The fallout from Sam Pepper‘s controversial “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank” is getting more severe by the day. Several the British prankster’s former fans have come forward and alleged that he sexually abused them both online and during in-person meet-up events. As more of these allegations have come forward, NewMediaRockstars has announced that Pepper’s partner network, Collective Digital Studio (CDS), has cut its ties with him.
Pepper originally sparked controversy by releasing a video where he distracted seemingly random women and then grabbed their butts. After receiving massive criticism from the online video community (and getting himself banned from both VidCon and YouTubers React), Pepper posted another video in which he claimed the first video to be part of a staged “social experiment.” Many people do not believe Pepper’s claim, but even if he is telling the truth, it does not excuse the original video or the erroneous conclusions he drew from it.
This story has now gone much deeper than Pepper’s alleged “experiment.” On September 23rd, the same day Pepper posted his “reveal”, a YouTuber named Dottie Martin posted a vlog of her own in which she describes a date she went on with Pepper two years ago. She alleges that Pepper, then 23, groped her in a movie theater. She was 16 at the time.
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In response, a number of other women have commented on Martin’s video to share their own stories of sexual predation at the hands of Sam Pepper. NewMediaRockstars shared a number of the most relevant comments in its report. Another woman took to Twitter, where she shared a Facebook chat that seems to show Pepper harassing her for not sending him nude pictures. Several of the women coming forward are teenagers; Pepper is now 25.
YouTuber Laci Green, who has led much of the criticism against Pepper, has also posted a new video discussing the story. In the video, the Sex+ host claims to have talked with three women who spoke of “very serious allegations” against Pepper. “They may press charges,” she states.
As this story developed, CDS quickly and quietly cut ties with Pepper, who had previously joined the network as part of a big influx of new talent back in August. The network has not offered an official statement, though a spokeswoman told NewMediaRockstars “Collective Digital Studio is no longer working with Sam Pepper.”
The most upsetting part of the latest development in this story is that it took so long for these women to feel comfortable coming out and talking about their respective run-ins with Pepper. Hopefully, the supportive response of the online video community will encourage victims to speak out when they are abused by YouTube stars, and it won’t require another ill-advised prank for any other allegations to come to light.