Where’s the joke?
This is the question many were left wondering after watching British YouTuber Sam Pepper’s infamous video titled “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank.”
The video, which was released in late September, shows Pepper asking women for directions while hiding one of his hands in a large sweater. Once their attention is diverted, Pepper gropes these women with his concealed hand.
After the video went viral, Pepper received backlash from thousands of viewers and YouTubers such as Tyler Oakley, Mamrie Hart, Louise Pentland (Sprinkleofglitter), and Alfie Deyes (PointlessBlog). YouTube feminist Laci Green also wrote an open letter to Pepper asking that he stop violating women and has also posted two video responses addressing the situation.
YouTube conventions such as VidCon and Playlist Live have also responded by banning Pepper. According to MTV UK, the YouTuber’s network, Collective Digital Studios, has also dropped him.
After YouTube took down the “prank video” for violating its policy on sexual content, Pepper uploaded two follow-up videos. The first shows a woman groping men (Note: This video was also immediately taken down by YouTube for policy violation). In the second, Pepper explains that the original video was staged and was in fact a “social experiment” that highlights the opposing reactions to abuse towards women and men.
Among the controversy surrounding the ill-received videos, several women have come forward with other experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of the so-called prankster. Most notably, fellow YouTuber, Dottie Martin, details her uncomfortable date with Pepper in a tell-all video, which gained almost a million views.
Pepper has yet to comment.
I spoke to past and present McClung’s staff to get their personal take on the issue. Here is the first episode of McClung’s “One-on-One”:
By Julianne San Antonio, Blogger