- A YouTuber has been slammed for uploading a video titled “I Travelled Across Japan For Free.”
- Fidias Panayiotou filmed himself hiding in a toilet to hitch a free train ride, among other things.
- His video has been removed by YouTube for violating community guidelines.
YouTuber Fidias Panayiotou has been dragged online after he said he traveled across Japan “for free” — by begging for cash and hitching free rides on trains.
Panayiotou, who is better known by his YouTube username “Fidias,” uploaded the video titled “I Travelled Across Japan For Free” on October 20.
The video, which was viewed by Insider, showed Panayiotou and three other YouTubers competing in an “Amazing Race”-style challenge across Japan. Panayiotou did not specify when the video was filmed, or if he and the other content creators are still in Japan.
YouTube has since removed Panayiotou’s video, saying it violated the platform’s community guidelines. Excerpts and screengrabs from the original video, however, have been reposted on YouTube and X, formerly known as Twitter.
While part of Panayiotou’s journey across Japan was done by hitchhiking at bus or gas stations, the YouTuber also filmed himself riding on Japan’s public transportation system, saying he did so without paying.
Earlier in the video, Panayiotou said he’d been detained at a police station after he told officers he didn’t have enough money to pay for his bus fare. A stranger had previously given Panayiotou 600 Japanese yen — around $4 — but he was still 50 cents short of the full fare.
Panayiotou also told viewers about his hack for riding Japanese trains for free.
“I’m entering the train, and I will find a toilet, and go straight to the toilet,” he continued, before cutting to a shot of him locking himself in the bathroom.
Later, Panayiotou said he was caught by a train conductor for traveling without a ticket. He told viewers that he feigned illness before making a run for it, and boarding another train, where he also hid in a bathroom to dodge train conductors.
Panayiotou also filmed himself getting what he said was a free breakfast at a hotel he wasn’t staying at.
“I went up to the rooms to check the number so that I could use it as a passcode for the breakfast,” Panayiotou told viewers.
“And it worked. I just have access to a five-star Japanese buffet,” Panayiotou narrated over footage of himself eating in the hotel’s restaurant. “And we’re leaving the hotel without getting caught and without any problem.”
Panayiotou’s actions have been slammed by people online, with some criticizing the YouTuber for giving the Japanese people a bad impression of Westerners.
“I hate it. Popularizing cunning and thievery. And transferring it from Western culture and presenting it as something cool, completely pisses me off,” one person wrote on X.
Some pointed out that this isn’t the first time Panayiotou has talked about his hacks for hitching free rides on public transport. In October 2022, Panayiotou uploaded a video titled “I Traveled Across The Entire UK For Free” where he traveled from Brighton to London by stowing away in a bus’s luggage compartment.
“Hello beautiful people, I apologize to the Japanese people if we made them feel bad that was not our goal!” Panayiotou wrote in a comment on the now-removed video, per the BBC.
But a spokesperson from Kyushu Railway Company, a regional train operator, told AFP that the company will review Panayiotou’s video before they decide to lodge a police report.
“We are aware of the case and investigating facts around it,” the spokesperson told AFP.
Panayiotou has been posting videos on YouTube since 2019 and currently has 2.38 million subscribers on his channel. The self-described “Professional Mistake Maker” went viral earlier this year when he managed to get a hug from billionaire Elon Musk, after camping outside Twitter’s headquarters for months.
A spokesperson from YouTube told Insider that they have removed five of Panayiotou’s videos for violating the platform’s policy. The policy states that “instructional theft videos posted with the express intent to steal physical goods or get something for free are not allowed on YouTube,” the spokesperson said.
“YouTube has well established Community Guidelines that outline what isn’t allowed on our platform and we apply them consistently regardless of the channel or creator,” the spokesperson said, adding that Panayiotou’s channel has been issued a warning in accordance with YouTube’s three-strike policy on terminating accounts.
Representatives for Panayiotou did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.
Editor’s note: October 26, 2023 — This story has been updated with comments from a YouTube spokesperson.