Death of French Rooftopper Sparks Dispute Among Internet Users
By: Olivia Fang
On July 31st, 2023, 30-year-old French climber, Remi Lucidi, tragically fell to his death from the 68th floor of the Tregunter Tower, located in Hong Kong (Republic World). Nicknamed the “French Daredevil”, Lucidi was a “rooftopper,” known for scaling high-rise buildings and posting pictures of his feats on Instagram. However, while many shared their condolences, his death sparked a debate among Instagram users, questioning the “value and purpose of his art” (New York Times).
Lucidi’s Instagram featured hundreds of photos of him atop skyscrapers and other buildings, performing stunts such as dangling his legs over a cityscape, or taking selfies standing on a mast. What these pictures didn’t display, however, was any sort of safety equipment. Due to his lack of regard for his well-being, netizens have criticized Lucidi’s behavior, calling it “reckless risk-taking.” (New York Times). They expressed their concern for the younger audiences that could potentially be influenced by this type of content.
This debacle stems from a bigger argument between “urban exploration” and rooftopping. Urban exploration -- otherwise known as “urbex”—consists of people trespassing onto abandoned properties to share the stories of the buildings (New York Times). While rooftopping is considered a part of urbex, most rooftoppers prioritize likes and followers over exploration. As HK Urbex describes it, “Rooftopping is focused more on the thrill and the experience of being in high, vertiginous and perilous locations, whereas Urbex explores abandoned places in a way that is safer, more documentational and historical in nature. A life is not worth a like on social media.” (New York Times). Sociologist Theo Kindynis shares that, for most urban explorers, the rooftoppers that participate in dangerous stunts are called “dangle kiddies.” (New York Times).
Once his death reached the public, Lucidi’s friends shared heartfelt messages on Instagram, commemorating his life and his legacy. Bulgarian climber Yordan Boev shared that he wanted to “conquer fear every day” in honor of his late friend. As he writes in a selfie with Lucidi, “Steel towers are very much like friendships. We build them strong and tall.”
- ‘Rooftopping’ Is Popular on Instagram, but the Risks Are High - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
-Who was Remi Lucidi, stuntman who died after falling from skyscraper? | Others (republicworld.com)