Sam Pepper and his two million YouTube subscribers have quickly found themselves in the middle of a maelstrom — and it is turbulent.
Pepper posted a video to YouTube over the weekend titled “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank” which showed him asking for directions with a fake hand in his pocket. His real hand would then reach around and pinch their ass. To say that the YouTube community has found this “prank” unfunny is putting it mildly. Pepper has already been banned from all major YouTube-related events including VidCon, Playlist and the Fine Bros. have banned him from appearing in any further YouTubers React videos. Here is some of the fallout from Pepper’s fellow YouTubers:
Additionally, fellow YouTuber Laci Green has penned a letter to Pepper (found in its entirety below) educating him on the very real issue that is sexual harassment which many, many other YouTubers have endorsed.
Additionally, Meghan Tonjes, posted to her Twitter “I will say @sampepper’s lack of response or apology is DEAFENING.”
Pepper has since removed the video from his page, but he has been quiet on all other fronts. Naturally NMR wouldn’t post the video anyhow, but Sam or more likely “his people” have gone into damage control mode. It just might be too little too late. [We’re being told Sam did not take the video down, but that it was flagged and YouTube pulled it. — Logan]
With 2.4 million subscribers, the British YouTuber has made a profitable stand on YouTube with his material that includes “pranks” like licking stranger’s feet and making out with girls he’s just met. Already the signs were there for a step beyond the pale and finally it has happened. The question is, why didn’t we all see this coming? Here are a few screen grabs (no way are we posting Sam Pepper’s actual vids right now) of some of his increasingly disturbing videos:
Hopefully, seeing these titles will alert some of the other YouTubers making these styles of videos (and there are many!) that the community will no longer tolerate it. YouTube and its community at large is escalating its reaction towards creators who cross the line — and as pranks grow more edgy, it will become an increasingly fine line.
Fellow Brits Tom Milsom and Alex Day have already been dropped from the Vlog Bros. record label DFTBA Records in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct. Now Pepper has been marked as well. It will be interesting to see if he can recover and wisen up. Unfortunately, considering he’s only lost 3,800 subscribers over this so far, it doesn’t seem like his fanbase takes sexual harassment as seriously as the rest of YouTube apparently does.
Here is Laci’s letter,posted to her Tumblr, in its entirety: