Between tortuous and harmless. There is a line between an act of harassment and a joke. Sam Pepper dances across this line every time he uploads a video.
The video “Killing Best Friend Prank,” opens with an introduction from Sam Pepper briefly talking about how he collaborated with fellow Youtubers Sam Golbachh and Colby Brock. Brock was in on the plan with Sam Pepper while Golbachh was clueless. While staring dead into the camera, Pepper ends with, “Let’s see how he reacts to his best friend of 5 years being killed in front of him.” As Brock and Golbachh were fixing a seemingly brokendown car, Pepper threw a bag over Golbachh’s head. Brock and Pepper then tied up Golbachh and put him in the trunk of the car. The video then cuts to t wenty minutes later with Golbachh tied to a chair crying. Later in the video, Pepper shoots Brock with a fake gun and Golbachh believes he was murdered.
It is not an easy video to watch. Golbachh believed that he was about to be murdered. The outro of the video, which was filmed a few days after the “prank” was filmed, shows the three bubbly Youtubers smiling and laughing. C omment and subscribe!
Almost immediately after “Killing Best Friend Prank” was published on Youtube, Sam Pepper received an enormous amount of backlash from Youtubers and Youtube viewers. Some viewers have tweeted about crying, not being able to watch the whole thing, and being severely triggered by the video. Several Youtubers, including Jack Harries of JacksGap, have spoken out against the video. Harries tweeted, “I think I speak for the majority of the Internet when I say please leave” and retweeted a petition for the deactivation of Sam Pepper’s account.
The petition’s creator, Kaylee JadeDavis wrote, “This is not his first offence and it won’t be his last, unless we stop him.” The petition also mentions how the video “clearly breaks two of Youtube’s community guidelines” about posting violent or graphic content and harmful or dangerous content. The petition currently has over 100,000 signatures.
In response to the outrage, the two best friends (Golbachh and Brock) took to their own Youtube channel and posted a very brief “explanation.” Brock mentions how they prank each other frequently and how he “knows his [Golbachh’s] limits.” Golbachh also explained how he is “fine” and is not traumatized despite the rumors stating that he is. They then continue to explain how when they were “looking back on the final product,” they realized that the video has a “message.” In a suspiciously convenient attempt to put a positive spin on the situation, Golbachh and Brock claim that several viewers told them that the video made them appreciate their family and friends more.
The issue with this positive “message” is that it was never mentioned or portrayed in the o riginal video. The “Killing Best Friend Prank” was presented as a “prank” and nothing else. In this video that explains Sam Pepper’s actions, Sam Pepper is nowhere to be found. He has not apologized. He is letting other people do the apologizing.
This isn’t the first time a controversial “prank” of Pepper’s has been veiled as a social experiment with a positive message. Pepper’s infamous fake hand video in which he gropes women with a fake hand was later revealed to be a “social experiment” to raise awareness for male sexual abuse. Sam Pepper sexaully abused women to point out how men are sexually abused. That makes sense.
Pepper’s misogyny doesn’t end there. In 2014, Sam Pepper was accused of raping several young women, including an 18 year old from Los Angeles. The victim posted a YouTube video called “Sam Pepper doesn’t understand the word no” in which she describes how he forced himself on her even when she was trying to push him off.
Pepper’s “prank” videos include handcuffing women, forcing women to make out with him, lassoing women, sexually assaulting women, and calling a complete stranger an “InstaWhore.” He has over 2,000,000 subscribers.
The “Killing Best Friend Prank” is speculated by some Internet users to be completely fake. Whether or not the video was staged changes nothing about the kind of person Sam Pepper is. Sam Pepper posts vile and sexist content under the guise of social experiments and innocent pranks. He expects his fans to forgive and defend him for harassing people and they do. Sam Pepper does not belong on YouTube. He belongs in jail.
The petition can be signed here: https://www.change.org/p/youtubepetitiontoyoutubetodeactivatesampepperschan nel?recruiter=438596306&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink