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Friday, September 26, 2014

On Sam Pepper, YouTube Culture, Sexual Assault and Feminism

Trigger warning for abuse, assault, harassment and rape.
Sam Pepper of YouTube and Big Brother UK fame
Over the last few days it seems the entire YouTube community has banded together to report Sam Pepper (2.3 million safter he uploaded a video entitled 'Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank'. The video title pretty self explanatory but for those of you who are unaware of this whole scandal Sam Pepper basically went around asking young women for directions to the Apple Store and had a fake hand tucked into his hoodie so he had his hand free. As the women were giving him directions he pinched them on the ass with his hidden hand. One of the girls in the video even said "I don't like that".

The video was reported by thousands of viewers and was taken down. Then Sam uploaded a video titled 'Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank (Part 2 of 3)' where he reversed the gender roles and had a girl doing the same thing to men. This video caused just as much outrage on the first and it was taken down within a couple of hours. He's now uploaded the final part of the trilogy which at the time of writing this blog post is not available as Sam's account has been suspended (just 20 minutes ago it was still active) and part 3 "The Reveal" was available to view.




In the final part of the horrible trilogy Sam Pepper claimed that the first two videos were social experiments, that all the people in the videos were paid actors and that he wanted to raise awareness for assault against men.

The alarming thing is that it's not the first time he has made a video sexually assaulting women on the street. He has posted videos lassoing women, forcing strangers to kiss him and handcuffing himself to them. All the videos were extremely uncomfortable to watch at the time yet unfortunately people didn't seem to jump on those the same way they have with these.

Since this series of videos have come out, numerous girls have shared their story about the way he has either manipulated, sexually assaulted and even raped them. The anonymous girl who claims she was anally raped by Sam Pepper pleaded with the viewers to not believe him and to not treat him like a hero.

YouTuber Laci Green made a great video explaining the situation and what has happened since the videos have come out. I would definitely recommend watching this to get a better overview of what's been going on. Sam has sent Laci threatening emails since she wrote her open letter to him.



As disturbing as the last week has been, it's not the first time a YouTube Content Creator has taken advantage of their viewers. Earlier this year Alex Day came under fire for cheating on his girlfriend with viewers as well as sexually manipulating them. Since then he has been inactive on his YouTube channel, as has Luke Conard who is known for being an abusive boyfriend and an all round creepy, immoral person.

There has been this weird YouTube culture for a couple of years now where young viewers look up to the content creators. They admire them, they want to be their best friend and impress them. The scary thing about the Internet is that even if we watch daily vlogs and videos of YouTubers, we still don't know who they are when the camera's off. I would urge anyone who is contacted by a YouTuber to be cautious and to logically evaluate their behaviour and the way they speak to you. Get a friend or family member to do that part for you if you feel you cannot see the conversations from another point of view.

In a way I, as a feminist, feel helpless to the situation and feel at this moment that the only thing I can do is talk about so I might be able to help young girls know that if someone acts inappropriately with them it is not okay, and hopefully make boys realise that this is not the norm and it's not the way they should behave. Sam Pepper should be sent to prison as he not only committed crimes and filmed them, but there are numerous pieces of evidence to suggest that he preys on young women regularly.

This whole thing isn't just a prank video gone wrong, it casts light on the bigger issue that affects all of us. I have been sexually assaulted and harassed whilst just walking down the street before like nearly every woman I know and I'm somebody that needs to think before they speak so I was just quiet, plus I have social anxiety so I struggle to respond at all, yet alone in a timely manner. I know too many people that have been harmed by other human beings or very close to being harmed. The number of people it happens to should be zero but unfortunately everyone knows someone who has been assaulted, harassed, abused or had an even more violent crime committed against them.

Please spread the word about Sam Pepper. We can not let him get away with this .
If you're struggling with any of the issues brought up in this post please seek help, talk to someone, and know you're not alone. If you want to be pragmatic, please share either this post or any of the videos or links I posted in it and let me know your thoughts on the whole thing, especially if you have any practical things we can do to help victims put their offenders away.

4 comments:

  1. I am glad I am not the only one spending far too long following these issues and watching the events unfold.

    Alex Day was the worst part for me, I was appalled by his attitude towards the allegations, like pretending he didn't know that no meant no so somehow that made it okay. I unfollowed Sam and long long time ago because I personally find him really transparent. I am happy that there has been such a large backlash this time and hopefully the youtubers who have the right idea about creating safe online and offline spaces, feminism and generally being a good person, will prevail in changing the discourse of the online community in a positive way.
    If you don't know her, you should follow lexcanroar on twitter, she is super funny and an A+ feminist. I think you'd like her! She is all about calling a spade and spade.
    But yeah, Laci <3

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    1. I've watched so many videos and read so many posts on it and it just gets more & more disturbing! I really think the bigger YouTubers need to contribute to the conversation and bring light to situations like this so fans will take more precautions at meet ups and other YouTube events. It's just really horrible that there's sick people out there making money and taking advantage of their position.
      Thanks for commenting Meg x

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  2. great post, lovely insight to what you think on each situation.

    http://www.andreaantoniou.blogspot.co.uk/
    x

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