The celebrity YouTuber Logan Paul has apologised after sparking outrage by posting a video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.
The 22-year-old American, who has 15 million subscribers on YouTube, was labelled “disrespectful” and “disgusting” after he joked with his friends about discovering the body in Aokigahara forest, a notorious suicide spot at the base of Mount Fuji.
The video, which Paul posted on Sunday, received millions of views before it was removed.
Paul and his friends, who are filming from various locations in Japan, reportedly came across the body moments after entering the forest. Their video showed the body of a man, whose identity is unknown, from several angles but blurs his face.
A member of the group is heard remarking that he “doesn’t feel good”. Paul replies: “What, you never stand next to a dead guy?” and then laughs.
The exchange, and the decision to upload images of the victim, prompted a wave of criticism online.
The Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul tweeted: “You disgust me. I can’t believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully, this latest video woke them up … Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.”
Fellow YouTube star Kandee Johnson said: “Dear @youtube, after the Logan Paul video where he shows a dead body of a suicide victim, uses that for the title, makes heartless jokes next to the body, there needs to b age restrictions for certain creators. How is this allowed on YT? His followers are children! Horrifying.”
Paul later apologised to his 3.9 million followers on Twitter: “Where do I begin … Let’s start with this – I’m sorry,” he said.
“This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before.”
He added: “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. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.”
But the initial statement was criticised by many, including the Game Of Thrones actor Sophie Turner, who tweeted: “You’re not raising awareness. You’re mocking. I can’t believe how self-praising your ‘apology’ is. You don’t deserve the success (views) you have. I pray to God you never have to experience anything like that man did.”
British Labour MP Melanie Onn, who had tweeted that she bought a Logan Paul hoodie as a Christmas present for her 10-year-old son, said the video was “dreadful”, adding: “I can’t believe he was able to put that up without any checks at all.”
Paul later issued a second statement of apology. “I want to apologise to anyone who has seen the video. I want to apologise to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness or depression or suicide, but most importantly I want to apologise to the victim and his family,” he said. “For my fans who are defending my actions, please don’t – they do not deserve to be defended.”
YouTube said Paul’s video violated its policies, but did not respond to calls to suspend him from the site.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video,” a YouTube spokeswoman said. “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.”
Aokigahara has gained worldwide notoriety as a suicide spot, with a record 105 bodies reportedly discovered there in 2003. Local police have stopped releasing the number of annual deaths in an attempt to reduce the area’s association with suicide.
The forest’s hiking trails are dotted with signs urging those with suicidal thoughts to consider their families and contact a suicide prevention group.
The number of Japanese who kill themselves has fallen in recent years, although the country still has the sixth highest suicide rate in the world.
The number of people who took their own lives dropped to 21,897 in 2016 – the lowest level in 22 years – according to government figures.
The number rose in the late 1990s and remained just above 30,000 for more than 10 years – a rate experts partly attributed to financial pressures caused by the collapse of the bubble economy in 1992 and the end of lifetime employment.
The lack of services for people with mental health problems, as well as debt and serious illness – particularly among elderly people – have also been cited as common causes of suicide in Japan.
The figure has remained below 30,000 a year since 2012.
In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Parents of Caliyah McNabb Found Guilty, Sentenced In 14-Day-Old Daughter’s Murder
The parents of a 14-day-old Georgia baby were found guilty on Tuesday in connection with the little girl’s death. Caliyah McNabb suffered horrific injuries after her father beat her in the head and hid her tiny body in the woods, around 900 feet from her home.
“She was a little angel,” District Attorney Layla Zon said during her closing arguments inside a Newton County courtroom Tuesday afternoon. “She was a gift to Cortney Bell and Christopher McNabb.”
Christopher McNabb, the baby’s father, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, and other related charges. Cortney Bell, the baby’s mother, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 15 years, on charges of second-degree murder, child deprivation, and child cruelty.
McNabb grew angry after the guilty verdict, which only took the jury around an hour to decide. Judge John Ott ordered him out of the courtroom. When he returned for sentencing, McNabb claimed he was innocent and planned to appeal.
“The whole thing was a set-up,” McNabb hissed, clearly upset with the verdict. “I was beat as a child and I don’t agree with this at all. I don’t agree with this at all. I would never do this.”
Ott asked McNabb what type of sentence he would give the person responsible for Caliyah’s death. McNabb replied that the guilty party should be thrown “under the jail.” With that, Ott sentenced McNabb to life without parole.
Bell shed tears during sentencing as she also claimed innocence. Ott told Bell that she allowed a “rattlesnake into her home” by putting McNabb before her children and allowing violence and drugs into her children’s lives.
“You chose meth and McNabb over a baby,” Ott said. “Like most criminals, you have a version of what a good mama is that is so far from the norm.”
Baby Caliyah’s Short Life
As CrimeOnline previously reported, in October 2017, the Newton County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Caliyah died from blunt force trauma to the head. The injuries were gruesome. The infant was beaten in so badly that her baby teeth, which had not yet developed, stuck out through her gums.
The baby also suffered a blow so severe to her head that her skull was “seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair.” McNabb caused the injuries, then in a panic, wrapped the baby in a blanket and one of his t-shirts, and put her into a Nike drawstring bag. He then took Caliyah into the woods behind his trailer home in Covington and buried her in a depressed area under a log.
It’s unclear exactly what caused the horrific beating, but according to testimony by Bell’s cousin, Gerald Weatherford, both Bell and McNabb smoked meth with him on October 7, 2017, the night before Caliyah disappeared.
“Cortney Bell was too busy smoking methamphetamine to protect her child,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone said.
During testimony last week, Bell’s cousin, Megan Sorrells, said Bell was being abused at home during the time Caliyah vanished. She also testified that McNabb and Bell were constantly fighting. Sorrells said Bell never told her about the abuse, but as a domestic abuse victim herself, she could already tell.
“She always had bruises on her,” Sorrells said of Bell. “I didn’t really have to ask many questions. I could tell.”
Court testimony also indicated that little Caliyah wasn’t around her parents much in the mere 14 days she was alive. After spending four days in the hospital after birth, McNabb and Bell passed the baby off to family members multiple times. Caliyah stayed several days with her grandfather, Tim Bell.
Tim testified that he returned the child home with milk and clean diapers in early October, and told his daughter, Bell, to clean up her filthy trailer home. The following day, Caliyah was dead.
Although Bell wasn’t accused of physically harming the baby, by allowing Caliyah to live in a dangerous environment while doing nothing to protect her, makes her culpable of murder. Ott explained to Bell that her second-degree murder charge meant that irrespective of malice, while she was in the commission of neglecting her baby, she helped caused her death.
Zon added that Caliyah’s best days were the days she stayed in the hospital after birth, and that the baby was “doomed” as soon as she was taken home.
“That child was doomed the moment they left that hospital. They took pure innocence and brought that child into a life of hell.”
(Reporting by CrimeOnline)
Actress Felicity Huffman Pleads Guilty In College Admissions Scheme
BOSTON (AP) — “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty to participating in the college admissions cheating scheme.
The 56-year-old actress entered the plea Monday to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Huffman stood with her hands clasped in front of her and responded, “Yes, your honor,” when asked whether she understood the charges. Her brother watched from the front row. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, didn’t attend.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 13. Prosecutors said they would recommend four months in prison.
She was arrested in March along with dozens of other prominent parents, athletic coaches and others implicated in the scandal. She was charged with paying $15,000 to have a proctor boost her older daughter’s SAT score.
She has apologized and says she will accept the consequences.
‘Anna Delvey,’ Fake Heiress Who Swindled N.Y.’s Elite, Is Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison
Anna Sorokin, who pretended to be a German heiress, bilked Manhattan hotels, banks and a private jet operator.
Anna Sorokin, the fake German heiress who swindled her way into Manhattan’s elite party circles, was sentenced on Thursday to four to 12 years in prison for bilking hotels, banks and a private jet operator out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The sentencing capped a case of a young grifter who spun her tale with brazen flair. Ms. Sorokin wore designer clothes, lived in boutique hotels, dined in expensive restaurants and lured investors for a $40 million private club — all without a penny to her name.
She has been held on Rikers Island since October 2017. Ms. Sorokin, 28, was convicted last month of most of the charges against her.
Her lawyer, Todd Spodek, said during that trial that Ms. Sorokin was simply an enterprising business-minded woman eager to make it in the big city.
But jurors agreed with prosecutors that her gilt-edged life was an elaborate ruse financed by lies.
In addition to the prison sentence, Ms. Sorokin was fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000.
“I apologize for the mistakes I made,” she said at the sentencing.
Ms. Sorokin stiffed hotels, persuaded a bank employee to give her a $100,000 line of credit, swayed a private jet company to let her fly on credit, and tried to secure a $25 million loan from a hedge fund. In all, she stole about $213,000 worth of money and services.
Still, the jury found her not guilty of the most serious offense — faking records in an attempt to obtain a $22 million loan. She was also acquitted of stealing from a friend who said Ms. Sorokin duped her into covering the cost of a $60,000 vacation to Morocco.
To many friends, there was every reason to believe that Ms. Sorokin was a wealthy German heiress named Anna Delvey with so much money that she frequently doled out $100 tips and flew on a private jet to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual investment conference.
But Kaegan Mays-Williams, a prosecutor, said during the trial that Ms. Sorokin’s only goal was to “put herself in the best position to take money” from the wealthy so that she could “live the fantasy of an extravagant lifestyle.”
Mr. Spodek said people believed what they wanted about Ms. Sorokin. She was enabled, he said, by a system “seduced by glamour and glitz.” She intended to pay back her creditors, he said.
“Through her sheer ingenuity, she created the life that she wanted for herself,” he said. “Anna was not content with being a spectator, but wanted to be a participant.”
(Reporting by New York Times)
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