In the past few months, YouTuber Logan Paul has been battling the Aokigahara forest controversy, in which he uploaded a pre-taped video “stumbling” upon a dead body, with about as much common sense and grace as a baby giraffe.
The events that took place in the video Paul posted were extremely inappropriate on its own.
In the Aokigahara video, Paul and his friends show the body of a man who recently hanged himself in what is known as Japan’s “suicide forest” for its unusually high number of suicides, and Paul repeatedly makes jokes about the situation.
The video racked up more than six million views and received more than 600,000 likes before it was taken off the site.
While one can easily blame his carelessness on stupidity and brush the issue to the side, one thing that should be considered is the impact he has as others.
Even now, Paul has millions of subscribers, many of them young.
The problem isn’t just what he did, but also his response to the intense social backlash he received.
Paul initially responded by removing the video and then posting a screenshot of his apology on Twitter — an apology he typed out in his notes on his iPhone.
Paul’s first mistake was using this controversy as a platform to get more publicity by closing the letter with his hashtag, #Logang4Life, and then continued to defend himself by stating he did not do it for the views, but rather “to raise awareness for suicide.”
He then made an apology video that he posted on YouTube and shared on Twitter.
Despite posting the video, YouTube kicked Paul off the site. However, after that he continued on his “apology tour” by appearing on “Good Morning America,” which actually helped him gain more followers on social media.
While Paul may feel remorse now, it’s probably only because of the social backlash and the consequences that came with it.
The problem with this controversy is that the apology should have just stopped at that.
Turning the backlash into a publicity stunt continued the joke and invalidated his apology completely.
If he had accepted his mistake and delivered the YouTube apology originally, the world might have taken it seriously but, with his increasing number of followers and his repeated defense, it has completely lost its merit.
The apology was inadequate because of its overwhelming amount of unnecessary content. In most cases, less is more. However, Paul seemed to miss that point completely.
For me and a lot of other viewers the apology felt narcissistic, shallow and not genuine, which took away from whatever honesty and sensitivity he may have been attempting to display.
People do make mistakes, and granted, social media does display them in the worst way, but,it is how we respond that shows our true intentions.