A YouTube star based in Spain has received a prison sentence and an order to pay a homeless man NZ$34,000 after playing a prank on him in 2017 and posting it to his channel.
Chinese-born YouTuber ReSet, whose real name is Kanghua Ren, filmed himself giving a homeless man Oreo cookies filled with toothpaste in Barcelona. The prank was then uploaded to his YouTube channel, which currently has more than 1.2 million subscribers.
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Ren approached the homeless man and gave him the toothpaste-filled cookies along with €20 (NZ$34). The man vomited after eating the biscuits.
When the video received widespread backlash, Ren removed it. He then filmed a separate video visiting the same man again and offering another €20, reports The New York Times.
Ren later tried to give the victim's daughter €300 (NZ$511) if her father didn't file a lawsuit against him, authorities have said.
The humiliating prank resulted in a 15-month prison sentence for Ren, and an order to pay the victim compensation. The now 21-year-old social media star was found guilty of violating the moral integrity of the homeless man, reports The New York Times.
According to Spanish news media, the Barcelona court's verdict also orders Ren to shut down his YouTube and other social media channels for five years.
However, media outlets report that the prankster is likely to avoid jail due to Spanish law, which typically suspends sentences under two years for first-time offenders involved in non-violent crimes.
The judge said Ren earned more than €2000 from advertising revenue garnered through the humiliating content, reports Spanish news media.
In the original video, The New York Times reports that Ren showed an apathetic disregard for the homeless man's wellbeing, stating that the toothpaste would help his oral hygiene.
The ruling noted Ren's tendency to exhibit "cruel behaviour" across a multitude of his videos, particularly towards "easy or vulnerable victims".