YouTube Star Logan Paul Under Fire for Posting Heinous Video of a Suicide Victim’s Dead Body | 22 Words

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States

Every year, nearly 45,000 Americans die of suicide. While middle-aged white men make up the vast majority of suicides with 7 out of 10 deaths, a large portion of these deaths is attributed to Generation Z, the population demographic born between 1995 and now.

Social psychologist Jean Twenge attributes this horrifying statistic to Generation Z's dependence on technology and social media. Gen Z is the first generation to have never grown up without the internet, and they are also the first generation with constant smartphone access.
This state of affairs has affected them – and not for the better. As Twenge explains in a report for The Atlantic:
Psychologically... they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones... There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.

One of the most prominent members of Generation Z is YouTube star Logan Paul. At age 22, the former Vine and current YouTube star has amassed $14.3 million a year from his varied pursuits, which include acting and a clothing line called Maverick.

Paul uploads a 15-minute comedy video every day and has had roles in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Thinning, a YouTube Red original movie, and The Space Between Us, as well as the upcoming movie, Airplane Mode, which features a plane full of social media stars.
"I want to be the biggest entertainer in the world," he once told Business Insider. "That's my deal. I'll do whatever it takes to get that. As many hours as is needed." Paul's dreams of superstardom are threatened after this week, however, when he took one of his pranks to such a distasteful, disgusting level, he got the entire internet up in arms.
On Sunday, Paul posted a video in Japan's Aokigahara Forest, a forest at the base of Mount Fuji known as the "suicide forest" for its popularity with people who want to end their lives. Aokigahara is so notorious, it was the subject of the film, The Forestabout an American woman who goes to Japan to find her missing sister.
Paul had been on a tour of Japan, where he had been criticized for mocking the country's culture during his daily 15-minute videos. "Literally this place is content gold," he said at the end of one of his first few videos there.
Paul had decided to visit Aokigahara and highlight its "haunted" aspect.  In fact, he wrote on Twitter the day before he posted the video of the forest – "tomorrow's vlog will be the craziest and most real video I've ever uploaded."
Paul and his cohorts were filming in the forest when they came upon a body hanging from the trees. Paul called to him and asked someone to call the police. Then, however, he began to make light of the situation.
"This is a first for me. This literally probably just happened," he said of the person, whose face is blurred in the video. Off camera, one of his cohorts says: "I don't feel good." "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?" Paul replies. "No," his friend replies. At this point, Paul bursts into laughter. Then, he says, "It was gonna be a joke. This was all a joke. Why did it become so real? Depression and mental illnesses is not a joke. We came here with the intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This just became very real."
When Paul and his friends gather at the parking lot later, he says into the camera – "the smiling and laughing ... is not a portrayal of how I feel about the circumstances. Everyone copes with s*** differently... I cope with things with humor." Paul further explained he wasn't monetizing the video for "obvious reasons," and added a warning about graphic content.
People on social media weren't buying his shtick, however. The backlash was immediate and intense, although the video had been watched millions of times. Online video personality Anna Akana lost her sister, Kristina, to suicide 10 years ago and she did not hold back.
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul was also quick to lambast Paul for his video, saying via Twitter, "I can't believe that so many young people look up to you...  Suicide is not a joke." Others also had more things to say.
Paul attempted to smooth things over with an apology, saying
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...I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought, 'if this video saves just ONE life, it'll be worth it,' I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video.
Of course, people weren't enthused by this either.
On Tuesday, Paul posted an apology to Youtube: I should have never posted the video. I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording ... there are a lot of things I should have done differently," he said. "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's been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide. But most importantly, I want to apologize to the victim and his family. I'm disappointed in myself and I promise to be better.