YouTube says American video blogger Logan Paul’s channel violated its community guidelines and that the site is looking into “further consequences” for Paul’s video last week that a body hanging from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest.
The video, which was filmed in a known suicide spot near Mount Fuji, was viewed some six million times before being removed from Paul’s YouTube channel, a verified account with more than 15 million subscribers.
YouTube’s latest statement on the video was issued in a series of five tweets on Twitter:
Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be. You deserve to know what’s going on.
Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week. Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views.
As Anna Akana put it perfectly: “That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.”
We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences.
It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.
Paul ‘taking time to reflect’
Paul announced earlier that he was stepping away from posting videos following the outcry over his “suicide forest” video.
He also took to Twitter last Wednesday to say he was suspending his video blog “for now” and “taking time to reflect.”
taking time to reflect
no vlog for now
see you soon
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 4, 2018
A petition on Change.org that demands his YouTube channel be deleted had been signed by more than 125,000 people by Thursday morning.
A storm of criticism followed despite two apologies, with commenters saying Paul seemed disrespectful and that his initial apology was inadequate.
‘Graphic’ content on YouTube limited
YouTube said earlier that while it may allow some graphic content if it is posted in an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic manner or limited to users who are 18 or older, Paul was issued a so-called “strike,” or told in an email that he had violated the site’s guidelines.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner,” YouTube said in a statement.
“If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated.”
In Paul’s initial apology, he said he had wanted to raise awareness about suicide and possibly save lives, and he denied his goal was to drive clicks to his social media content.
“I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity,” he said in his Twitter post.
“I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize,” he said on the more sombre video apology uploaded on YouTube and Twitter late Tuesday.
“None of us knew how to react or how to feel.”