In brief: A YouTuber posting a video of a cruel prank isn’t something new, but one Barcelona-based channel owner has been given a prison sentence for his actions, which involved giving toothpaste-filled Oreos to a homeless man.
In January 2017, Kanghua Ren, originally from China and known to his subscribers as ReSet, was challenged by one of his 1.2 million followers to carry out the prank. In the now-removed video, part of which is on the Independent website, ReSet is seen scraping out the Oreos’ cream filling and replacing it with toothpaste. He then gives them to a homeless man outside a supermarket, along with a 20 euro ($11) note.
Known only as Gheorge L., the homeless man, who is in his early 50s, was born in Romania and worked as a pastor and a shepherd before migrating to Barcelona. He reportedly vomited soon after eating the cookies.
“Maybe I’ve gone a bit far, but look at the positive side: This will help him clean his teeth,” said the then-19-year-old Ren in the video. “I think he hasn’t cleaned them since he became poor.”
After the video received almost universal criticism, Ren and a friend visited Gheorge L again, offering him another 20 Euros, but a witness called the police. Police say Ren later offered the man’s daughter 300 euros ($337) in return for not filing a lawsuit.
Last week, a Barcelona court found Ren guilty of violating the moral integrity of the homeless man, according to the New York Times. He was given a 15-month prison sentence and ordered to pay 20,000 euros (around $22,300) compensation to Gheorge L. The YouTuber is unlikely to go to jail as Spanish law usually allows sentences under two years for first-time offenders to be suspended. He has also been ordered to close his YouTube and social media accounts for five years.
Gheorge told El Pais he had “never been treated so poorly while living on the street.”
Prosecutors claim Ren had previously offered sandwiches filled with his cats' excrement to children and elderly people.
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