It's been 10 months since Logan Paul turned his own world upside down.
In January, the 23-year-old vlogger uploaded a YouTube video from Japan's Aokigahara forest, which showed a stranger's lifeless body after an apparent suicide. In hindsight, Paul explains in The Hollywood Reporter's Oct. 31 issue, "My first feeling was just dis-f--king-belief. I should have felt empathy. I should have been like, 'Hey, this is wrong. Let's not do what we're doing.'" Instead, Paul ignored one of his friends who told him to stop filming and shared it with his millions of followers. Today, Paul insists he meant no disrespect to Japanese culture. "I was disrespectful everywhere: U.S., Italy, France," he says. "The old Logan was plain old insensitive."
Paul's girlfriend at the time, actress Chloe Bennet, had presciently warned him something bad would happen. After she bailed on the trip, he recalls being told, "Yo, this behavior is going to bite you in the ass. I don't know how—I don't know when—but you're going to crash and burn."
Of course, that's exactly what happened.
The backlash was swift, resulting in Paul being removed from Google's preferred partner program, where YouTube's top talent earns the most advertising money. "I mean, YouTube had to take a stance," Paul explains. "They're not going to let some kid f--k up their ad platform."
As the video went viral, he recalls, "I'm getting texts from friends, family, colleagues, accomplices. I'm like, 'Wow, I really f--ked up, to a degree that this may be the only thing people remember me by, and that is my worst nightmare.'" For most of New Year's Day, he "wobbled around [his] hotel room, not sure what the f--k to do." He later removed the video, replacing it with an emotional apology. "You could tell in the video, I'm like, f--king tired. It's horrible."
(Weeks after the scandal, Paul also published a suicide prevention video.)
He flew home to L.A., where 10 of his handlers sat him down for an emergency meeting that lasted eight hours. "Can you imagine. We [were] building the biggest f--king brand in the world. We're on the verge of, like, product launches. We were about to create the next Axe [body spray]!" Paul recalls. "And here we are just trying to wrap our heads around what happened."
"The first question I asked myself at the beginning of the year was, 'How do we fix this?'" the disgraced vlogger says. "When the question I should have asked myself was, 'How do I fix me?'"
Paul says he never expected such severe consequences. "I had never had a crisis before, ever. Everything had been a smooth-sailing ride to the top," he says. Before sharing the Japan video, Paul explains, "I was so used to people liking me. But being hated? I hate it. I hate being hated!"
In the aftermath, a New York Times article included Paul on a list of stars—along with Roseanne Barr, Louis C.K. and Bill Cosby—who'd been "canceled" by the internet. "Good luck trying to cancel me," he says with a sniff. "It's so easy for anyone to be like, 'Logan Paul just ended his career. He's done.' But the only person who will ever decide whether that's true is me. Like, if I sleep for the rest of my life, maybe. But, like, dog: I love this s--t. This creating? It's my passion."
For more from Paul, pick up the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.