A Japanese YouTuber who calls himself a “mentalist” failed to see how his heinous comments about the homeless would blow up in his face. YouTuber DaiGo shared various comments in a livestream on August 7, 2021 where he stated that he didn’t “pay taxes for it to go to paying for people on welfare,” adding that it would be better if his money went to feeding cats. He also stated that for him unnecessary lives were not worth a lot, and thus he thought that the lives of homeless people were not worth much.
The YouTuber, whose subscribers as of August 14, 2021 totaled 2.46 million and Twitter followers 769,0000, also said that homeless lives were annoying since they smelled and created an environment that felt unsafe, going as far as to say that “Originally, humans live by executing humans who do not fit with their flock.”
The video caused natural outrage online, both on his YouTube page and Twitter, with people commenting on the hateful comments that were inciting discrimination and attack. Experts also weighed in, heavily criticizing the YouTuber’s comments and pointing out the attacks on the homeless that have occurred and the possibility of more hate crimes taking place if the comments of influential people like DaiGo were allowed to exist unpunished.
Aware of the criticism, DaiGo doubled down during a live Q&A in the night of August 12th before apologizing on August 13th, but the final apology did not do much to extinguish the wildfire he had caused. Japan has very strong laws that protect freedom of speech, but DaiGo’s abominable comments and the delayed apology that essentially felt insincere and only possible after he was browbeaten online and in various media publications have created a larger discussion touching on people’s lack of compassion and hate speech.
For DaiGo, this could be the end. The YouTuber had sold himself as a mentalist and created a brand so strong for himself that he was invited to TV panel shows and published various self-help books, but this scandal has obliterated his public image and perhaps his future prospects.