As smartphones become glued to everyone's hands, there are people who actually make a living through social media sites like YouTube. With millions of followers, these "celebrities" film their everyday lives and profit off them.
Twenty-two-year-old Logan Paul is one of those YouTube celebrities, who currently has a net worth of over $14 million. In 2016, the young adult made $12.5 million and bought a house worth $6.6 million. Making his money mainly off of advertisers, Paul also has his own digital TV series, merchandise line, and is directing an upcoming movie called Airplane Mode.
"To be honest, I'm worth three times the amount I'm getting paid," Paul said in 2016. "I think anyone on the Internet with eyeballs at this time and place is a bargain because it's so new "” no one really knows what they're worth."
But now, thanks to his own video, Paul is losing advertisers and sponsors quicker than he can keep up. After a trip to Japan, Paul and his team released a video which quickly caused controversy.
Paul filmed himself in the Aokigahara forest, which is also known as the "suicide forest," where people often go to end their lives. He and his buddies are walking through the forest, when they come across a dead body hanging from the tree. Instead of stopping the footage, Paul and his friends continue to film, and even crack jokes about the body.
"This is a first for me. This literally probably just happened," Paul says of the body.
Someone off camera says: "I don't feel good."
Paul replies: "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?"
The person says, "No."
Paul bursts into laughter. "It was gonna be a joke. This was all a joke. Why did it become so real?" he asks. "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."
Almost immediately after his video was released on YouTube, Paul was hit with intense criticism. The video was removed, but not before millions of people saw it. Within a day, Paul was trending around the world, but not in the way he had hoped.
"The young person who died was not for Paul- not their body, not their image, not their story," tweeted Caitlin Doughty, a mortician and author.
Dear @LoganPaul,— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) January 2, 2018
How dare you! You disgust me. I can't believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.
Paul went on to apologize for the video, although some accused him of being a little too self-serving.
"Where do I begin...
Let's start with this-
This is a first for me. I've never faced criticism like this before, because I've never made a mistake like this before. I'm surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I'm still a human being. I can be wrong.
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. I still am.
I do this sh*t everyday. I've made a 15 minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days. One may understand it's easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications.
I'm often reminded of how big of a reach I truly have & with great power comes great responsibility...for the first time in my life I'm regretful to say I handled that power incorrectly. It won't happen again.
I love everyone. I believe in people. I'm out here. Peace âœŒ. #Logang4Life"
His apology didn't go over well, with people accusing Paul of claiming to want to raise awareness for suicide prevention as a way to cover his wrong-doings.
@LoganPaul You're an idiot. You're not raising awareness. You're mocking. I can't believe how self-praising your "apology" is. You don't deserve the success (views) you have. I pray to God you never have to experience anything like that man did.— Sophie Turner (@SophieT) January 2, 2018
The worst part is Logan Paul's cult fan base is little children. Who just watched their idol laugh and joke as someone ended their life. Garbage person.— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) January 2, 2018
Dear @LoganPaul,— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) January 2, 2018
When my brother found my sister's body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved.
You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.
honestly the only thing Logan Paul "raised awareness" of is how big of an insensitive, immature idiot he is— kurtis conner (@kurtisconner) January 2, 2018
What do you think of Logan Paul's apology?