YouTube star Logan Paul apologized Tuesday after posting a video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim he discovered while on a recent trip to Japan.
The film, shot in the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji, showed Paul’s group stumbling across the body of a man hanged from a tree. It was uploaded to the video-sharing site Sunday and was watched millions of times before it was removed.
The 22-year-old YouTuber, who boasts 15 million subscribers and is popular with tweens, apologized for being "misguided by shock and awe."
The film shows the group distressed but also laughing at the scene after they came across the corpse in the notorious suicide hotspot.
The face of the victim, who has yet to be identified, is blurred out on several close-ups.
After a member of the group says he "doesn't feel good," Paul quips: "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?" before laughing.
The 15-minute film sparked a wave of online criticism for the Ohio-born vlogger.
Responding to the criticism, Paul claims he posted the video to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. "I'm surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I'm still a human being. I can be wrong," he wrote.
The video was not monetized on YouTube, he said. Logan is the older brother of Jake Paul, also a YouTube star with a big following.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-273-8255.