Anna Akana is calling out Logan Paul following the outrage over a video he posted to YouTube on Monday night showing the body of a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, also known as the “suicide forest”.
In an open letter to Paul posted on Twitter on Jan. 1, Akana, 28, revealed that her brother felt “horror & confusion & grief” when he tried to save their younger sister’s lifeless body.
When my brother found my sister’s body, he screamed with horror & confusion & grief & tried to save her. That body was a person someone loved.
You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.
— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) January 2, 2018
Kristina Akana, who was bullied at school, was 13 when she passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2007.
“I was so low. And I couldn’t see a way out if it,” Anna told People magazine in a 2016 interview, explaining that she sank into a deep depression during her last year of high school.
But months after her sister’s death, the YouTube star turned to comedy to help her cope with the loss of her sister and watching Margaret Cho perform on a Comedy Central special.
“It allowed me to escape for a moment, forget about everything and laugh. And I wanted to do that for someone else,” Akana said. “I want to make people laugh when they feel like they can’t.”
After quitting college during her first semester, Akana took her passion for making people laugh and is now entertaining more than 1.9 million subscribers on YouTube.
The 28-year-old uploaded a video in 2013 titled “please don’t kill yourself”, where she describes what it’s like to lose someone so close to her by suicide.
That same year, Akana also released a old journal entries from 2007-2009 where she chronicles the aftermath of Kristina’s death.
“I thought maybe this would help some people feel not so alone, since that’s what I remember most from those years,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
The entries are free download via PDF, but it is also purchasable and all proceeds will go towards youth suicide prevention.
Akana’s collection of essays, titled “So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister”, available now, is dedicated to Kristina.
If you or anyone you know is suffering with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.