NEW YORK -has stepped away from posting videos amid the backlash over one of his videos which showed the body of someone who apparently killed themselves in a Japanese forest. The social media star apologized twice and took down the video, but the uproar hasn't abated. In his latest mea culpa, Paul said he should have put his camera down after finding the body.
Paul posted the controversial video Dec. 31 on his YouTube channel, which has more than 15 million subscribers, and took it down the next day. The 22-year-old is one of the most popular content creators on YouTube.
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 demanding that his YouTube channel be deleted had been signed by more than 125,000 people as of Thursday morning.
YouTube said the disturbing images violated their policies, telling "CBS This Morning" their hearts go out to the family of the man who appeared in Paul's video, reports CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers. The company's guidelines prohibit gory content posted in a shocking or disrespectful manner, but YouTube didn't take the shocking footage down; Paul did it himself.
The video was viewed some 6 million times before being removed from Paul's YouTube channel.
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.
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."
Paul is the fifth highest-paid YouTube star and makes $12.5 million according to Forbes magazine. His social media accounts reach more than 50 million people. More than half of his Instagram followers are age 25 or younger.