’s had without ever making a “mistake like this before.” One little slip from a seasoned pro!

He whines about how he’s only a human being – the old straw-man “I never said I was PERFECT” defense. Which never works. He whimpers about a “monsoon of negativity.”

And he lies. As many have pointed out, if he actually “intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention,” why didn’t he address that subject and give resources for people feeling suicidal impulses?

People hated that apology, too. Things got worse. Paul went to YouTube, red-eyed, to apologize again:

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Logan Paul without hat.

I made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment. And I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize.

So what we came across that day in the woods was obviously unplanned. The reactions you saw on tape were raw. They were unfiltered. None of us knew how to react, or how to feel. I should have never posted the video. I should have put the cameras down, and stopped recording what we were going through. There’s 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.

For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended.

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 do better. I will do better. Thank you.

That’s considerably better. This apology is directed to the right people.

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Another reason to pretend to be Canadian when you travel.

He’s slightly more specific about what he’s apologizing for, but he still doesn’t address the impact. It sounds like he’s still fairly ignorant.

SorryWatch is unimpressed by the defense that the responses seen were “raw” and “unfiltered.” The video was edited. Those responses were left in – they made it through a filter.

Paul announced that he’s pausing things, tweeting “taking time to reflect” and “no vlog for now.”

SorryWatch hopes his reflections are fruitful. If he can’t understand the despair, desperation, and heartbreak of suicide, he should stay away from the subject. We also hope he stays away from Japan until he’s understood how all his actions there were received.

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8 Responses to Career suicide

  1. tanita says:

    I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. Wow, I’m going to suggest that whilst he is “pausing things” he perhaps reconsider his whole life through the lens of that phrase, because seriously!? You found a the body of a person dead through means of their own despair, and… laughed? Clearly colossal mistakes were made, long before that moment.

    It always shakes me when people have to have it explained to them that they’re behaving outside the acceptable norms of decency. When one’s privilege is so loud that one cannot even understand how or why one’s actions could be seen as abhorrent, one verges on the sociopathic.

  2. sumac says:

    I’d say he’s gotten away with/been rewarded for so much jerkish behavior that he’s lost his way. He traded a primitive moral compass for a hit-detector….

  3. KR says:

    I saw this on CNN and thought “I wonder if SorryWatch has seen it…” And you had!

    RE: the “pretending to be Canadian” joke you put below one of the pictures, I do have to disagree with the oft-repeated advice that Americans should pretend to be Canadians when they travel because “other countries hate Americans”. When nice, decent people take that advice, they let the jerks be the only ambassadors of their country, which is just silly. They could challenge the “ugly American” stereotype if they identified themselves. As for me, I hope that any of my foreign friends who meet someone like Logan on the streets would say “what a jerk” not “Americans are jerks”… because they know me.

    • sumac says:

      Quite right!

    • Alicia says:

      Most of the Americans I have come across are quite lovely – after all, they are the ones who actually have passports and go out to experience other countries. I’m much more ashamed of my fellow Australians abroad! (why are we SO LOUD?)

  4. paulina borsook says:

    yes,

  5. Duncan says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySJpMyLiLRU

    As this video points out, this is probably not the end.

    #ThisIsNotHisFirstApology

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