Sam Pepper, a famous British YouTuber, has nearly three million subscribers yet his videos consist of him harassing women. I don’t think that its okay to broadcast these unacceptable actions to millions of young fans.
He’s not the only one with millions of young followers. Zoella, a popular British beauty vlogger, has over six million subscribers. Tyler Oakley, a celebrated comedic YouTuber, has over five million subscribers and Caspar Lee, yet another famous YouTuber, has over three million subscribers. The difference is that these YouTube stars don’t take advantage of their fans.
The YouTube industry has blown up in the past couple of years, with YouTubers beginning to become well-known celebrities. They are featured in awards shows, have endorsement deals and have taken on YouTube as a full-time career. YouTubers can have massive fan bases – just as a singer or actor would – which sometimes proves to be a bad thing.
Sam Pepper, a British YouTuber with a whopping 2.3 million subscribers, recently found himself in the public eye after he posted a prank video on his channel showing him walking around asking girls for directions, then grabbing their bottoms. Most of the girls reacted strongly, seeming uncomfortable and distraught. One girl shouted, “I don’t like that!” After he touches each girl and they realize it’s him who’s doing it, he laughs hysterically, putting the woman in a position where – as vulnerable as she is –she feels obliged to laugh with him.
In my opinion, the video is sexual harassment. There is no excuse for him grabbing women’s bodies without their consent. And this isn’t the first time Pepper has posted a video broadcasting sexual harassment and objectifying women. He has a video where he walks up to random girls and asks them to make out. Again, the girls are uncomfortable, but many feel obligated to go through with it because he has a camera and a couple million subscribers watching. That doesn’t make what he’s doing okay.
Sophomore and YouTuber Namrata Ray said, “I don’t think he should be a YouTuber, he does prank videos that are harrassment. Now people frown upon YouTubers because of Sam Pepper.”
After the backlash of the butt-grabbing video, Pepper came out with another video where he said that it was a social experiment to show that sexual harassment is alive in our world, and that both men and women have to deal with it. He claimed he knew some of the girls and that the prank was planned. Not many people believed his case or took his apology seriously.
After that video came out, an 18 year old girl and YouTuber, Dottie, came out with a video where she told a story of a date she went on when she was 16 with a well-known YouTuber who was 23 at the time. She explained that they met at a meet-and-greet where he showed interest in her and then later messaged her on Facebook and planned a date.
Once they met at the movie theater, they kissed and Dottie said that’s as far as she planned to go. While they were in the cinema, he tried to touch parts of her body and get her to do things with him. When she refused he got very angry and once they left the movie, he left her without saying goodbye. She sent him a message saying, “You’re horrible” and he responded with “Don’t try to trick me then. I’m not stupid.”
Who was this YouTuber who felt entitled to more than a kiss in exchange for a movie ticket? You guessed it: Sam Pepper.
At the time, Dottie said she felt like she had done something wrong, but as two years have passed she has realized that she didn’t do anything wrong. “I was taken advantage of as a minor and as a fan,” Dottie said.
After she came out with this video, two more girls came out anonymously on YouTube alleging that Sam Pepper raped them.
Sam Pepper is not the only YouTuber who has been accused of rape or sexual abuse. Another popular british YouTuber, Veeoneeye, was accused of getting a 15-year-old girl drunk and then raping her. He admitted to it on his channel. Another YouTuber, Tom Milsom, was accused last March of forcing a underage fan into sexual relationship. In addition, Mike Lombardo was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession of child pornography – most were images and videos he had solicited from 11 underage fans.
YouTube should be a friendly, safe and entertaining environment, but as people become more and more influential with their fans, some see this as an opportunity to take advantage of their power.
Thankfully there are some people out in the YouTube sphere who spread love and kindness.
JacksGap, or Jack Harries, another British YouTuber with nearly four million subscribers, posted a video addressing the recent sexual allegations about Sam Pepper and other YouTubers. The video was entitled “YOU” and he recited a spoken word poem that he wrote, addressing the situation in a subtle but powerful way. “Let me make clear that there are some individuals who don’t belong here, you see for some, a level of influence seems to lead to an inexcusable ignorance…You see there are certain characters who’ve recently made the news, those who use their power to abuse but believe me when I say their names will soon fade away,” Harries said.
JacksGap is an example of someone who carries a positive and upbeat message to his subscribers, but there still are people like Sam Pepper who are sending the wrong message to millions of fans.
I think that YouTube should be a place that has a positive impact on its viewers. Instead of using YouTube to advertise what’s not acceptable, people should use their popularity to shed light on important, funny and meaningful things. We need to make clear that Sam Pepper, Veeoneeye and the several other YouTubers who were caught, know that this isn’t okay.
To keep this from happening more frequently, we need to boycott these men and keep spreading awareness about sexual harassment and rape culture.