STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Who is Logan Paul? Embattled YouTube star wants to be the next big thing

The name Logan Paul rocketed atop Twitter's trending topics Tuesday morning after the YouTube star apologized for pos...

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 7:52 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 7:52 PM

The name Logan Paul rocketed atop Twitter's trending topics Tuesday morning after the YouTube star apologized for posting a video that appeared to show a body hanging from a tree in a Japanese forest infamous for suicides.

Paul's hardly a household name, but he's one of YouTube's most popular vloggers, with more than 15 million subscribers to his channel. And his many videos have racked up tens of millions of views.

Paul, 22, got his start doing Vine videos

He's appeared on "Law & Order: SVU" and a YouTube original movie

The 22-year-old from Westlake, Ohio, originally wanted to be an engineer, but dropped out of college to pursue entertainment full time. He got his start on Vine, Twitter's now-defunct six-second video platform that was shut down in late 2016.

His most-watched Vine featured him appearing to dash into Los Angeles traffic to retrieve a cat from danger. It's been "looped" over 50 million times.

Since Vine's demise he's mostly put his comedy videos on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms. He's managed to leverage his online popularity into a budding acting career, with an appearance on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2015, according to his profile on IMDB. He's also had a starring role in the YouTube Red original movie "The Thinning," and appeared in "The Space Between Us" and the upcoming "Airplane Mode," which features a plane full of social media stars.

But his goals appear bigger. Paul says he wants to go from being a social media darling to a mainstream star.

"I want to be the biggest entertainer in the world," he told Business Insider in 2015. "That's my deal. I'll do whatever it takes to get that. As many hours as is needed."

The video

The negative backlash to his latest video will most certainly hurt his brand.

On Monday, Paul apologized for the controversial video: "I didn't do it for views. 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," according to his statement posted on Twitter.

Paul removed the original video from YouTube, but it remains available online elsewhere. In it, Paul and his group come upon a body hanging in Japan's Aokigahara forest, also known as the "suicide forest." They call out to him and Paul asks someone to call the police twice.

After he sees the body, Paul says: "This is a first for me. This literally probably just happened."

The person's face is blurred in the video.

Someone off camera says: "I don't feel good."

Paul replies: "What, you never stand next to a dead guy?"

The person says, "No."

Paul bursts into laughter. "It was gonna be a joke. This was all a joke. Why did it become so real?" he asks.

"Depression and mental illnesses is not a joke," he says. "We came here with the intent to focus on the haunted aspect of the forest. This just became very real."

Paul and his friends gather at the parking lot. And he says to the camera that "the smiling and laughing ... is not a portrayal of how I feel about the circumstances. Everyone copes with s*** differently... I cope with things with humor."

'I promise to be better'

Paul said that he was not monetizing the video for "obvious reasons" and gave a graphic video warning.

But that didn't stop an online outcry by many who slammed him for appearing to joke about someone's suicide.

"You disgust me. I can't believe that so many young people look up to you," "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul said Monday on Twitter. "Hopefully this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke."

On Tuesday Paul appeared chastened by the backlash and said he was "ashamed of myself" in a video he posted to his channel.

"I should have never posted the video. I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording ... there are a lot of things I should have done differently," he said. "I want to apologize to the internet. I want to apologize to anyone who's seen the video. I want to apologize to anyone who's been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide. But most importantly, I want to apologize to the victim and his family.

"I'm disappointed in myself and I promise to be better."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
Copiah2854
Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
Yazoo2233
Pearl River20731
Pike20211
Adams19015
Lowndes1828
Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
Oktibbeha15010
Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
Yalobusha855
Wilkinson859
Itawamba857
Grenada823
Montgomery811
Sunflower783
Union785
Marshall763
Jefferson Davis752
Tippah7111
Tate691
Panola643
Claiborne642
Calhoun614
Webster591
Amite561
Humphreys537
Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
Prentiss413
Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 79°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather