YouTube star Logan Paul on suicide video backlash: ‘I believe it happened for a reason’
ABC News(NEW YORK) — YouTube star Logan Paul said he believes the backlash he has received over a video he posted last year “happened for a reason” and has vowed to turn the experience into a new personal mission.
“Good Morning America” anchor Michael Strahan spoke to Paul exclusively, and he opened up about the knocks he’s taken online and to his wallet after posting a Dec. 31 vlog, which appeared to show a lifeless, hanging body in Japan’s so-called suicide forest.
“I think that reason is so I could take this experience, learn from it, spread the message the right way about suicide prevention and suicide prevention awareness,” he said in the “GMA” interview.
In the clip Paul posted, the audience appears to see the body of an apparent suicide victim hanging from a tree.
Paul, 22, has repeatedly accepted the blame for the video in question. “It’s not like I’m a bad guy. I am a good guy who made a bad decision,” he said.
“It’s been tough, cause ironically I’m being told to commit suicide myself,” he revealed. “Millions of people literally telling me they hate me, to go die in a fire. Like, the most horrible, horrific things.”
Paul said he deserves the criticism and the blame for what he did.
“This has been, to be honest with you, the hardest time in my life,” he said. “I think I’m going to earn a second chance. I don’t think everyone should get a second chance. Some people do horrible things … this was a horrible lapse of judgment. And I can, will and am going to learn from it and be a better person.”
After a self-imposed hiatus, Paul returned to YouTube last week with a heartfelt video that focused on suicide prevention, including an interview he conducted with a man who had attempted suicide.
“I’ve gotten to meet the most incredible people and have the most incredible conversations,” Paul said on “GMA.” “And, in fact, that’s one thing I don’t regret about this whole experience is I would’ve missed out on making these relationships and getting this education.”
In that new vlog, Paul explains how he had spent the past three weeks meeting with those who have struggled with depression and trying “to understand the complexities of suicide.”
“I know I’ve made mistakes, I know I’ve let people down,” Paul said. “But what happens when you’re given an opportunity to help make a difference in the world.”
Paul said he’s “trying to grow as a human being” and has pledged $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations.
YouTube removed Paul from Google Preferred, a premier ad service that offers brand advertisers access to top channel producers, after the backlash.
The company also said Paul would not be featured on Season 4 of the original YouTube series “Foursome” and added that “his new Originals are on hold.”
These actions came after YouTube previously released a statement on its Twitter page indicating Paul would be penalized for sharing the inappropriate video with his 15 million subscribers. “The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences,” the statement reads.
On “GMA,” Paul said he understands what Google did and “while I don’t necessarily maybe agree with it, I do respect it. I do respect it.”
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