Can We Just Remember That Pinching Someone’s Bum Isn’t A Joke?

Sam Pepper, who used to be in Big Brother doing pranks, is now in the outside world making a BIG name for his jokes. But he’s gone way too far this time...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Remember Sam Pepper from Big Brother? No? Well, there was a boy called Sam Pepper in series 11 whose entire shtick seemed to be playing pranks and annoying people. And it seems that as well as finding fame, bizarrely, in America (like Piers Morgan or Russell Brand), he’s become a bit of a YouTube sensation.

Using the same tactics of pranks and pissing people off, he’s got himself 2,400,000 subscribers, 141,000,000 views and 870,000 Instagram followers.

This week, his antics have made the news as he went one prank too far, posting a video where he sexually assaulted a series of women in the street. Somehow he hadn’t got the memo that grabbing women’s bums is – yep, it is* – sexual assault.

Called Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank it sees Sam, mic-ed up, walking around New York with a man-bun and a grey hoodie with the arms tucked into the front pocket. Except one arm isn’t in the arm-hole of the hoodie, but next to his torso, where he can fling it out and grab people.

In the video, Sam goes up to a series of attractive women, then asks them for directions. Getting in close to them as they point down the street, he reaches that hand out from underneath the hoodie and grabs their bum.

He then looks around and indicates someone else passing by has done the pinching. That’s the end of the prank. Hilarious, right?

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All of the women respond with shock. First off, he has pinched them (nothing funnier than women not consenting to a sexual activity, right?) Secondly, they’re in disbelief that he doesn’t believe them (really LOL for women to feel like the sexual harassment they receive is just an overreaction of theirs, right?). As soon as the women realise what he’s doing, they either scream, ‘I don’t like that,’ or move to walk away (sometimes in the wrong direction, being sexually assaulted does tend to get in the way of your thoughts sometimes). Bizarrely, in some instances, he hugs the women, as if to forgive them for being so stupid. OK, it could be an apology, but if he was truly sorry, he wouldn’t have cut the video together or put it online.

We’re not going to show the video, because we don’t want to add to its 1.5 million views, but someone has handily put together these gifs (encouraging you to report Sam to YouTube’s moderators), which show you all you need to know about the video, and the ensuing backlash that it’s brought – interestingly in America as much as the UK.

But we’re interested – why did Sam think to make the video in the first place? Though the clip is getting a load of down-votes, with about 140,000 dislikes to 40,000 likes, Sam must have gone through some process of thinking it was a good idea, a funny prank that we, the viewer can be in on. Well, as a YouTuber, Sam doesn’t have to follow anywhere near as many rules or regulations as TV or radio broadcasters.

We could all just pretend it's no big deal, but it’s not like he’s just any failed Big Brother star flashing women at a provincial bus stop. It’s not a one-off that won’t be copied – Sam has a huge young following who are totally influenced by his videos, if the YouTube comments are anything to go by.

READ MORE: Being Sent Dick Pictures Is No Worse Than Sexual Harassment

This behaviour isn’t unexpected – Sam set a precedent for meaness in one earlier skit called ‘Insta-Whore’. He asks an attractive woman for her phone number. She refuses, so he asks for her Instagram account. When she obliges, he follows her, at which point she realizes he has 800,000 followers. She then mentions that she’d be happy to go on a date for followers. At which point he says, ‘No, I don’t date Instagram whores.’ Then runs off giggling, as if he doesn’t prolifically upload data to the internet for approval.

He also sets the tone of his creepiness with his ‘how to make out with strangers’ video, where he ‘asks’ women on the street to kiss him, using the film camera to lend credence to the fact he is just walking up to strangers and gnawing at their faces.

So why bums? Well, we’ve all got a jolly attitude to bums, haven’t we? They’re meant to be quite funny, silly things; a word that’s a playground insult for four year-olds, a step down from ‘poo poo head’, and perhaps just a little bit more scathing than ‘push off’.

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But there’s more to it than that. Sam might think they’re LOL, but if bums really were just funny floppy mounds of fat attached to our backside to facilitate sitting down and nothing to do with sex, then people wouldn’t be freaking out about Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea shaking theirs in their new video, and Nicki Minaj wouldn’t have caused a furore with her bum making the cover of her new single. Vogue wouldn’t be treating bums like they’re a brand new fashion accessory. Bums are totally sexualised and it follows that if we are all going to get angry when pop stars with millions of fans do what they want with their own bums, we should take a moment to get angry with Sam and his followers who think it’s funny to have a go on someone else’s.

Even if you just think it’s a silly boy doing silly stuff, this sort of sexual harassment is so abundant that it’s not funny. If you do watch the video, you’ll see the women who get pinched suspect absolutely everyone; unconsenting-bum-pinching is hardly rare, and that’s why it’s just not funny. If it was, we wouldn’t know when to stop laughing.

*One US definition of sexual assault: where someone ‘commits a sexual act upon another person when the person knows or reasonably should know that the other person is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unaware that the sexual act is occurring’.

One UK definition of sexual assault: where ‘(a) he intentionally touches another person (B), (b) the touching is sexual, (c) B does not consent to the touching, and (d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.’

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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