SEOUL, Aug. 18 (UPI) — A popular YouTuber is under fire for posting videos that depict North Korea in a positive light.
The British founder of FunforLouis has been the target of bitter criticism after he uploaded seven videos chronicling his North Korea travels, Mashable reported Wednesday.
Described by one of his representatives as “one of the most influential travel ‘vloggers’ on the Internet,” Louis Cole, 33, said he was “trying to focus on positive things in the country.”
Cole, who has 1.8 million followers, was on an organized tour to North Korea while visiting water parks and playing with local children.
But his viewers took issue with his presentation because the videos do not address North Korea’s problems and the human rights abuses of the Kim Jong Un regime.
Chris Prouse, one travel video blogger, wrote the following message to Cole:
“I appreciate that you’re showing us a different part of the world and North Korea might have built monuments that are symbolic of unity … but it’s pretty hard to ignore North Korea’s human rights violations,” Prouse said.
Another well-known YouTuber, Phillip DeFranco, said there’s a problem with viewing North Korea through rose-colored glasses.
“The problem becomes that if you are just trying to keep it positive, keep it chill, you’re actually doing it a service,” he said. “It’s like if you go into a giant mansion and there’s like horrible things happening in a ton of the rooms…But your guided tour only takes you to like the indoor heated pool, and the room with the Xbox.”
DeFranco did acknowledge that Cole is “in a weird place.”
Human Rights Watch deputy director of the Asia Division Phil Robertson said Cole is “reveling in a Potemkin village, ignoring what’s behind the façade.”
On Wednesday, Cole denied he was promoting North Korean propaganda and that while he does “not agree with the North Korean ideologies” he does “care for and love the people there.”
“I am not an investigative journalist,” the YouTuber said, according to the BBC.