YouTube star Logan Paul has apologized for posting an online video that seemingly showed the aftermath of a person’s suicide.
The controversial clip showed a body hanging from a tree in Aokigahara, Japan, in an apparent suicide before it was removed.
“I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before,” he said in a statement on Twitter Monday.
“I didn’t do it for the views,” Paul continued. “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.”
New York Magazine on Monday reported that Aokigahara is home to Japan’s so-called “suicide forest,” a site notorious for the hundreds of suicides that have happened there.
Paul on Saturday posted a 15-minute-long video documenting his visit to the landmark that ultimately took a morbid turn.
“This is not clickbait,” he said in the video’s intro. “This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel.”
“I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever.”
Paul and his entourage then encounter what appeared to be a body hanging from a tree, leading him to address suicide during the remainder of the footage.
“His hands are purple,” he said of the body. “He did this this morning. Suicide is not a joke. Depression and mental illness are not a joke.”
“This obviously just became very real, and obviously a lotta people are going through a lotta sh-t in their lives.”
Paul removed the video Monday after swift backlash online, but it hit 6.3 million views within 24 hours of his posting it.
The viral sensation is known for performing challenges and traveling the world in his online clips, and his YouTube page has 15,270,187 subscribers as of Tuesday.