Three to four years ago Sam Pepper was one of the most controversial characters on YouTube. He became hated by a lot of people because of his inappropriate behaviour on three separate occasions. Soon Sam quickly became irrelevant with many now asking what happened to him. Since it’s been a while, I figure it’s worth giving some background on who the guy is and why he became popular.
Sam’s first taste of fame came when he featured as a contestant on Big Brother, a popular reality TV series in the UK. The whole experience helped him to become more comfortable in the spotlight and once the show ended he started making videos. To help build a following Sam created prank and social experiment related videos, hitting the one million subscriber milestone by 2014. His most viewed content were typically sexually suggestive videos. Sam would walk up to attractive woman and try to kiss them. What viewers didn’t realise at the time was most of the videos were fake and the girls involved were apart of the whole act.
In late 2014 there was finally a backlash, Sam was sexually assaulting women on camera, by touching them on the ass and then pretending it wasn’t him. This type of material wasn’t well received by other well-known YouTubers and they started calling out his behaviour. Not surprisingly his channel started to lose subscribers and YouTube had no choice but to remove the video. The prank controversy spiralled out of control and girls started accusing for sexually harassing them in real life. These claims were never proven to be true but it still dealt a huge blow to his channel.
Sam went back to making prank videos when the media frenzy died down but his videos didn’t receive the same level of views. To become relevant again Sam needed to do something big. When he came up with was the killing best friend prank. While many thought his previous pranks crossed the line none of them can compare to this video, where him and his buddy kidnap their friend and then pretend to shoot someone while he has a complete breakdown. The video went viral making Sam relevant once again as people scolded him. Many were mad enough to sign a petition that would have the notorious prankster kicked off YouTube entirely with it getting over 200,000 signatures.
Things died down with the drama surrounding Sam Pepper until February of 2016 when he blacked out all of his social media accounts and removed of every prank video. After this he published a video simply titled “I’m sorry” along with having a tell-all interview, admitting that the sexual assault and killing best friend prank videos were all staged. Looking back now I kind of understand where he was coming by needing to fake pranks. In 2011 it was fine to just leave a whoopee cushion on a couch and people would watch it but by 2015 and 2016, other pranksters were faking theirs to get views.
Sam stopped doing prank videos but surprisingly he was actually able to come up with some new unique video ideas that will continue to get him millions of views. A lot of these included 24-hour challenges, mailing himself in a box and exploring abandoned buildings. This content was very trendy at the time and more importantly it was advertiser friendly. He deleted his channel for a second time as YouTube demonetized his channel and they wouldn’t provide him with a reason. This was strange considering that all the pranks were gone and the content he was making at the time was pretty uncontroversial. Sam stated in a video that the YouTube money was not needed for him to be financially secure and that from now on he would be doing live streams about his life.
Looking back now, I kinda see Sam Pepper in a different light. Although the sexual assault allegations were never proven true and all his of pranks were fake, he didn’t really hurt anybody. Nowadays he can live stream videos in peace with 100,000 people still watching him. He’s not nearly as big as he once was but it’s still a lot more than other dead channels.