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Scandalous YouTube Prankster Won a Seat in the EU Elections

Daniel Kim Views  

A popular YouTuber has sparked controversy after being elected as a member of the European Parliament. It was because his previous contents were mostly insensitive pranks such as dining and dashing.

According to foreign media outlets, including the BBC, on the 10th, Fidias Panayiotou,24, a YouTuber from the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, won one of the six Cypriot seats in the European Parliament.

Fidias, a self-proclaimed “prank specialist” YouTuber, has 2.62 million followers. Last year, he faced criticism for posting a video titled “I Travelled Across Japan for Free.” In the video, he hid in a bathroom on the Shinkansen, Japan’s high-speed rail, to avoid paying the fare and dined and dashed from a five-star hotel buffet.

As the video spread primarily in Japan, causing controversy, Fidias posted an apology, saying, “If I have hurt the feelings of the Japanese people, I apologize.” However, his refusal to remove the video only fueled the anger of the Japanese people, leading him to delete the video the next day.

Not only in Japan, but he also committed illegal acts like riding the subway for free in India, proudly posting videos of these acts, which led him to be involved in criminal lawsuits. Last year, he became a topic of conversation after receiving a hug from Tesla CEO Elon Musk after visiting the headquarters of X (formerly Twitter) multiple times.

Fidias officially declared his candidacy for MEP in January. During his campaign, he drew attention by appearing on Cypriot television wearing sneakers, shorts, a suit jacket, and three ties.

Fidias admitted that he knew little about politics and the EU and had never voted. Despite this, he gained popularity among younger generations and eventually became an MEP.

The international reaction to his election was mixed. Some outlets pointed out that he is a “symbol of the crisis-ridden Cypriot political system” and that a “24-year-old YouTuber is shaking up Cypriot politics.” Others defended the vote as a “political act to punish corrupt and arrogant established powers.” The population of Cyprus, an island nation in the Mediterranean, is about 900,000. The turnout for this election in Cyprus was 59%, a significant increase from 2019 (45%). Some political scientists have linked the increase in voter turnout to Fidias, dubbing it the “Fidias effect.”

Fidias received 19.4% of the vote in this election. Although he ranked third out of six, he had the highest vote among independent members. According to exit poll data analysis, he received the highest votes, 40%, from the 18-24 age group.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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