Sam Pepper is a Predator

So, a lot of people have come out with allegations against Sam Pepper. There’s the possibility of a legal case, but even before that is resolved, here are some reasons why you should take those allegations very seriously.

Here's background for people who don't know what this is all about:

First, the sheer number of people coming forward is a good reason to take this seriously. He’s accused of soliciting pictures from minors. He’s accused of groping, and he’s accused of more serious crimes, of which the details haven’t been discussed. Even if there are one or two people jumping on the bandwagon for attention, there is a clear pattern that this man makes women and girls feel violated.

Second, his attempt to convince the world that his street assault videos were planned is manipulative. He is making a spectacle of all survivors of abuse, largely so that we stop paying attention to him. In so many situations, the outrage over these images comes from a personal experience or the personal experience of a loved one. Pulling on that particular heartstring in an attempt to make a “point” about anything other than compassion or justice is a sign of someone who is seeking to take advantage of others.

He wants us to believe that he’s not just innocent, but morally superior. He wants people to feel embarrassed for their outrage because he was just playing us. But the very real and raw emotions around sexual violence are not his playthings. It’s emotionally dishonest and it works because it plays into an on-going fight between men’s rights groups and feminists, but it is ultimately a deflection.

Finally, his earlier videos make it clear that he’s very skilled at violating people’s boundaries. There has been nothing illegal in Sam’s videos prior to the street harassment one he claims is scripted, but he presents a clear predatory dynamic. It doesn’t make sense to manipulate just anyone. A predator needs to test the waters. So, they will start slow, invading personal space, being more intimate than is appropriate, and they will escalate as far as they can. A good target is someone who plays along, someone who will smile nervously, either because they recognize they are in a weaker position, or because they have been involved in abusive dynamics in the past and think this is normal.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.36.38 AM

The most clear example of this dynamic the “prank” where he handcuffs himself to women. There’s the woman at the end, who is holding her body so stiffly and asking if he can take it off. Up to this point, she’s smiled and played along, but when she asks for it to be over, he escalates. He says he is going to release her when she kisses him, and she looks down for a moment and then agrees. This is not a real choice. This is a man using a physical restraint and his power in the situation to push a woman’s boundaries even further. And then he uploads it for laughs. If this is his public face, it isn’t very surprising that there are women claiming he did things even worse in private.

Notably, even the MRAs on Reddit don’t back this guy. They may believe in his message about bringing attention to male survivors, but they can’t fully put themselves behind a man with such a blatant history of harassment. This is because even though there is a bitter distrust between MRAs and what they call SJWs, both groups include people who have been hurt by predators. They know the real enemy is a manipulative person who refuses to take responsibility for their actions and fucks with people’s heads. And thought it remains to be seen what happens with any legal allegations, this guy demonstrates clear signs that he’s not ok.