Backlash over American YouTube star’s Japanese ‘suicide forest’ video
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Backlash over American YouTube star’s Japanese ‘suicide forest’ video

A VOLUNTEER at Japan’s Aokigahara forest, which is notoriously known as the country’s prime location for suicides, has joined the chorus of critics to slam American YouTube star Logan Paul for uploading a video of an apparent victim.

Makoto Kageyama, 29, who works with other volunteers at the forest situated at the base of Mount Fuji, said she was disgusted by Paul’s actions in the video that saw him make jokes with his friends in front of the body of a dead suicide victim, the BBC reported.

“From somebody who has worked there and knows more or less the things you have to take in mind when you find a body. That man has probably died a few hours ago,” she was quoted as saying.

Paul, 22, whose almost daily video blogs on YouTube have over 15 million followers, apologized for laughing with friends about the body they filmed hanging on a tree in the so-called “suicide forest” and posted to the video-sharing channel.

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“That person has probably had a very sad life and you are there using his final moments as your prop,” Kageyama, who helps convince those who contemplate killing themselves in the forest to not take their own lives, said.

“These things have to be handled carefully because they are disrespecting our culture while they are there laughing at the body.

“I just think it was very wrong. Even though I heard he apologised and said it was a coping mechanism you don’t do that. Somebody has just died.”

According to Vox, after stumbling upon the body, Paul calls out, “Yo, are you alive?” and then, “Are you f**ing with us?”

After the discovery, Paul was seen in the video with laughter and jokes, which he claims was a “coping mechanism”.

On Tuesday, Paul apologised for posting the video, saying he had made a “huge mistake” and was ashamed of himself.

Paul deleted the video on Monday after it caused a social media backlash.

“I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize,” Paul said in a YouTube video called “So Sorry.”

He said the shots of he and his friends laughing nervously after the discovery of the body were “raw and unfiltered” reactions and that the video should never have been posted or even filmed.

“I’ve made a huge mistake. I don’t expect to be forgiven… I’m ashamed of myself. I am disappointed,” he said.

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Paul earlier promoted it on his Twitter account at the weekend as “the craziest and most real video I’ve ever uploaded.”

Reaction was swift with critics calling the video disgusting and tasteless.

“Paul believes he’s ‘making YouTube history’ by vlogging the body of a young person who died by suicide… You’re not Neil Armstrong, bro, it’s simply a thing no one else has been tacky enough to do outside rotten. com circa 2000,” tweeted Caitlin Doughty, a Los Angeles mortician and author of From Here to Eternity.

Former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul said suicide was no joke. “You disgust me. I can’t believe that so many young people look up to you,” the actor tweeted to Paul, who he is not related to.

“Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.”

Additional reporting by Reuters