Man Only Fined £60 For Sending Abusive Messages To Netflix Star Who Took Her Own Life
A man has been fined just under £60 for sending online abuse to Hana Kimura, a Japanese reality star and wrestler who took her own life, prosecutors have said.
Kimura starred in the latest series of Netflix’s Terrace House reality show, which also broadcast on the country’s Fuji Television. She was 22 years old when she died in May 2020.
She was the subject of constant cyber-bullying during the show, the target of hundreds of abusive tweets and other critics every day, sparking nationwide concerns over the consequences of online harassment and whether social media users should face more severe measures for sending harmful messages.
However, the man in this case – who hasn’t been named – was only fined 9,000 yen (£59/$80) with regards to his messages to Kimura. According to Metro, he reportedly sent a number of messages to the star, including, ‘You have such an awful personality. Is your life worth living? and ‘Hey, hey. When will you die?’
A spokesperson for Tokyo Prosecutors’ Office said they had made a ‘summary indictment against a man in his 20s’ following Kimura’s death, charged with making public insults. It’s also been reported that he apologised to Kimura’s family last June.
Cyberbullying against Kimura reportedly ramped up in frequency following an episode in October 2019, in which she had an altercation with a male housemate regarding a ruined wrestling costume.
Her mother Kyoko Kimura made a claim to the Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organisation (BPO), but its human rights committee failed to find any violations after a review of the show with regards to Kimura’s case. It did find ‘problems in terms of broadcasting ethics,’ The Japan Times reports.
The committee also said Fuji Television offered ‘a certain level of psychological support to Hana Kimura after she harmed herself following the distribution of an episode online before it was aired on TV’, concluding ‘it cannot be said that her ability to make free decisions had been stripped’.
In a statement, the broadcaster said: ‘We take the (BPO’s) decision seriously and will make organisational efforts to tackle social media-related issues, including through a newly established department in charge of such matters.’
Kimura died after sharing a photo of herself and her cat, with the caption: ‘Goodbye.’
In another social media post, she wrote: ‘Nearly 100 frank opinions every day. I couldn’t deny that I was hurt. I’m dead. Thank you for giving me a mother. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I love it. I’m weak, I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a human anymore. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you, everyone. I love you. Bye.’
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