After making his fortune by posting an endless series of YouTube videos, Logan Paul has been virtually invisible over the past month. The viral video star went underground following the backlash he faced over a Dec. 31 post from Japan’s so-called “Suicide Forest,” which appeared to show a suicide victim. The shocking video was removed, Paul released several apologies and he was removed from YouTube’s preferred program and the video site’s show “Foursome.” But the negative press attention sent the typically effusive, highly visible 22 year-old vlogger into hiding. He re-emerged on Jan. 24 with a suicide prevention video and then sat for his first TV interview since the controversy on Thursday morning (Feb. 1) with Good Morning America‘s Michael Strahan.
“It’s been tough because ironically I’m being told to commit suicide myself,” said an emotional Paul. “Millions of people literally telling me they hate me, to go die in a fire. The most horrible, horrific things.” Asked if he thought the criticism was fair, Paul laughed and said, “that’s the thing, I do.”
The social media star with more than 16 million YouTube followers said the original idea for the video was to just make a fun vlog while camping in a forest, but then “things obviously changed pretty drastically and quickly” when his group came across a suicide victim 100 yards from the parking lot. “It doesn’t make any sense and I believe it happened for a reason and 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.”
Strahan wondered if at any point after filming, editing and posting the clip Logan thought it was not a good idea to share the video. “Yeah, the idea was to shock and show the harsh realities of suicide and get people talking about something I don’t think people are talking about much,” explained Paul. “And still that’s the goal today.”
The GMA host, who said his own 13 year-old twins are aware of Paul’s videos, wondered if Paul was conscious of the age of his audience and if that influenced what he posts. “It’s odd, because Michael I’m 22 years-old,” he said. “It’s not like I’m making content necessarily for kids. Sometimes I cuss, sometimes I make inappropriate jokes. I want to make jokes that kids my age will like. I’m my own demographic.” Now, however, Paul said he’s “much more” aware of the impact his work has on his viewers.
“I think parents should be monitoring what their children are watching more,” said Paul, who noted that he often asks parents with children under the age of 12 if they’re letting their kids watch his posts. “But at the same time. It’s not like I’m a bad guy. I’m a good guy who made a bad decision.” As for how the controversy has impacted his business, Paul said he understood that Google Preferred had to drop him from their service and take a stance on the matter. “And while I don’t necessarily agree with it,” he said. “I do respect it.”
Asked how the decision to cut his content off affected his bottom line, Paul said “it hurts, but it’s not like I’m drowning. It’s… I don’t… I try not to live my life thinking about money. Because money doesn’t make me happy. Creating and making other people happy makes me happy. Creating content to make people smile and laugh that’s what makes me happy.”
In the wake of the negative attention and criticism from fellow YouTubers, the media and a number of celebrities, Paul said the recent filming of his Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow suicide prevention video has allowed him to meet incredible people and have incredible conversations that have actually turned around his regrets about the painful experience. “I would have missed out on making these relationships and getting this education,” he said of the lessons he’s learned from what he called the “hardest” period of his life so far. “One of the things I’m learning which actually pertains to me as well is crisis passes. Crisis passes, man, and for anyone suffering it’s important to know that.”
Knowing that he’s hated by so many people in the world now has given Paul pause about what he chooses to share with the public. “I will think twice in the future about what I post, probably three times,” he said, adding that he believes not everyone deserves a second chance. But, realizing that his actions were an example of a “horrible lapse of judgment,” the viral video creator said he “can, will and am going to learn from it and be a better person.”
FULL INTERVIEW: YouTube star @LoganPaul speaks out, one-on-one with @MichaelStrahan. “I am a good guy who made a bad decision…I will think twice in the future about what I post.” pic.twitter.com/5ju8WPA4HV
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 1, 2018