YouTube vlogger Logan Paul announced on Wednesday that he plans to step away from the platform that made him famous “to reflect” after publishing footage that showed an apparent suicide victim.
In a video uploaded on Sunday, Paul unexpectedly stumbles across a body inside the so-called Aokigahara “suicide forest” in Japan.
Despite a segment of the video apportioned to informing his audience of 15 million subscribers that suicide is “not a joke,” Paul and his friends could be seen laughing and making light of the situation at other points — a move that swiftly drew the ire of the internet.
“Taking time to reflect,” he wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. “No vlog for now,” promising to see viewers soon.
In a short mea culpa posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Paul apologized to his fans and urged them not to defend him for his actions.
“I should have never posted the video, I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through,” he said. “There were a lot of things I should have done differently, but I didn’t. And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.”
As Mic noted recently, Paul’s video is just the latest example of a troubling trope: that of Westerners traveling the world in search of other cultures to exploit for personal gain. But while Paul’s star might have taken a temporary hit, it remains to be seen if the damage is long-term, or if it’s something he can wait out.