Up until this week, Sam Pepper was earning a healthy living as one of YouTube's most hated creators. For years he has pushed the envelope with inappropriate and sometimes sexually charged content, themes which have earned him a bit of a nasty reputation. Late last year, Sam's "kidnap" prank sent people's hatred of him into overdrive--with some of them calling for him to delete his videos and others for him to be arrested.
Clearly, Sam has had time to meditate on his actions because he has just uploaded a video entitled "i'm sorry" (not keen on uppercase letters, I suppose) in which he rats himself out as one of YouTube's biggest fakes.
The video is 20 minutes long and kind of amazing to watch if you want to understand why Sam Pepper is the way that he is.
So here is what we learned:
1. Sam is very sorry.
2. Sam made those videos so he could pay rent.
3. A whole lot of Sam's prank videos are fake--including the kidnapping prank.
4. YouTube can be a really weird place.
Sam says that he was drawn to making outrageous pranks because he wanted to keep up with the new breed of YouTube pranksters. He says that he would wake up every day and think, 'when will I stop being relevant', a fear which drove him to make bad content decisions.
Under normal circumstances, people would probably be reluctant to forgive Sam, but the candid and tell-all nature of his apology video may have won people back on his side.
A lot of young fans seem ready to #forgivesam.
But some people are thinking a bit more critically about the situation:
Did anybody actually believe that Sam Pepper's videos were real? That was never the point. He promoted sexism and negativity, real or fake— Eric Beckerman (@EricBeckerman) February 25, 2016
if you forgive sam pepper i have no respect for you, you're believing him over multiple girls who have come forward about sexual assault— sadgrrl666 (@punkflop) February 24, 2016
People criticising Sam's video are pointing out that Sam doesn't directly apologize for putting out content that promoted the violation of women's sexual boundaries. Nor does Sam address the numerous sexual assault claims made against him.
By the end of the video, Sam vows to make content that reflects his "true self" and to maybe cool it with the prank persona he has built up.