Welp, here we are again, doing the most fun part of our job – writing about sh*tty prank content that is making the viral rounds. Today’s odious bit of “banter” comes from Facebook, where British prankster Brad Holmes posted a “chilli tampon prank” on his long-suffering partner Jenny Davies.
The video has since been deleted, but here’s the jist: Holmes rubbed a chilli pepper over one of Jenny’s tampons before she used it; resulting in pain, a long time spent flushing out her vagina with water, and several million views, before the video was finally pulled from the site.
Some of Holmes’ other works include getting down on one knee to “propose” to Jenny (only to ask her to make him a cup of tea), and of course straight-up pretending to break up with her over another woman. But while even emotionally-toying videos like this can be shielded under the ever-problematic umbrella term of “banter”, we need to call the act of causing physical harm to a sensitive area of a woman’s body for laughs exactly what it is – a form of domestic abuse.
Since our piece on the frustrating internet sensation of bad pranks masquerading as “social experiments”, there have been a couple of steps forward in curbing this trend – but plenty of leaps back. The team behind TrollStation are about to serve some time in jail for their London-based robbery and terrorism pranks; but meanwhile, Joey Salads gets to dress in drag and wander into women’s bathrooms to make some sort of hamfisted point about transgender people using their chosen public bathroom.
But one thing we have failed to touch on is the rampant misogyny that pervades prank culture. From public harassment to straight-up emotional or physical trauma, abuse against women is routinely being normalised by pranksters – who cater to exactly the right type of audience that would try to normalise it.
Roman Atwood has “killed” his infant son in front of his girlfriend at least twice?
YouTube prankster Roman Atwood, who has even admitted to us that prank videos “need a reset”, has been guilty of traumatising his partner Brittney several times in the name of a good prank. From “killing” their son Kane in front of her (both times a dummy) to “confessing” on their five-year anniversary that he has been cheating on her, Roman has had a heavy hand in convincing millions of young adult males that being a complete d*ck to your girlfriend is completely fine – as long as you film it and post it online.
In fact, just searching “girlfriend prank” on YouTube yields over 7 million results – and all of the top ones follow the similar format of “Coming Out To Girlfriend Prank GONE WRONG!”, “BREAKING INTO my Girlfriend’s House PRANK!”, “SEX WITH GIRLFRIENDS MUM PRANK (CHEATING PRANK)” (just in case you couldn’t figure that one out), and plenty of other examples of Caps-Lock video nightmares with over a million views each.
And the greatest issue with these videos is – whether or not any of these pranks are fake, whether or not the women involved are “in on it” or not – they are reaching such a massive demographic of young men who are, at their core, a bit thick impressionable (and I’ve been there, trust me). The kind of guys who see a video such as this, and immediately see this as a normal way to behave to women; normal, at least, if you want to be famous on the internet.
To his credit, Brad Holmes removed the tampon prank video himself, and has released a statement admitting that in this case he had “over stepped the mark”. But in the case of both his girlfriend and his audience, the damage has been done – the comments of the post are full of the prank-loving proletariat telling Holmes to “stick to his guns”.
“Too late, my boyfriend did it to me the little c**t”, adds one woman.
You can read the statement from Holmes below.