Prank culture sucks. It’s unoriginal and unfunny, and its humor is dependent on cruelty to the unwitting recipient of the “joke.” That’s why it’s so deeply satisfying that a YouTuber who infamously pulled the toothpaste-filled-Oreo prank on a homeless man is getting some justice from a Spanish judge.
Kanghua Ren, who goes by ReSet on the video sharing site, posted a video of the prank in question in January 2017. It shows him scraping the creme out of Oreo cookies with a fork and replacing it with toothpaste. Then, Ren approaches an unsuspecting homeless man sitting outside of a store in Barcelona and gives him the cookies along with €20.
The man promptly vomits after eating the cookie.
Almost as bad as the prank itself is Ren’s commentary. It’s hard to imagine a more callous thing to say than “Maybe I’ve gone a bit far, but look at the positive side: this will help him clean his teeth. I think he hasn’t cleaned them since he became poor.”
The victim of the stunt was a 52-year-old man identified as Gheorge L., a homeless Romanian national who previously worked as a shepherd before emigrating to Spain.
After the original video — which made €2,000 in YouTube revenue — received lots of negative attention, Ren posted another showing him visiting Gheorge again and giving him another €20. The New York Times reports that police say he later offered €300 to the Gheorge’s daughter in an effort to prevent her from filing a lawsuit.
Ren tried to dismiss the video as a bad prank, but the judge wasn’t having it. El Pais reported that he pointed out that it wasn’t an isolated act, and that Ren’s other videos, like the one in which he offers sandwiches with cat poop to the elderly and children in a park, are sickeningly similar.
Spanish law typically allows sentences for nonviolent crimes less than two years to be suspended for first-time offenders, so Ren is unlikely to actually serve any time.