Man apologizes after ‘disrespectful’ video he posted atop Mauna Kea starts uproar

The video triggered fierce backlash online.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:48 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2022 at 1:20 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Big Island man is publicly apologizing after starting an uproar for posting a video of himself urinating on Mauna Kea.

After a torrent of criticism, he told Hawaii News Now he learned a valuable lesson and now wants to work to help educate others.

Travis Upright gave permission to share a video he recorded, asking for forgiveness.

“I never meant to hurt anyone. I never meant to create so much harm but that’s no excuse. It still happened and I’m sorry,” said Upright.

In the six-minute apology video, Upright — who recently moved to the Big Island — says he simply had no idea Mauna Kea was sacred to so many people.

His original post, which showed himself urinating near the summit, triggered a fierce backlash online.

“It was a trauma to watch,” said Hawaiian activist Healani Sonoda-Pale, one of the many Native Hawaiians who protested on Mauna Kea to block the Thirty Meter Telescope.

In a statement to Hawaii News Now, The Department of Land and Natural Resources said:

“While this activity certainly could be viewed as culturally disrespectful, there are no prohibitions against it in conservation district rules.”

Upright isn’t the first to apologize for insulting Hawaiians.

In 2019, it was someone who sledded down Mauna Kea. In 2021, a woman threw rocks into Lake Waiau.

“They have no business coming here if that’s how they are going to act,” said Sonda-Pale.

“Apologies are only meaningful if they are followed up by education. If he gets himself educated and then he goes educates other settlers and other visitors that come to Hawaii.”

Upright said he plans to do just that and hopes to help educate future generations.

“This arrogance. This vanity. This entitlement ends with me.”