CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses suicide.

YouTube has issued a response to the controversy surrounding vlogger Logan Paul’s now-deleted video appearing to show the body of a suicide victim, saying the platform “prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner.”

In a statement provided to Phillip DeFranco – another massive YouTuber who has long been seen as a source of news on the site – YouTube also said it removes graphic content that isn’t accompanied with appropriate context.

Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated. We partner with safety groups such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center.

In the video, Paul could be seen entering Japan’s Aokigahara forest, a region known for its high incidence of suicide attempts. Paul and his companions appeared to find a body, and proceeded to film it – and their reactions to it.

While the video included links to mental health resources and didn’t feature advertisements, the video was criticised as being incredibly callous and disrespectful.

Paul removed the video from the channel himself following a community backlash, negating the need for YouTube to directly act on his vlog. However, DeFranco and other high-profile YouTubers have criticised the platform’s response as a “non answer.”

Others have called on YouTube to take more direct action against Paul, who is a massive drawcard for the site boasting north of 15 million followers.

Ross O’Donovan of the popular channel GameGrumps said YouTube shouldn’t “cherry pick who the rules apply to.” He also put his support behind the #GiveLoganAStrike campaign, referring to channel ‘strikes’ which limits functionality and the ability to monetise videos for a set amount of time.

Paul himself has issued a second response to the backlash, taking to Twitter to post a short video message.

“I want to apologise to the internet, I want to apologise to anyone who has seen the video, I want to apologise who has been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide,” Paul said.

“But most importantly I want to apologise to the victim and his family.

“For my fans who are defending my actions: please don’t. They do not deserve to be defended.”

The 22-year-old closed his message by saying “I’m just here to apologise. I’m ashamed of myself. I’m disappointed in myself. I promise to be better. I will be better.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with mental illness, there are resources you can turn to including BeyondBlue (1300 22 4636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) and Lifeline (13 11 14).

Source: Polygon
Image: Allen Berezovsky / Getty