Logan Paul Doesn't Know Anything about Mental Illness
January 4th, 2018
Logan Paul is an internet personality whose channel showcases nothing less than his egotistical personality. Feelings of him aside, Paul’s videos and success rely on his privilege and revolve around his sense of superiority towards those around him. In preparation for writing this article my best friend and I viewed the 10 minute and 29 second long video entitled “LOGAN PAUL - WHY 2017 WAS THE BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE.” It was an incredibly meticulously edited video in which Paul goes through all of his major accomplishments of the year. The two of us agreed that although the video seems entertaining and like a joke to someone not familiar with his channel, Paul feels very differently, taking himself and what he does very seriously. He ends the video by saying, “And it’s so crazy because the scary part is…the part that most people don’t understand is that… I’m just getting warmed up.” Knowing this about his videos and personality makes Paul’s most recent atrocity perhaps less shocking, but it remains an atrocity nonetheless.
On New Year’s Eve, just this past Sunday, Paul uploaded a video called “We Found a Dead Body” (which has since been removed from his YouTube channel). In the video, Paul and his “Logang” visit the “Suicide Forest” in Japan for New Year’s Eve, a secluded forest known for the number of suicides there per year. The idea: spend a night messing around in a place where people go to kill themselves — a bad, distasteful, offensive one in the first place. In the video, as they enter the forest in a playful, light hearted manner, they quickly stumble upon something hanging from the tree, a fact which Paul uneasily states in his video. He then shows the limp, dead body to the camera and he and his friends casually talk and joke about it. Here, Paul demonstrates his lack of consideration and empathy towards those who may be affected by the graphic images; this spot in the video is where many were offended and shocked by the content on their screens.
The incident and the way people have responded to it seems to mirror many other instances of the media mishandling serious topics that affect the public. An example would be the release of the TV show, 13 Reasons Why. Both Paul’s video and the show have graphic representations of suicide and death, and yet arguably fail to face the weight of the topic of mental health head-on. However, although 13 Reasons Why didn’t tackle the subjects of suicide and mental health the way many hoped it would, the series did not go as far is to poke fun at these issues, which Paul’s video does. Not only does this have the potential to make viewers feel uncomfortable and uneasy simply through the triggering image of a dead body, but also isolates those who are suicidal, have attempted suicide, or have lost someone due to suicide.
The general lack of empathy that this video seems to show for those struggling with mental illness is a greater problem in the media than just this video. That is a fact that cannot be disputed. An issue with Paul’s actions here specifically, outside of how simply offensive they are, lies in the demographic that Paul is appealing to and the amount of loyal viewership he has. His fanbase is undoubtedly a young demographic, some viewers even being small children. If fully grown adults are uncomfortable and scared by the video, then won’t it have the same (or greater) effects on a 7-year-old child? Paul has more than 15 million subscribers; posting such an upsetting video is unacceptable under any circumstances, and it is certainly unacceptable if that number of people are going to be watching it.
Paul posted an apology video to his channel with the title “So sorry.”, a statement that in and of itself is subpar and could be seen as sarcastic or apathetic. He starts the video by saying, “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.” Generally, in any apology, this statement might seem sincere, but Paul clearly does not fully understand the weight of his actions. He had to plan this trip, decide to go into the Suicide Forest, vlog while he was there, make those comments and act the way he did, and edit and post the video, all of which he did. Specifically the fact that he watched the video over and over again through the editing process but chose to not take that clip out is further infuriating. The amount of effort and time that went into planning the video is simply too great for this apology to be accepted.
The clickbait title seems to say it all. The entire video was centered around getting views and profits based on a tragedy. This wasn’t a lapse of judgement, Logan Paul simply didn’t care enough.