By Courtney Lockhart
On an unsuspecting Sunday afternoon cruising Youtube and Tumblr, I saw something that bothered me. However, it was quickly followed by something that gave me hope.
“We are really tired of people conflating 'offensive' with ‘edgy’." Julie Lalonde, director of Hollaback! Ottawa lamented when asked about this particular brand of humour. “The idea that harassing women in public is somehow 'new' and 'cutting edge humour' is incredibly misguided. Harassment and sexual assault by strange men against women in public space is far too common for someone to make a profit from such ‘pranks.' It's not about needing to loosen up or not having a sense of humour. We love a good laugh and there is no shortage of amazing Youtube videos out there. Sam Pepper, and others like him, think they are performing edgy humour when in fact, they are perpetuating the same old tired tropes that make every women the punchline. It's tired, it's sexist and it's definitely not funny.”
Laci Green, host of Sex +, took to Tumblr with an open letter demanding that Pepper take down the video. She asked Sam to “Please stop violating women and making them uncomfortable on the street
Seeing the creative powers of YouTube take a stand made me incredibly happy. It proved that this serious issue is being given the consideration it deserves. It is one thing to see an audience up in arms about content but for his peers to do likewise elevates the whole discussion. The Youtube community prides itself on being safe and welcoming to everyone. Sam Pepper harassing and assaulting women put that in jeopardy.
As for the man himself? This is his only statement so far:
Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat. She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.