Sam Pepper has now released two more videos since this furore blew up. This morning the first video was posted to YouTube. It showed a woman groping men, and was swiftly removed from the site.
6. He then posted this video, in which he claims the original was a “social experiment”.
He says the previous videos were “staged and scripted”.
He also describes a male friend of his who was in an abusive relationship and how he had been groped at meet-and-greets. He goes on to say: “I don’t want to turn off a light on a very real and scary issue women face, I just want to shine a light on an otherwise dark corner - abuse on men.” He says he “chose to use sexual harassment as the focal point of the experiment…that way I could watch you guys go crazy in the comments.”
He goes on to say: “Men have the highest suicide rate in the world and I think a lot of the time it’s because we’re told to hide our feelings and get on with it, women are allowed an outlet, they have people on both sides trying to protect them.”
7. At the time of writing his name is trending on Twitter and it seems the reaction to the alleged stunt is largely negative.
11. BuzzFeed has reached out to him for further comment. Original story below.
13. The video, titled “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank,” which BuzzFeed isn’t linking out to, sees Pepper using a fake hand as he gropes women in the street.
In the video, Pepper approaches five women in the street and gropes their bottoms while asking directions. He has a fake hand in his pocket which disguises what he’s doing. One leaps away in horror. Another says, “I don’t like that; I don’t like that,” when he shows them the hand.
Pepper’s idea isn’t original. There are “prank” videos on YouTube from around the world dating back to earlier in the year that use this trick.
14. There has been huge outrage over the video.
16. The hashtag #ReportSamPepper began to trend.
19. She writes:
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. As fellow YouTubers, we have much respect for others who put so much hard work into building their channel. It’s not easy, and you should be proud! That said, we’ve noticed that in your success, there has been a lack of respect in return…namely, for women and girls.
You may have noticed that your latest video “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank” has garnered considerable negative attention. In this video, you sexually violate a number of unsuspecting women on the street, many of whom are visibly confused and upset at being touched by you without permission. One woman even says “I don’t like that!” while you proceed to laugh and touch her more. In “How to Make Out with Strangers”, made a year ago, you pressure women on camera to make out with you - again, many of whom are visibly uncool with it. Confused and caught off guard, they painfully follow through with your requests, clearly uncomfortable. In “How to Pick Up Girls with a Lasso”, you physically restrain women on the street with lassos - many of whom look alarmed to be restrained by a stranger.
You’d probably be alarmed too, wouldn’t you? Imagine someone on the street comes up and rubs their hand on your bottom, or a girl walks up to you with a camera and forces her mouth onto yours while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on. Imagine walking down the alley alone, when a guy much larger than you physically restrains you with rope and pulls you toward him. You probably wouldn’t like it, right?
People don’t like to be violated and they don’t like to see their friends and girlfriends be violated either (hence the group of men that tried to beat you up in the lasso video). And yet, history suggests that perhaps you find this humorous. It is very disturbing that we live in a world where the violation of women and girls’ bodies is not only funny, but profitable, and can garner considerable notoriety and views on YouTube.
We are deeply disturbed by this trend and would like to ask you, from one creator to another, to please stop. Please stop violating women and making them uncomfortable on the street for views. Please stop physically restraining them and pressuring them to be sexual when they are uncomfortable. Please show some respect for women’s right to their own bodies. While it may seem like harmless fun, a simple prank, or a “social experiment”, these videos encourage millions of young men and women to see this violation as a normal way to interact with women. 1 in 6 young women (real life ones, just like the ones in your video) are sexually assaulted, and sadly, videos like these will only further increase those numbers.
We realize that people make mistakes, and that sometimes it’s hard to see the ripple effect of one’s actions. We really hope that you will take a step back and consider the power you have to be someone who makes the world a better place. It’s not too late to make a change! We invite you to join us in ending widespread bodily violation that takes place in so many forms all around in the world.
20. Pepper has yet to respond. BuzzFeed has reached out to him for comment.
21. Updated — Sept. 22, 15:18 BST: Hank Green has said he will not be invited to VidCon in future. It appears that Pepper’s video has been taken down from YouTube.
This post originally said Pepper gropes the women with the fake hand. For clarification, the fake hand disguises the fact his real hand is groping them.
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