zach.

I’ve been watching Zach Anner’s videos for a few years. I first discovered him in a documentary about YouTubers called Please Subscribe, and then realized he does work with Rooster Teeth,a channel and community that I was already very familiar with. I quickly fell down a classic YouTube rabbit hole of watching Zach’s videos, and was drawn to his content because – well, because he makes funny videos and I like to laugh. But I stuck around and have continued to watch because Zach is inspirational in a real, honest and effortless way. He’s not one of those so-called inspirational gurus who post generic “mirror mantra” quotes on Instagram, or someone with a sad story who shoves his life journey down peoples’ throats saying, “if I can do this, SO CAN YOU!” You know the types. Frankly I don’t hold a lot of value in inspirational quotes or comparing your own situation to someone else’s unique set of circumstances.

Zach recently wrote a book, which I own, have read, and I can’t even explain to you how great this book was – please read it. In his book he talks about wanting to be seen for the person that he is, rather than just a guy in a wheelchair. At this, I think he has succeeded, because he’s never claimed victim status. He’s never really said, “oh, I can’t do this because of my chair”. He’s problem solved and said, “how can I do this, despite my chair?” And that, I think is so powerful and something that I truly admire.

Actually there’s a lot of things about Zach that I admire – his self-deprecating humour, his realistic-but-always-positive outlook, and his stubborn approach to what he wants to do with his life, to begin. Recently I had the opportunity to hear him speak when he was in my little hometown. He was here promoting his book and at that time, I hadn’t finished reading it yet. I got to hear some parts of it for the first time, directly from him, which was pretty cool. Listening to him speak was really wonderful, and hearing him share hardships and how he found his way out of them was, in all honesty, a wake up call. I was so moved by what he was saying that night. He spoke about believing in himself and not giving up – which is kind of cliche but like, there’s a reason it’s repeated by everyone, and that’s because it’s true. It just is. You do have to believe in yourself and if you give up, you really will never get anywhere. But my biggest takeaway from it was “what’s stopping you?” Like really –  what, exactly, is stopping me from doing what I want in life? And honestly? The only thing stopping me is that I just don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do, what type of career I want to have or where I want to end up. I really don’t, but at least now I know that as soon as I have that small detail figured out – there’s nothing stopping me anymore. Thanks for that lesson, Zach, and thanks for taking the time to chat about Rooster Teeth, hockey and Josh Flanagan’s sexy, sexy bod. You’re the man – truly. 

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The Internet Doesn’t Forget… Most Of The Time

[originally published 4 months ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]

If you’re a frequent user of YouTube, if you subscribe to peoples’ channels and await their next uploads, or even if you’ve been on social media in the last few weeks, you’ve likely heard the story of Sam Pepper.

Sam Pepper (and yes, that is his real last name, ugh) is a British YouTube personality who’s “prank” videos have made him an Internet celebrity. I put the word “prank” in quotation marks, because despite what he says, most of what he uploads aren’t pranks. A prank usually consists of a big joke, of a person being put into an uncomfortable position for a few minutes, only to be hit with a big wave of relief once they realize that what they thought was happening, isn’t real. Sam’s videos just depict him and his friends making people uncomfortable, with no humorous payoff. Earlier this year he uploaded a video of himself hand cuffing himself to random girls on the street, and refusing to unlock them until they kissed him. He’s also uploaded videos coercing girls into making out with him on the street, and lassoing women while their friends yell at him to stop. The video that caused the Internet to implode showed Sam walking up to women he did not know, and grabbing their butts after asking them for directions. You can clearly hear the women in the videos saying things like “No, I don’t like that” or “What the hell, who does that?”, but good ol’ Sam is laughing like he’s made a big funny. After receiving backlash from viewers – women and men alike – Sam uploaded another video where he had a female friend go around and do the same thing to men. Again, you can visibly and audibly tell that the men in the video were uncomfortable, and didn’t appreciate the unwanted physical interaction. And then, as if this boy hadn’t already dug himself a deep enough hole, he uploaded another video, explaining that the whole thing was a big social experiment, wherein he was trying to raise awareness about how men can get sexually harassed as well. This explanation is very obviously total bullshit for so many different reasons.

Firstly, in the video he claimed that when he assaulted the women, everyone freaked out as they should have, but when his friend assaulted the men, no one took offense to that.  This is simply not true as he received thousands of comments on YouTube and Twitter talking about how a gender reversal doesn’t make what he’s doing okay. He claimed that he was trying to bring awareness to men’s assaults, which would be a really awesome thing to do if it had actually been his intention. However, I feel like trying to raise awareness on this topic by harassing people is like trying to raise awareness about animal cruelty by kicking puppies on a street corner – it doesn’t make any damn sense.

Secondly, if Sam was telling the truth and this all was some kind of social experiment, I would assume his friends, his manager, as well as the company that represents him would have known about it. His friends, ex-coworkers, ex- roommates and so many women are speaking out against him, saying what a misogynistic, psychotic jerk this guy is. Someone who he’d called his best friend said in a BBC interview that this time, Sam had gone too far and he didn’t want to be associated with him anymore. Furthermore, his manager and talent agency dropped him. I don’t know about you, but if I was about to do a very controversial series of videos, I would certainly make sure that I informed all of the necessary people, so that this exact thing wouldn’t happen.

Thirdly, Sam has a history of of sexual harassment. The videos I described above are only the tip of the iceburg – Sam has been at the center of many rumours regarding sexual crimes happening at conventions and meet ups, as well as outside of the YouTube world. Since Sam’s disgusting trilogy, many women, including a few big-name YouTubers have come forward with their own stories of being sexually harassed by Sam Pepper. These accusations cover everything you can imagine, from soliciting nude photos from a 15 year old, to heartbreaking stories of brutal rape. Based on these facts and accusations, you can bet I don’t believe that he’s becoming some kind of activist. I’m not saying it’s impossible for a misogynistic person to better themselves, or that Sam is a pervy tiger that can’t change his metaphorical stripes, I just think that in his case, it’s extremely unlikely.

There’s nothing new I can say on the topic of Sam’s videos, or the allegations against him. This isn’t the first time a YouTuber has been accused of disgusting crimes, and it certainly won’t be the last. In fact, a week after Sam was accused, another Youtuber named Jason Sampson (VeeOneEye) admitted to raping a minor. I know that the Internet has power – if Reddit can catch a rapist with no information other than the name on the hoodie he was wearing, then as a YouTube community, we can certainly make sure that Sam, and others like him, never earn another penny by harassing people. Hell, we can make damn sure that they never earns another penny on YouTube. At the bottom of this post, I will include the links to some petitions to get Sam’s partnerships taken away. General consensus is that his main channel has already been stripped of it’s partnership and has been suspended indefinitely, but he has other channels and is still making a comfortable living that he does not deserve. The memory of the Internet can last forever; Please do not forget what Sam Pepper is. Don’t forget about Alex Day, or Gregory Jackson, or Luke Conard, or any of the rest of them. Don’t let these monsters roam the streets and repeat on their disgusting history. These people don’t deserve to have young kids look up to them, or to live a charmed life based on their lies and crimes. Do not let them get away with what they’ve done.
Please Sign:
https://www.change.org/p/youtube-revoke-sam-pepper-and-any-other-abusive-youtubers-partner-status

http://www.change.org/p/youtube-remove-alleged-abusers-from-the-partner-program-and-stop-profiting-from-their-videos

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/get-sam-pepper-banned-from-youtube

Other Links:<br>
http://youcoalition.tumblr.com/post/99831606216/big-movements-start-with-individuals-when-many

Related:
Laci Green is a wonderful girl who hosts a sex education channel on YouTube called Sex+. Since all of this info on Sam Pepper came to light, she’s been doing amazing things; working with the victims and bringing awareness to each situation. She’s received multiple threats from Sam himself, and amazingly, she’s not letting that stop her incredible work. This girl has serious balls ❤
http://www.youtube.com/lacigreen