Indonesian YouTuber Ferdian Paleka is facing intense online criticisms after a so-called "prank" where he gifted rotting vegetables to homeless transgender women.
While the global pandemic has resulted in advanced social distancing between most Indonesians, Paleka went out in public to produce one of his well-known prank videos.
In the video, viewers can see Paleka's car is filled with instant noodle boxes before the YouTuber and a friend pull over and laugh as they pick rotting food out of the trash.
They then load back into the car, listen to EDM music, and casually throw around some intense transphobia, saying:
"If there are any bencong, we'll give them the boxes, but if they're not around, that means this city is safe from waria."
According to Pink News:
"'Bencong' is a pejorative term for trans in Indonesian, while 'waria' is a portmanteau of 'man' and 'woman' and is, as a result, considered discriminatory."
Paleka's video then shows him driving up alongside several homeless trans women. As he gives them boxes, their faces light up at the thought of receiving essential food.
But their joy turns to sadness when they open the boxes and find the rotting veggies.
One of the trans women, identified as Sani by local media, said:
"He said that he wanted to give away fortune...When I opened it, I was shocked and sad, angry."
Perhaps foreseeing backlash to come, Paleka stated in the video that he was cruelly pranking the homeless women because they "do not obey the government...so, don't blaspheme us, we only want to help the government."
Palenka was right to be worried.
Upon the video's release (and subsequent removal) protestors began gathering outside his house.
Even after the intense online criticism, however, the YouTuber does not seem to regret his actions.
He posted a fake apology to Instagram, saying:
"I personally would like to apologize for what I've done… not."
Many are now calling for criminal charges to be brought against Paleka, but it seems uncertain whether this will be the case.
Others are urging people to call on YouTube and Instagram to deplatform Paleka as they have with other users.