I’m gonna say I spend a solid 90% of my free time on YouTube. Online video forms of entertainment have always been among my favorite, hence involvement with an organization such as CalTV. Being so invested in the YouTube community, I was shocked to hear about the sexual assault scandal involving vlogger Sam Pepper. It’s a long story with a lot of scattered information, so I thought I’d try to give a run down on the whole spiel…
Okay, so it all starts with some dude named Sam Pepper, former contestant on the British version of the show Big Brother turned vlogger and self-proclaimed “prankster.” This guy has over 2 million subscribers and gets up to a couple million views on his videos, so he’s kind of a big deal. Which is why what happened has caused such a scene…
It all started when he posted a video titled “FAKE HAND ASS PINCH PRANK” in which he went on the street and groped unsuspecting women with his hand hidden in his hoodie.
Most people have the basic knowledge that it isn’t okay to grab a stranger’s ass without permission, so this video received quite the backlash… Another problem arose from the fact this wasn’t the first instance of Sam making questionably creepy videos, some of his others depicting him forcing kisses upon clearly uncomfortable strangers, lassoing random women, and online stalking strangers using instagram photo locations to trick them into thinking they knew him and giving him their phone number. Fellow Youtuber and sex educator (and Berkeley alumn haaaaay) Laci Green responded to Sam’s creepy behavior in an open letter asking him to stop posting videos in which he objectified and/or assaulted women. This letter was signed by over 100,000 members of the YouTube community, including Hank and John Green, founders of VidCon, who banned Sam from attending future VidCon events.
He then posted a video titled “PART 2: FAKE HAND ASS PINCH PRANK” in which women went groping random men’s asses on the street, and a third video titled “PART 3: THE BIG REVEAL” in which he claimed these videos were meant as a three part series on how men face sexual harassment as much as women, and that all participants in the videos willing volunteers in this “social experiment.” However, his first ass-pinching video had no mention of “Part 1” in its title, the following videos came out much later than the first, and his only proof of the people in the videos being knowing participants was a quick flash of two of the women waving at a camera selfie-style, which really could have been taken from anywhere. Whether the videos WERE in fact planned and meant for a social experiment (which, let’s be real, is complete BS) or not, the real storm came after when accusations of Pepper began flying…
Laci posted a video describing the events that had unfolded involving the ass-pinching video, as well as delivered the shocking news that women had began to contact her with allegations against Pepper of personal sexual assault. Some videos surfaced of women telling of their personal stories of Pepper, including notable Youtubers such as thisbedottie, who claimed pepper had tried to forcefully grope her in a movie theater on a date when she was underage, and ohhmyannie, who claimed that pepper held her down and tried to masturbate on her at a party. Other anonymous videos surfaced as well, with two women describing in disturbing detail accounts of being raped by Pepper. Pepper remained tight-lipped throughout the whole ordeal as more and more allegations (and proof) came out about Pepper’s lewd acts.
Ultimately, it appears that Pepper’s YouTube Partner status has been rescinded, he has been banned from all official YouTube events, and his platform has dropped him, meaning he will have to finance all of his own videos himself. Laci reports that the victims are continuing to work with authorities to figure out how they want to proceed. As of now, no charges has been pressed against Pepper, and he has put out a few new videos since the incident.
Ass Pinch prank part 1/2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB10SmF5LNc
Ass pinch prank part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ytz8J4D15OA
Laci Green videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9qVaMhnJB8
anonymous rape allegations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vIh2-q0NTs