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Sam Pepper is a British YouTube personality perhaps best known for his street prank videos centered around the theme of interacting with strangers. In late September 2014, the prankster came under criticism after he conducted a supposed prank which involved touching women without their consent.
Sam Pepper created his YouTube channel, OFFICIALsampepper on September 8th, 2010. His first video uploaded to the channel, titled "What Sam Pepper does when he's bored!" features Pepper playing with a funhouse effect on his camera, and was uploaded on October 25th.
As of September 2014, Pepper's most popular videos are "How to Make Out with Strangers," which was uploaded on July 27th, 2013, and has gained over 15.6 million views and "Lift Pranks" which was uploaded on June 25h, 2012, and has gained over 5.6 million views.
Social Media Presence
As of September 2014, Pepper's Facebook account has gained over 690,000 likes and his Twitter account has gained over 1.6 million followers. His Instagram account has gained over 870,000 followers.
On September 20th, 2014, Pepper posted a video, which was removed two days later by YouTube, titled "Fake Hand Ass Pinch" which featured Pepper touching women's butt's with a fake hand (shown below). On September 21st, YouTuber Laci Green published an open letter to Pepper on her Tumblr blog. A bolded section of the letter reads:
"We are deeply disturbed by this trend and would like to ask you, from one creator to another, to please stop. Please stop violating women and making them uncomfortable on the street for views. Please stop physically restraining them and pressuring them to be sexual when they are uncomfortable. Please show some respect for women’s right to their own bodies. While it may seem like harmless fun, a simple prank, or a “social experiment”, these videos encourage millions of young men and women to see this violation as a normal way to interact with women. 1 in 6 young women (real life ones, just like the ones in your video) are sexually assaulted, and sadly, videos like these will only further increase those numbers.
The letter has been cosigned by many prominent YouTubers including John Green, Tyler Oakley and Grace Helbig.
Also on September 21st, Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers sent out a tweet implying Pepper would not be welcome at future VidCons. Within 24 hours the tweet gained over 26,000 favorites and over 13,000 retweets.
On September 22nd, Cosmopolitan published a post titled "YouTubers react to the Sam Pepper video, as it's removed by actual YouTube" which featured a round-up of tweets against Pepper sent by popular YouTubers and other internet personalities. The same day the controversy was covered by Twitchy.
Social Experiment Reveal
On September 22nd, Pepper uploaded a second video to YouTube in which a woman pinches several men's rear ends (shown below). The video was subsequently removed for violating YouTube's terms of service.
That day, Pepper posted a video titled "Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank – THE REVEAL", in which he claims both videos were scripted with willing participants and that he was attempting to "highlight the difference between abuse towards a man and abuse towards a woman.”
Sexual Assault Allegations
On September 23rd, 2014, YouTuber Dottie Martin uploaded a video titled "A Cautionary Tale," in which she describes an incident at a movie theater claiming that Pepper attempted to engage with her sexually when she was 16-years-old and he was 23 (shown below, left). On September 24th, an anonymous YouTuber uploaded a video titled "Sam Pepper – The Real “Reveal” in which she describes being sexually assaulted by Pepper with her face obscured from view (shown below, right).
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed posted screenshots from United Kingdom resident Bryony Harris, who claimed they were from a conversation between her and Pepper when she was 15 and he was 22 in which he asks for her to provide nude photos of herself.
Also on September 24th, the social media news blog New Media Rockstars reported that Pepper had been officially dropped by the multichannel YouTube network Collective Digital Studio. The next day, YouTuber Laci Green uploaded a video titled "Sam Pepper Exposed," in which she claims to have spoken with several women who alleged Pepper had groped and otherwise assaulted them.
On December 11th, 2015, Pepper created a GoFundMe page asking for $1.5 in donations to delete his YouTube channel. That day, he appeared on the YouTube show DramaAlert, where he explained why he created the crowdfunding campaign (shown below). The following day, the campaign was removed for violating GodFundMe requirements. In late February 2016, Pepper removed all of the videos uploaded to his channel.
Prank Staging Admission
On February 24th, 2016, Pepper uploaded a video titled "I'm Sorry," in which he admitted to staging prank videos and apologized for manipulating his viewers (shown below, left). That day, the apology video was posted on the /r/h3h3productions subreddit, where many praised Pepper for his honesty. The same day, Pepper appeared on the YouTube channel DramaAlert, where he discussed sexual assault allegations against him (shown below, right).
 YouTube – OFFICIALsampepper
 Bustle – YOUTUBE'S SAM PEPPER GOT CALLED OUT BY FELLOW YOUTUBERS AFTER DISGUSTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT VIDEO
 Cosmopolitan – YouTubers react to the Sam Pepper video, as it's removed by actual YouTube
 Twitchy – YouTube star Sam Pepper slammed for ‘prank’ sexual assault video
 New Media Rockstars – Collective Digital Studio DROPS Sam Pepper
 BuzzFeed – YouTube Star Sam Pepper Accused Of Soliciting Nude Photos From A Minor
 Reddit – Sam Peppers apology
 GoFundMe – Delete Sam Pepper (unavailable)
 The Daily Dot – Sam Peppers $1.5 million crowdfunding stunt to delete his YouTube channel didn't last long
 Reddit – Why did Same Pepper delete all his youtube videos
Sep 22, 2014 at 07:33PM EDT
Feb 25, 2016 at 04:35PM EST
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