A popular YouTuber has apologised after a video titled I Travelled Across Japan For Free riled locals. Fidias Panayiotou’s video – which showed him dodging train fares and a five-star hotel breakfast bill, has earned almost half a million views.
Some have called for his arrest on social media and rail authorities are considering further action against him. Good manners are highly prized in Japan and pranks that are deemed disrespectful are frowned upon.
Mr Panayiotou describes himself as a “professional mistake maker” on his YouTube page, which has 2.4 million subscribers. He was joined by three other people in the Japan video, which was part of a $10,000 (£8,216) challenge.
At one point in the clip, he hides in a bullet train toilet and feigns illness when confronted by a conductor. He then runs off to board another train where he repeats the stunt.
Mr Panayiotou also begs for a bus fare from a stranger but is still 80 yen (£0.44; $0.53) short. He is then locked in the bus by the driver and taken to a police station, where he is detained for five hours before being released.
He later pretends to be a guest at a hotel in order to get a free breakfast. “And we’re leaving the hotel without getting caught and without any problem,” he says to the camera.
It is unclear when the video was filmed, or whether Mr Panayiotou and his companions are still in Japan.
Many social media users demanded that Mr Panayiotou delete his video to prove his apology was sincere. The video appeared to have been removed on his YouTube channel as of noon on Tuesday. “Another strange, annoying YouTuber from abroad has emerged. In addition to this guy Fidias, the three others should be arrested,” one social media user said.
“I am really disgusted by people like you guys who take advantage of the kindness and politeness of the Japanese people,” another user said. Another commented: “This is so wrong. This is just stealing people’s money and behaving rudely to others.”
In August, American livestreamer Ismael Ramsey Khalid, better known as Johnny Somali, was arrested for allegedly trespassing on a construction site and repeatedly shouting “Fukushima”, a reference to the nuclear power plant that went into meltdown in 2011 after a tsunami.
In 2017, US YouTuber Logan Paul also stirred massive controversy with a video he posted, later taken down, of an apparent suicide victim in a Japanese forest that gained millions of views.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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