Sam Pepper hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week. The YouTube prankster’s latest upload featured him pinching a host of female buttocks whilst pretending to ask for directions.
Pepper, a former Big Brother UK contestant, was forced to remove his video and issue a grovelling, sycophantic online apology, replete with piped in sentimental violin strains. During this remorseful rhetoric the 25 year-old also attempted to justify his earlier prank by stating that it was part of a trilogy of videos to highlight the different reactions towards the sexual harassment of women and men, as well as suggesting that the duped females in the video were all actors.
Although there was predictably an array of outrage towards the first video in the series, it merely continued a trend of increasingly salacious high jinks executed in order to increase subscriptions, views and likes attributed to specific accounts.
Heading into ‘the hood’, a multitude of attention seekers actively revel in being attacked in response to contrived antagonism, thus gaining footage that warrants ‘gone wrong’ in parenthesis at the end of the video title (something also guaranteed to garner curiosity from bored surfers.)
It seems that nothing is off limits in order to get a reaction, be it fake kidnappings, racist diatribe in areas where colours can start knife fights, or pinching the posteriors of unsuspecting ladies. The ends justifies the means when the video goes viral.
What Sam Pepper did was misogynistic no doubt and the catalyst for an outpouring of YouTube disapproval. His actions resulted in a petition against the former graffiti artist and ensured that justice, albeit on a minor scale, was rapidly dished out.
Worse still for Pepper, a myriad of his past victims have now surfaced, with claims that he is a sexual deviant who has forced dozens of women into sexually compromising situations and refused to cease even when they made known their discomfort.
While it’s grand to see a hokey, vile twerp get his comeuppance, it only serves to paper over the cracks of what constitutes unacceptable among the YouTube community.
People making racist comments towards under privileged black people is surely worthy of as much of a mention, notwithstanding the fact that physical contact usually transcends anything verbal.
Consider the following video – why is this kind of blatant, barely veiled racism not receiving a throng of objections and vitriol, that in itself surely carries more than a pinch of hypocrisy in light of rump grope-gate.
So, what now for Sam Pepper? We shall see. He has vowed to mend his ways and learn from this experience, but the fact that these promises were delivered in such a condescending, seemingly spurious manner and taking into account his past indiscretions, it may be best for all if the guy takes a lengthy/indefinite sabbatical from the internet – by then many of his detractors will have found plenty of other things to gripe about and he can sell himself as a toned down version of what he’d previously become.