When does a practical joke go too far? In Spain, it’s when it results in hurting those who are less fortunate.
YouTube star ReSet, whose real name is Kanghua Ren, was sentenced to 15-months in prison on Friday for a crime against “morality” after he filmed himself filling Oreo cookies with toothpaste and feeding them to a homeless man more than two years ago.
In addition to the prison sentence, Ren was ordered to pay 20,000 euros (roughly $22,300) in restitution to the homeless man who was the victim of his prank. Ren will also be suspended from his social media channels for five years as part of the court order.
The prison sentence likely won’t be carried out, however: it’s common in Spain for first-time offenders to have their sentences reduced or eliminated completely if they are less than two years in length, per reporting from The New York Times.
The YouTube prankster in 2017 had asked his followers, as he commonly did, to challenge him to an online dare. They tasked him with emptying the cream filling of the Oreo cookies and filling them with toothpaste, then giving the cookies to a homeless man to eat.
Ren did as he was commanded, and gave the cookies (as well as a €20 bill) to a Romanian migrant he saw. The man ate the cookies and vomited as a result.
In the original video, Ren, who was born in China but has lived in Spain since he was an infant, commented that he “may have gone a bit far” with the prank, but mused there was a positive caveat. “This will help clean his teeth — I don’t think he has cleaned them since he became poor.”
Outrage against his actions soon followed after the video went viral. He took down the clip, and replaced it with another one in which he found the homeless man and gave him another €20 bill. He also gave €300 to the man’s daughter, in order to encourage her not to file a lawsuit against him, police allege.
Ren had 1.1 million YouTube followers, The Guardian reported. The YouTube star defended his actions, arguing that his followers egged him on. “People like what is morbid,” he said.
But Judge Rosa Aragonés wasn’t having it. She noted Ren’s videos often preyed upon “easy or vulnerable victims,” and this wasn’t the first time he had engaged in a cruel act against someone on film.
Aragonés chastised Ren for his stunt, in which he had “humiliated and harassed a much older, vulnerable, homeless person” in order to “attract the sick attention of his followers.”
Featured image: screen grab/YouTube