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YouTube pranks involve sexual assault, disrespect women

Recently, a story surfaced about a famous YouTuber who “pranked” women by sexually assaulting them.

The person in question is a young man by the name of Sam Pepper and his prank video has garnered a plethora of negative attention.

And rightly so.

In the particular video I’m talking about, Pepper gets the attention of random women on the street [usually by asking them for directions] and while they’re distracted he grabs their behinds.

In the final version of the video, many women are seen laughing nervously, attempting to shrug off his inappropriate behavior.

One woman even repeatedly says, “I don’t like that”, but Pepper still thinks it’s a game.

The original video has since been taken down, as it violated YouTube’s Terms of Service, though you can still find re-uploaded versions online.

Before this story came up, I never heard of Pepper or his YouTube renditions.

But after coming across this most recent atrocity, I found that he had a whole series of prank videos where the goal was to assault or discomfort women.

In one video, he handcuffs himself to women and tells them that he won’t let them go until they kiss him.

In another, he makes women kiss him, telling them that he’s looking for the best kisser in the area in which he’s roaming [in this video, Venice Beach].

He literally forces himself on unwilling women in order to do so.

There are so many reasons why this person’s so-called “pranks” are anything but.

The fact that this person thinks it’s okay to treat women such a way, as well as the thousands of individuals who defend him, exemplify the general disrespect society has for women, their sexuality and their space.

I shouldn’t have to explain why groping women without consent, handcuffing them and forcing them to kiss you is wrong, but since some people think it’s okay, I will.

All of the actions previously mentioned are forms of sexual assault. Period.

In the videos, Pepper does not get consent from any of the women.

For his “pranks” to be even remotely acceptable [though still distasteful], before recording the videos he would have to tell participating women what he was going to do [i.e. grope, kiss or handcuff] and actively get their consent to do so.

Without this measure being taken, his actions are nothing short of sexual assault.

There is no debate.

No consent? Then you’re committing a serious violation.

After the controversy, he claimed he made the butt-grabbing prank video in order to raise awareness about male sexual assault.

Even if this is true [which I sincerely doubt], that is no excuse to harm women.

Not only are his actions disheartening, but the fact that thousands come to his defense furthers my general sadness and frustration.

So many people, men and women alike, claim that those complaining about his pranks are “overly sensitive” or just “can’t take a joke”.

But there is a fine line between a harmless joke and harmful sexual assault.

Some of these women may have been laughing, but anyone with a little bit of common sense can tell they didn’t think his jokes were funny.

He violated their space, disrespected their sexuality and disregarded their discomfort.

His behavior, along with the out-pour of support from fans, demonstrates just how normalized the disrespect for women in society really is.

And the fact that so many people think his behavior is perfectly fine is disturbing.

Respond to Autumn at

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