Paul took to Twitter on Wednesday to say he was suspending his video blog “for now” and “taking time to reflect.”
A petition on Change.org that demands his YouTube channel be deleted had been signed by more than 125,000 people by Thursday mo0rning.
Paul created a furor when he posted a video of him in a forest near Mount Fuji showing what seemed to be a body hanging from a tree. YouTube said the controversial images violated their policies.
The video was viewed some 6 million times before being removed from Paul’s YouTube channel, a verified account with more than 15 million subscribers.
A storm of criticism followed despite two apologies, with commenters saying Paul seemed disrespectful and that his initial apology was inadequate.
YouTube said that while it may allow some graphic content if it is posted in an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic manner or limited to users who are 18 or older, Paul was issued a so-called “strike,” or told in an email that he had violated the site’s guidelines.
“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,” YouTube said in a statement. “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.”
In Paul’s initial apology, he said he had wanted to raise awareness about suicide and possibly save lives, and he denied his goal was to drive clicks to his social media content.
“I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity,” he said in his Twitter post.
“I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologize,” he said on the more somber video apology uploaded on YouTube and Twitter late Tuesday. “None of us knew how to react or how to feel.” -AP