YouTube star Sam Pepper is under fire after posting an offensive prank video of him pinching women’s butts in public.
The video in question features Pepper pinching various girls’ butts while asking them for directions.
People were outraged. Pepper was called out for sexual harassment.
Fellow YouTubers took to social media to express their disappointment in their ?colleague.
The hashtag “Report Sam Pepper” popped up on ?Twitter.
A second video was released in which a female friend of Pepper uses the trick to pinch men’s butts.
The two videos were ?removed from YouTube.
On Sept. 23 Pepper released a video of him addressing the backlash concerning the videos, and it wasn’t what I was expecting.
Pepper called the videos a “social experiment.”
He claimed both videos were staged and scripted and, though I never saw the original videos on YouTube, the versions he uploaded on Facebook contained the same disclaimer at the end.
Pepper made the videos looking for a certain reaction, and he got it. He was happy to see people upset by his blatant acts of sexual harassment.
“I’m happy that I live in a society where the honor of a woman is protected at all costs,” Pepper said in the video.
But it’s not only women who face harassment and abuse, and the true purpose of the series highlights that.
People have different reactions to the harassment of women as opposed to the harassment of men.
In the example of the videos, reactions to the women’s video were far more outraged than those to the men’s.
As a society, we’ve created a misconception that men cannot be abused. Not because what happens to them isn’t, in fact, abuse, but that we shouldn’t call what happens to them abuse ?because they are men.
They are supposed to be strong and macho. They should just suck it up and get past it. It’s not a big deal.
They need to be men about it.
The reality is that 835,000 men are abused annually in the United States, according to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
They’ve also found that one in 33 men has been the victim of attempted or completed rape and one in six boys is abused by the age ?of 16.
Pepper himself has been sexually harassed. In his video he spoke of his fans at several events pinching his butt and laughing it off when he expressed his discomfort.
This also sheds light on the way people treat celebrities. We get the idea that just because we listen to their music or watch them on TV every week that we know them, and the truth is that we don’t.
Most importantly, they do not know us. You are a stranger and have no right to touch them or anyone, famous or not, without their permission.
Pepper brought up a number of great social points through this ?sequence of videos.
He perhaps didn’t execute it in the best way, but his intentions were valid and important, and we needed to be made aware of them.