British YouTube "personality", Sam Pepper, is no stranger to controversy. The 26 year old has been at the center of a number of controversies concerning his behaviour, some of them quite serious. Despite this, with over a million Twitter followers and nearly 2.3 million YouTube subscribers, Sam is the human equivalent of a cat with nine lives.
You can expect a certain level of backlash from anything Sam is involved in but his latest "prank" video has crossed the line, according to many people on social media.
Can someone please buy Sam Pepper a dictionary because he clearly doesn't know the definition of prank— Laura (@5sose31d) November 30, 2015
@youtube please do something about sam pepper because i'm actually sick to my stomach and that should not be allowed on the internet— jolly issa (@twaimz) November 30, 2015
tw // Both kidnapping and murder are not jokes. They're serious things and what sam pepper did was not funny at all.— nat | #1 ella stan (@sluttydan) November 30, 2015
someone arrest Sam pepper— rt puberty goals (@rtpubertygoals) November 30, 2015
In his latest video, Sam Pepper orchestrates a kidnapping and murder scenario using Vine stars Sam Golbach and Colby Brock. The scenario involves Sam Golbach being kidnapped, tied to a chair, and made to watch his best friend's supposed murder. At the start, Sam Pepper actually says, "Let's see how he reacts to his best friend of five years being killed in front of him."
Many viewers are quick to point out that a traumatic experience like this could lead to PTSD but, more importantly, prank or not, Sam still orchestrated a kidnapping.
Just because a camera is rolling and you intend to upload the footage onto your YouTube channel, doesn't mean the crime isn't taking place. If police had been called to the area, Sam would still have to explain why a tied up body was being transported in the trunk of his car.
Furthermore, viewers aren't just watching a "prank". They are actually bearing witness to the painful moment a person thinks they have lost their best friend. Even for the purpose of humour, the premise is actually psychotic and the video itself is quite harrowing.
Sam Golbach responded to the backlash with a message posted on Twitter.
For those of you that watched Sam Pepper's video... pic.twitter.com/vg7C9coKR0— samuel (@SamGolbachh) November 29, 2015
Everyone involved is maintaining that the video wasn't that bad but most fans have reacted negatively to the prank. The concept is quite emotional, especially when you consider everyone involved is a well known internet personality.