by Cayla Destefani
YouTube star Sam Pepper faces sexual harassment charges from his recent videos that he posted of him grabbing women’s butts as he asked them for directions. The videos sparked outrage, and ever since a total of 6 women have come forward claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Sam Pepper in the past.
After outrage with the “Fake Butt Pinch” prank flared, the video was removed from YouTube. Not long after, however, Pepper posted a similar video with women pinching men’s butts. After both videos, he posted one of himself explaining that the two videos were a social experiment to demonstrate the difference in the way that we treat sexual assault against men and women and highlight sexual abuse against men. He says that all of the women in the prank were involved and had scripted responses and he thanked them by name for helping him make his video. According to The Daily Mail, he claims to have been inspired by a male friend who was in an abusive relationship but the police all disregarded his friend’s claims. Pepper says that sometimes girls will pinch his butt and giggle about it. What makes it ok to suddenly switch the gender roles of sexual abuse?
Some people have accepted Pepper’s apology and showed sympathy for his abused friend, but others still show doubt. Newsbeat says that Laci Green—who has a sex education show on YouTube—wrote Pepper a personal letter that has gotten over 100,000 signatures asking him to stop abusing women. According to The Daily Mail, Tyler Oakley tweeted, “Sexually harassing women is vile to begin with, but normalizing it by calling it a prank? So harmful.”
Along with the video uproar, Sam Pepper has had six women come forward with charges of rape or assault against him. 18-year-old Dottie Martin explains how she was extremely uncomfortable on a date with him as he kept trying to make moves on her that she was not ready for. Another anonymous woman gave the press pictures of messages she had exchanged with the YouTube star and one of them was requesting a dance video with a comment later saying it needed more boobs. She was 15 at the time and he 25. Yet another woman who has chosen to remain anonymous claims that before a Toronto performance, her requested she come to his room alone. She obliged and when she got there she says he forced her to give him oral sex. After the performance he said he would give her a ride home but told his driver to go back to his hotel instead. She spent the night with him and claimed that he tried to assault her further that night and continued to text her the next day asking if she had enjoyed her time with him the night before. Three other women have come forward with various reports of being groped or abused. Sam Pepper has not yet been arrested.