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'Heartless' Prank With Oreo Earns YouTuber Jail Sentence

Kanghua Ren, aka ReSet, filled cookie with toothpaste
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2019 9:30 AM CDT
Packages of Oreo cookies line a shelf in a market in Pittsburgh on Aug. 8, 2018.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(Newser) – A prank called "heartless" and "disgusting" has now earned its perpetrator jail time and a hefty fine. YouTuber ReSet—real name Kanghua Ren—has been given a 15-month jail sentence by a court in Barcelona, Spain, and has to fork over $22,300 to a homeless man after Ren recorded himself offering the man an Oreo cookie, which he'd injected with toothpaste to replace the cookie's usual filling. The verdict handed down Friday also calls for the 21-year-old to take down all of his social media accounts for five years. The New York Times notes Ren had been dared to carry out the prank, which took place in early 2017, by one of his followers; the homeless man threw up after eating the cookie. Newsweek reports Ren went back to record at least two more interactions with the man before a bystander finally called the cops.

The homeless man, IDed as a 50-something Romanian migrant named Gheorge L., tells El Pais via Newsweek that he'd "never been treated so poorly while living on the street." Ren's defense to the court: "I do things to mount a show. People like what is morbid." The judge wasn't having that, saying Ren had made nearly $2,500 in ad revenue from the video. In her ruling, Rosa Aragones also noted, "This was not an isolated act," citing other videos Ren had made targeting "easy or vulnerable victims." In the now-deleted video, Ren says he "may have gone a bit far" but says the one "positive" was the toothpaste would help the man's teeth: "I don't think he has cleaned them since he became poor." Justice likely won't be literally served: Ren probably won't end up behind bars, as the law in Spain typically suspends sentences under two years if the crime wasn't violent and the perp is a first-time offender. (A prank by a Wendy's worker was deemed "totally unacceptable.")

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