After a three-week hiatus from YouTube following his controversial "Suicide Forest" video, Logan Paul returned to the social media platform with a video about suicide prevention.
In a seven-minute clip titled "Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow," the YouTuber reflects on what he learned from the backlash he received, meets with a suicide survivor and pledges to donate $1 million to prevention organizations.
Already a popular vlogger, Paul attracted national attention earlier this month for all the wrong reasons, after posting a 15-minute clip showing him and his friends walking through Aokigahara, a forest located at the base of Mount Fuji known to be a frequent site of suicides. The footage showed the group coming across the corpse of an unidentified man and included several close-ups of his body with only his face blurred out. One of the members of the group was heard saying he didn't "feel good," which elicited the following reply from Paul: "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?" Paul then proceeded to laugh.
"I know I've made mistakes, I know I've let people down. But what happens when you're given an opportunity to make a difference in the world?" said Paul in his new video. "It's time to learn from the past as I get better and grow as a human being. I'm here to have a hard conversation so those who are suffering can have easier ones."
"I think as a society, as human beings, we just have to be more compassionate and that includes me too," he added. "That's something I'm learning along this journey."
The clip also showed him speaking with Kevin Hines -- who at 19 jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived -- and the director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Dr. John Draper.
"I'm humbled and thankful to say this is just the beginning," he added in closing. Just a couple hours after posting, the video already has almost 500k views.
Most of the reaction so far has been largely positive for Paul, with his fans and others in the YouTube community praising him for the clip in both the comments and on Twitter:
We all make mistakes, that includes myself, my father. Everyone. It's how you learn from those mistakes and grow from what you learned that we truly get to see what kind of a person you really are. I see the growth and I see you really trying. Welcome back — Michael Green (@Lyricoldrap) January 24, 2018
Logan Paul using his platform for genuine good. Yeah it was always going to be the only intelligent way to return but he's actually genuinely added a lot of good to the world. Whether you like him or not, that video will save lives.
.@LoganPaul has a long way to go and people are right to continue to question his motives but today's video was a thoughtful first step. hopefully this is part of a true effort to move on from sensationalist content - https://t.co/VqU5q97jKi
just think what that million dollars is going to do, Logan's insensitivity has turned into a chance to genuinely save lives and regardless of what you think of his actions, this couldn't have been a better outcome.
I just watched @LoganPaul's new video. As someone who has personally attempted suicide on 5 different occasions, this video speaks to me. I've been there. I've had those thoughts. I have been at that point where if you let go, that's it. It's all over. This video hits home.
A great video @LoganPaul. As For all the people still criticising him - What else is he supposed to do? He's apologised and acknowledged his mistake, pledged £1m and paid for his mistakes losing his shows and ~50% cut off his adsense. Humans make mistakes, get over it.
I'm so glad Logan Paul hasn't just ignored this all and continued vlogging, what he did will never be okay or forgiven but what he's done now is using his power to help other people and I think that's the best he can do
A few were skeptical, however, including Feast of Fiction host Jimmy Wong:
Hey @LoganPaul, first off thank you for your video on suicide awareness. Trust, we are grateful you used your platform to teach your audience about an important issue, but let's take a step back here, and look behind the PR team that made this. - https://t.co/LUu2prOuSV (thread)
After you posted a vlog to 6 million views using a suicide victim's body and image as clickbait, we started diving into your past videos/tweets to see the number of ways you have continually treated and used other people as props and accessories for your success/attention.
The MAIN issue, obviously, was not just this single case of your gross usage of a suicide victim, but rather that you have a behavioral and mental problem to do this sort of thing non stop. It's been continually happening for your entire career and we finally slowly realized it.
So when I get alerted that you've posted a new video after taking a long break to "reflect", I'm hoping you address the fact that you, in your infinite privilege and power, have little understanding of the consequences of your actions, treat others like props, and need to change.
Instead, we get treated to a precisely formed and deliberately manipulative piece of content from your PR machine to show us you care. Hey Logan. You're not solving a real issue when you address the one thing you just happened to get caught about. You're just covering your ass.
TLDR - Logan Paul finally gave the world a unifying reason so we could all rally against him. His vlog also showed us a very messed up & privileged kid with far too much influence and little wisdom to go with it. Thus, his suicide awareness video is a BANDAID on a BROKEN BONE.
So I'm putting you on the spot @LoganPaul - if you are truly changing, then it should show in every video you make from here on out. It DOES NOT END with a well timed PR piece, where you wash your face and hands in slowmo, have a new haircut, and speak with a somber affectation.
"We need to be a society that comes together for every person in the community" - words from your video. Logan, as a creator, you have a responsibility to your community. They went after people who disagreed with you with racism, threats, and harassment. They follow YOU.
I pray and hope you realize that this video is only the first step in a very long journey in responsibility and maturity, and that this journey is one that you are very unfamiliar with. We're all watching and waiting to see what you do next. Please give us reason to believe. — Jammy (@jfwong) January 24, 2018
Here's a sampling of those who doubted Paul's motives or just weren't on board with the video:
Logan Paul says in his new video he's never known anyone who's been suicidal. Not surprising. As someone who's lived through such thoughts, Logan Paul is exactly the kind of person I would avoid completely: Someone who doesn't seem to understand empathy.https://t.co/cYpXRmxKid