Logan Paul’s YouTube channel has been a ghost town since the 22-year-old vlogger was harangued around the world for posting a video from Japan’s “suicide forest” that showed a dead body hanging from a tree at the beginning of January. Paul deleted the video, posted a new video apologizing, and then announced that he would be taking an unspecified time away from the platform to reflect. That time is over. Today, he returned to YouTube with his first video post-scandal (and subsequent apology video). It is essentially a seven-minute suicide-prevention PSA.
The video opens with shots of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, while suicide statistics — “One person every 40 seconds takes their own life” — flash across the screen. Paul is shown speaking with Kevin Hines, a man who unsuccessfully attempted suicide by jumping off of the bridge in 2001 and now works as a mental-health advocate. He also speaks with several suicide-prevention authorities, including the director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “As a society, as human beings, we have to be more compassionate,” Paul says. “And that includes me, too.”
There are a lot of softly lit shots of Paul looking pensive, interacting with nature, washing his face, and petting a dog while piano music plays in the background. He walks viewers through five steps — step one is simply asking people if they are having suicidal thoughts — they can use to help people who might be considering suicide. Paul also says he’s “going to make an effort to contribute,” and is donating $1 million to suicide-prevention organizations. “For anyone watching, I want you to know you’re not alone,” Paul says, providing contact information for crisis hotlines.
The video is a marked turn for Paul, who was previously known for outrageous stunts and prank videos. Aside from some voice-overs — “I know I’ve made mistakes, I know I’ve let people down, but what happens when you’re given the opportunity to help make a difference in the world? — Paul doesn’t do a ton of talking. Instead, he sits and listens as the experts and Hines speak. It’s, frankly, not a half-bad service video. His tips are clear and simple, and it’s not hard to believe that this content could actually be helpful for Paul’s rabid, and mostly young, fan base. Now, it’s a question of whether those fans will still be loyally clicking Paul’s content, given his pivot from irreverent prankster — to put it nicely — to newly minted socially-conscious do-gooder out to make the world a better place.