Spanish vlogger sentenced to 15 months in jail for humiliating Romanian homeless man on YouTube

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A Chinese-born vlogger living in Spain who tricked a Romanian homeless man to eat Oreo biscuits filled with toothpaste, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. YouTuber Kanghua Ren, aka ReSet, has been convicted for “violating the moral integrity of the victim” through his joke in 2017, a Barcelona court has ruled.

He also has to pay EUR 20,000 to the victim as moral damage. Moreover, Spanish judges banned Kanghua Ren from having any social media accounts for five years.

ReSet, who was born in China but grew up in Spain, was among the 200 most popular YouTubers in Spain and Latin America, with 1.1 million followers.

In 2017 ReSet played a joke for his vlog by scraping the cream out of Oreo cookies and replacing it with toothpaste.

He found a Romanian man who was living on the streets of Barcelona, gave him the fake biscuits and a EUR 20 note, and had it all on tape. The man later felt sick and threw up.

The Romanian homeless mad was later identified as Gheorghe L., in his late 50s, born in Romania, who worked as a shepherd before relocating to Barcelona, as El Pais reported.

In his defence, Ren said the video had been just a bad joke.

However, Barcelona judges opposed his view, arguing that ReSet had “humiliated and harassed a much older, vulnerable, homeless person … whose life had been blighted by alcoholism and living on the streets”.

The judge said he had done so “to attract the sick attention of his followers” and to boost the advertising revenues generated by the video.

Spanish media reported that Ren had obtained EUR 2,000 from the advertising featuring in his controversial video clip when he was offering toothpaste-filled Oreos.

Yet, New York Times reported that it’s less probable that Ren serves jail time, as the Spanish courts are usually suspending prison sentences shorter than two years for offenders who are guilty of non-violent crimes.

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