Newsweek is reporting that Indonesian YouTuber Ferdian Paleka could face up to 12 years in prison following a transphobic “prank” he and his friends filmed and posted earlier this year.
Paleka’s channel has a pretty substantial following despite being a relative newcomer to the platform. At the time of writing, the account has been around for about 5 months, and yet it is well past the 100k subscribers mark with over 9 million total views.
The “prank” video has since been deleted for violating YouTube’s terms of service after a mass-flagging campaign brought it to the company’s attention. Footage still survives on the platform, however, in the form of reaction/commentary videos and some apparent reposts.
In the video, after throwing around some transphobic slurs on camera, Paleka gave out “aid packages” to trans women, claiming it was food.
Upon opening it, they discovered it was actually rotten bits from the garbage and chunks of concrete.
The video sparked a lot of outrage, though not, initially, any criminal charges. PinkNews reports that in a follow-up false apology video, Paleka seems unphased by the backlash, stating “I personally would like to apologize for what I’ve done… not.”
The Indonesian government is not known for being particularly progressive when it comes to LGBT issues. As Paleka himself states in the original video, “[Trans people] do not obey the government, so, don’t blaspheme us—we only want to help the government.”
But, perhaps giving into immense public pressure, police later arrived at his home amid a swarm of protesters, leading to a chase which ultimately resulted in his arrest. He is being charged under Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions law, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 years in prison.