We’re all probably familiar with the expression, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But in this case, it’s hard to see imitation as being anything other than a way to cynically earn Youtube views and ad money.
Qory, a popular gaming Youtuber and aspiring rapper from Indonesia, recently received major backlash for his latest Youtube video in which he and a couple of buddies explored Japan’s Aokigahara Forest — popularly known as Japan’s suicide forest due to it being one of the world’s most popular suicide spots.
If that doesn’t sound like an original premise for a Youtube video, that’s because it isn’t. Aokigahara exploration videos (and discoveries of dead bodies — shocker!) do attract a substantial amount of clicks, the most notable one being a video posted by American Youtuber Logan Paul a while ago which went as hugely viral as it became controversial.
It appears Qory wanted to pull a Logan Paul by making his own Aokigahara video. The formula seems to still be working because, at the time of writing, the video has received 575K views in just the two days since it’s been uploaded.
Qory made no attempt to hide the fact that he was trying to emulate Paul in his video, even saying at the beginning, “No dead bodies, no fun”, implying that his main intention was to find the bodies of suicide victims.
When Qory finally got his wish and found a dead body (which was blurred in the video), he said, “I went all the way to Japan. This is Logan Paul 2.0” before he and his friends continued to make jokes about the dead body.
Qory’s video understandably attracted much scorn back home, with netizens accusing him of capitalizing on others’ misfortunes (or death, in this case) for fame and money.
Video itu menurut gua salah karena qorygore jelas2 emang nyari views dari video ini, dan video ini adalah video sponsored. dia nyari views sengaja di tempat yg dia udah tau bisa ketemu orang yang (sedang dalam proses, atau sudah) bunuh diri. HOW SICK IS THAT
— izzzy (@vngnc) December 4, 2018
I think the video is wrong because Qorygore is clearly trying to gain views from this video — and it is a sponsored video. He deliberately went looking for views at a place where finding people committing or have committed suicide is common. HOW SICK IS THAT?
if you wanna talk about publicity stunts i could do ton of shits to bump my main channel to the top. i’ve always been the one closest to the borderline since back then. but i DIDNT cuz i got brain and i still want to live my life peacefully.
qorygore you are so fucked, goodluck.
— David (@DavidBeatt) December 4, 2018
On December 31 of last year, Paul posted the now-infamous video that apparently served as Qory’s inspiration. In it, he and a couple of friends explored Aokigahara and filmed their discovery of a dead body. After getting widespread criticism and calls that he be banned altogether, Youtube canceled and put on hold some of the projects they had in the works with the scandal-hit social media star.
So considering how much scorn Paul received, why would Qory follow his horrible example?
It’s probably because, instead of ending his career as a Youtube star, Paul’s suicide forest scandal ultimately seemed to do little to hurt his celebrity or profitability. In fact it probably helped. Despite his viewership numbers dropping substantially after the controversy, Paul’s earnings have actually reportedly increased to US$14.5 million between June 2017 and June 2018 — up 16 percent year on year — the majority of it still coming from Youtube ads.
It’s unlikely that Qory’s video will reach the heights of Paul’s, scandal-wise or viral-wise, but he may also ultimately earn a decent amount of money off of exploiting another human’s death. Youtube has not removed the video (as, like Paul’s, it somehow doesn’t violate their community standards) but the streaming site did age-restrict the clip over the outrage, so at least our kids won’t be able to see how desperate and unethical some adults can become in their pursuit of clicks.