YouTube star gets jail time and R332k fine for Oreo prank on homeless man
A Spanish YouTube star who decided to perform a belittling prank on someone far less fortunate than him to indulge his 1.2-million subscribers' love of “sick things” is now paying a serious price for it.
In 2017, Kanghua Ren, who goes by ReSet on YouTube, accepted a dare to scrape the creamy filling out of some Oreo biscuits, replace it with toothpaste and then feed them to someone.
For the victim of his prank, Ren - who was 19 at the time - chose a Romanian man living on the streets of Barcelona. He fed the man the doctored biscuits, filmed it and posted the video online.
The Independent reported that Ren told viewers: “Maybe I went too far, but look on the bright side: this helped him to clean his teeth. I don’t think he’s brushed them since he became poor.”
The man was given a €20 note (about R330) - small consolation for then throwing up as a result of the experience.
Unfortunately for Ren, his viewers were less than impressed. The video caused an uproar and was quickly taken down.
Fearing for his online career and future success, the YouTuber tried to pay off the man's daughter with a bribe of €300 (about R5,000), but that didn't work - so the case went to trial.
According to The Guardian, Ren defended himself in court by saying he performed such pranks in order “to put on a show” that would satisfy his followers' love of “sick things”.
This held no water with judge Rosa Aragonés, who noted that this was not an isolated incident, and found Ren guilty. She sentenced him to 15 months in prison and ordered him to pay €20,000 (about R332,000) in “moral damages” to his victim.
She also banned him from having access to any social media accounts for five years.
Hopefully the judge's decision will help to ensure that other online stars check themselves before they wreck themselves.