Suicide victim video by YouTube star sparks anger

TOKYO: Japanese social media reacted with a storm of outrage to a video by YouTube star Logan Paul showing a suicide victim in a forest near Mount Fuji, as anger spread over the now-deleted video today.

Angry comments flooded Twitter after Paul, who gained notoriety on social media and has a popular vlog, apologised for the footage, which was reportedly viewed six million times.

The video shows the 23-year-old discovering a body in Aokigahara, a dense woodland at the foot of Mount Fuji known as "the Japanese Suicide Forest", in a country that has long struggled with some of the highest suicide rates in the developed world.

As news of the video and apology was reported in Japan, social media erupted with indignation over the film, which showed a man who had hanged himself.

"It is insane to show to the world the body of someone who died after being depressed. Shame on you," said one Twitter user @j_rivoluzione.

Others objected to Paul's appearance in a novelty hat, while outtakes showing the US internet celebrity laughing and joking about the incident also stirred anger.

"It's good to raise awareness but you can do it without filming a person who committed suicide," @spiffymiffy1 said.

"It looks like he did it for self-satisfaction. Suicide and depression are serious issues. There's nothing funny about them."

Others said Paul's actions were irresponsible, with teenagers and tweens making up his subscriber base of 15 million.

In his apology, Paul said he had posted the video in a mistaken effort to draw attention to the problem of depression and suicide.

"It's easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications," he said in his statement.

"I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity," he said, in comments that sparked derision.

American Japanese actress Anna Akana was among many to hit out at Paul.

"When my brother found my sister's body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her," she tweeted.

"You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness." – AFP