The vlog starts with him and his family in a car, where he discusses the agenda for today: they are going to prank his father by posing as his own fan and giving him a gift. The bulk of the video captures views of the passing horizon and their short banter during their time on the road.
The tone is jovial and a little sentimental. “Father, the son you love very much is near,” says one of the title cards in Filipino.
Six and a half minutes in, the tone abruptly shifts and the camera cuts to the vlogger crying hysterically in front of a hospital bed. It appears that his father passed shortly before his arrival. Somebody else is now holding the camera.
Filipino YouTuber Keith Talens’ vlog entitled “ SURPRISING DAD ON FATHER’S DAY (SADDEST DAY OF MY LIFE)” then follows Talens from a distance as other family members crowd around him. The video, uploaded on June 15, has now amassed more than 3 million views to date.
Based on the initial reactions to the video, the majority of the vlogger’s audience are sympathetic and have offered condolences.
However, some are questioning his motive in publishing the video given its disconcerting content, and were bothered that the video was intentionally edited, published, and possibly monetized.
In a follow-up video entitled “ANO BA NANGYARI SA DADE KO” (What happened to my father), Talens defends himself from critics. “I’m not the kind of person who would create a vlog about his father knowing his father’s dead,” he said in Filipino. “And to fake all of it? I don’t even think I could blog anymore.” This video, uploaded a day after the first one, is nearing 1.5 million views as of publication time.
YouTube’s content policy generally disallows any graphic or gory content - the video doesn't violate any of its guidelines, although viewers do catch a glimpse of the father's body.
The issue for disgruntled viewers was never about its graphic nature however, but whether it was uploaded in bad taste. Is vlogging a healthy form of grief? Or has the pull of online hits overtaken good judgment? Where do we draw the line?