22-year-old YouTube celebrity Logan Paul was met with swift outrage after sharing a video in which he and some companions discover a corpse in the Japanese “suicide forest” and laugh at it. Even after tweeting out a statement of apology and followup video, YouTube pulled him from their official partner channels, put an end to his monetized videos and halted production on his upcoming branded projects.
The vlogger briefly disappeared, but resurfaced on Jan. 24 with a poorly received suicide prevention video and sat down with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan for his first TV interview since the controversy on Feb. 1.
“It’s been tough because ironically I’m being told to commit suicide myself,” a serious-sounding Paul told Strahan. “Millions of people literally telling me they hate me, to go die in a fire. The most horrible, horrific things.” When asked by Strahan if he thought the criticism was fair, Paul snickered and replied, “that’s the thing, I do.”
Paul then said that he thinks parents should pay more attention to what their kids are watching.
“I’m going to be honest with you, Michael,” Paul told the host. “I think parents should be monitoring what their children are watching more. Every parent I meet whose kids are under the age of 12, I go, ‘Hey, you let your kids watch my stuff?’ And they go, ‘Yeah. What am I going to do?’ But at the same time, it’s not like I am a bad guy. I am a good guy who made a bad decision.”
Paul then shared a pretty interesting theory. “[The body] was a hundred yards away from the parking lot. It doesn’t make any sense and I believe it happened for a reason,” Paul said. “And I think that reason is so I could take this experience and learn from it, spread the message the right way about suicide prevention and suicide prevention awareness.”
When Strahan decided to address the fact that YouTube’s had removed Paul’s channel from the Google Preferred premium advertising program, a visibly disappointed Paul closed his eyes. “I understand that they needed to take a stance. And while I don’t necessarily maybe agree with it, I do respect it … It hurts, but it’s not like I’m drowning,” he said.
“One of the things I’m learning, which actually pertains to me as well, is crisis passes. Crises passes, man,” he continued. “For anyone suffering, I think it’s important to know that. Like, you are not alone. For me, why I say that it’s important for me, is cause, like, dude. This has been, to be honest with you, the hardest time of my life. I’ve never been hated by the whole world. It’s been something to definitely overcome. I will think twice in the future about what I post. Probably three times.”
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.