Sam Pepper (self-proclaimed ‘Youtube Prankster’) has recently received huge backlash over his ‘Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank’ video. The well-known prankster has over 2 million subscribers, many of whom are young people. Pepper has posted questionable videos in the past, including one where he tries to kiss unsuspecting women in public, and another where he lassos women on the street.
In this particular video, he is seen grabbing numerous women’s bottoms without their consent. The video was removed by YouTube after claims it violated their policy on sexual consent, but not before Pepper received an overwhelmingly negative reaction to his ‘prank’. Thousands of responses from the public and influential members of the YouTube community flooded in, questioning the intentions of the YouTuber and highlighting its clear glorification of sexual harassment.
Pepper swiftly uploaded a new video where the same thing was done to men by women (which was quickly removed by YouTube), followed by a video claiming it was all a ‘social experiment’ to highlight the issues regarding male sexual assault, which he claimed society often overlooks. He then posted the videos in question to Facebook, declaring that the entire ‘prank’ was staged and scripted, and that he had the consent of everyone involved. These rushed excuses did not appease the public; backlash ensued on various forms of social media, and Pepper was soon dropped by his network and banned from popular YouTube convention VidCon.
Further allegations unrelated to the videos have recently come to light since they were posted. Six women have come forward in the past few days accusing Pepper of sexual assault; these accusations include unwanted touching in a cinema, inappropriate Facebook messaging and indecent groping at a YouTube gathering. Of the six women, only one has said she will press charges; the others fear they will receive online harassment. Furthermore, Laci Green, a YouTuber well-known for her sex education videos, has been in touch with numerous women who claim to have been assaulted by Pepper since she started an open letter to him, which has received thousands of signatures.