Logan Paul has returned to YouTube after a three-week hiatus from social media following outrage after he filmed the body of a suicide victim for his vlog.
The famed YouTube star with over 26 million followers on social media uploaded a somber, seven-minute video on Wednesday afternoon titled Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow.
In it, he interviews Kevin Hines, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempted suicide, and speaks with the founder of Alo House Recovery rehab center as well as the director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Paul also pledged to donate $1 million to various suicide prevention organizations "with the first $250,000 going immediately to the national suicide prevention lifeline so that they can increase their capacity to help those in need," he said.
The video was a departure from his normal daily vlogs, which consist mainly of stunts, pranks, and various adventures.
In his comeback video, corny piano music plays softly in the background as Paul strolls through what appears to be a Japanese garden.
There are several shots of him walking through the grass pensively, turning pebbles over in his hand, and at one point helping a tiny dog cross a river.
"Kevin Hines is one of the many incredible people who I have met over the past three weeks as I aim to further understand the complexities surrounding suicide," Paul said. "I know I've made mistakes, I know I've let people down. But what happens when you're given an opportunity to help make a difference in the world."
"It's time to learn from the past and get as I get better and grow as a human being. I'm here to have a hard conversation so that those who are suffering can have easier ones," he continued.
Paul said that he knows he won't single handedly solve the problem of suicide, but that he wants "to be a part of the solution."
"I think as a society and as human beings, we just have to be more compassionate. And that includes me too," he said.
In the video he also lists five steps that anyone can take to prevent suicide, including reaching out for help.
"For those who are watching I want you to know you are not alone, and most of the time crisis passes. So if you or anyone you know feels alone or trapped I encourage anyone to call or text the suicide or crisis hotline. Both of those numbers are below," he said.
His fans, many of whom never abandoned him after his offensive behavior, were quick to congratulate him on his "lessons learned."
"I just watched @LoganPaul's new video. As someone who has personally attempted suicide on 5 different occasions, this video speaks to me," one fan said.
"I'm 23, not even a Logan Paul fan, but liked his video and he certainly redeemed himself with it," another person said on Twitter.
Fellow YouTube star and former Viner Curtis Lepore also congratulated Paul on Twitter saying, "Proud of you for this."
"We all make mistakes, that includes myself, my father. Everyone. It's how you learn from those mistakes and grow from what you learned that we truly get to see what kind of a person you really are," Michael Green, another YouTuber with over 2 million followers on the platform, tweeted. "I see the growth and I see you really trying. Welcome back <3,"
Other YouTubers were more skeptical.
"@LoganPaul has a long way to go and people are right to continue to question his motives but today's video was a thoughtful first step," vlogger Casey Neistat said on Twitter. "Hopefully this is part of a true effort to move on from sensationalist content."
"First off thank you for your video on suicide awareness. Trust, we are grateful you used your platform to teach your audience about an important issue, but let's take a step back here, and look behind the PR team that made this," said YouTuber and Feast Of Fiction host Jimmy Wong.
"After you posted a vlog to 6 million views using a suicide victim's body and image as clickbait, we started diving into your past videos/tweets to see the number of ways you have continually treated and used other people as props and accessories for your success/attention," he continued.
"The MAIN issue, obviously, was not just this single case of your gross usage of a suicide victim, but rather that you have a behavioral and mental problem to do this sort of thing non stop. It's been continually happening for your entire career and we finally slowly realized it."
Paul's return to YouTube has been a topic of hot debate within the YouTube community.
On January 2nd Paul posted a vlog where he tearily admitted he should have never posted the video in the first place and that if he could do it all over again he would have put down his camera. "There were a lot of things I should have done differently, but I didn't," he said. "And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry."
On January 16th Paul told a reporter from TMZ that he believes he deserves a second chance.
Earlier this week, a leaked screenshot of a white board from an apparent planning session listed Wednesday as the date Paul would return to the internet along with the name "Ellen" which some fans took to mean he would appear on the Ellen show. An Ellen rep denied they had any plans to book the social media star, according to BuzzFeed.
His younger brother, social media star Jake Paul, spoke out on the controversy on Tuesday in a vlog where he said that what his brother had done was "very wrong" but that he believes Logan has learned a lesson from the experience.
YouTube scaled back its business relationship with Paul in response to the controversy.
The platform removed him from its Google Preferred advertising program, slashing the revenue he's able to generate from ads on his channel.
The platform also placed the star's YouTube Red projects on hold and said it was exploring "further consequences."
YouTube also rolled out sweeping changes to its partner program last week, which several smaller YouTubers felt were sparked by Paul's. behavior.' The platform pledged that content on all its top channels would now be manually reviewed by humans in an effort to remove problematic content on the platform preemptively before it spreads.
But though Logan Paul's actions were inexcusable, his video featuring a dead body was only a degree more offensive than plenty of other content on his channel.
In the never ending quest for views and engagement on YouTube, vloggers have slowly been upping the ante and attempting to out shock their viewers and each other for years. Paul's "suicide forest" video was simply the culmination of this toxic culture.
Though Paul may currently be in the midst of a redemption campaign, it's likely that his videos will eventually devolve into the type of drama-filled lifecasts that the YouTube algorithm still favors.
As Julia Alexander at Polygon notes, Paul's video today was simply a crucial first step to getting his vlogging career back on track.
"In the weeks that follow, Logan will be more reserved as he gets back to building up the channel that won him more than 15 million subscribers," Alexander predicts "But as the months go on and other YouTubers become the topic of conversation, Logan will return to the jokester that he was before everything came to a sudden halt."