YouTube contains hundreds of videos of the toothpaste-filled-Oreo prank. A cursory search will turn up many of these videos showing children tricking their family into eating a fluoride-filled faux treat. But in January 2017, a teenage, Barcelona-based YouTuber published a video showing a particularly cruel spin on this common prank.
In the video, Kanghua Ren, known to his followers as RetSet, films himself scraping out the filling from Oreos, filling the cookies with toothpaste, then giving a package of mildly toxic snacks to a man outside a supermarket. (The Independent has excerpts from the now-deleted video.)
Last week, The Barcelona court issued Ren a 15-months prison sentence and a €22,000 (£19,500) fine for violating the “moral integrity” of the homeless man, according to the New York Times. The court also ordered Ren to shut down his YouTube and social media accounts for five years.
Ren’s most recent video was published two weeks ago. He has more than 1.2 million subscribers and his videos have been viewed more than 111 million times.
After Ren tried to dismiss the video as a bad prank, the judge reportedly countered that Ren made €2,000 ( £1,800) from the video in which he hoodwinked the 52-year-old homeless man, identified by prosecutors as “Gheorge L.” The man reportedly vomited soon after eating the cookies.
Gheorge told El Pais he had “never been treated so poorly while living on the street.” According to the Spanish newspaper, he was born in Romani and used to make a living as a shepherd.
The YouTuber was 19 at the time he filmed the prank. “Maybe I’ve gone a bit far, but look at the positive side: This will help him clean his teeth,” Red said in the video. “I think he hasn’t cleaned them since he became poor.”
As the Times points out, Ren is unlikely to spend any time in prison, as first-time offenders who receive sentences under two years rarely serve any time.
But at least YouTube will likely be free of one cruel prankster’s twisted videos until he reaches the ripe old age of 25.