Just a couple of days after Sam Pepper declared “I give up” and deleted everything from his YouTube channel and social media, he’s back with a new video in which he tells the YouTube community he wants to change and asks them give his career another chance.
In the 20-minute, unedited monologue, Pepper tries to hit the reset button on a YouTube career that’s been marred by accusations of sexual harassment and even rape, and the more recent outcry over a prank video where he pretended to murder Vine star Colby Brock in front of his best friend Sam Golbach.
“I want to be completely honest with you now and get everything off my chest and tell you everything, and make sure what I’m saying to you is 100% from my heart,” Pepper says.
Insisting all the while that he’s not trying to get sympathy, Pepper says that he was among the first YouTubers to create a prank channel six years ago, and he got caught up in a culture of one-upmanship where pranksters hire actors and make fake, outrageous prank videos just for the sake of views and money. It’s all an act, he says, a character that he created for YouTube that doesn’t represent who he really is.
“All this stuff is fake. We believe it all, but it’s all fake. All it was about was the end goal - when someone watches it, whether they laugh, whether they’re angry, it was all to do with the reaction of the person who’s watching it, more than the reaction of the person who’s being pranked.”
So the notorious prank video where he grabs girls butts without their permission was all fake, according to Pepper. The “murder prank” with Colby Brock? “Of course it was fake.” Pepper suggests that this was never who he really was - he just never realized that people would take him seriously.
“I know I would never kidnap someone… I know that, I know who I am as a person. But the viewers, you guys, the people who don’t normally watch me, are watching and are seeing me and thinking, ‘Who’s this douche? Why is he doing all this stupid stuff?’”
He also said that the accusations of rape and sexual harassment that came to light after his butt-grabbing video were lies from people trying to tear him down.
“Just because of a stupid video I made, which was stupid and again it’s my own fault, but people have come out and said complete bullshit about me. Of course I’m not a rapist - I wouldn’t be sitting here right now today.”
So now he would like the online community to forget the persona he’s built up over the last six years, and let him make his living doing travel videos and other non-prank-related content.
“I want to ask you guys again, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me… I want a second chance. I’m really asking you guys, please give me a second chance, and I’ll prove to you that I can make content that represents me as a person, that inspires.”
While some of his fans have been quick to forgive him, the reaction from the community in general is mixed at best.
What do you think? Should Sam Pepper be given another chance, or is he past the point of no return?