Indonesian YouTuber Ferdian Paleka and two of his friends were recently arrested for a video in which they "pranked" transgender women by giving them "aid packages" of "food" that were actually filled with trash — rotten vegetables, bricks, and other garbage, according to Newsweek.
In the now-deleted video, Paleka and two friends drive while Paleka explains their plan to "distribute basic necessities containing bricks and rubbish." In the video, he uses transphobic slurs to explain their plan.
"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," he says. According to Newsweek, "Bencong is an Indonesian slur for trans people and waria is an Indonesian slang term combining the words for 'man' and 'woman.'"
In the video, Paleka continues, "[Trans people] do not obey the government, so, don't blaspheme us — we only want to help the government." The Indonesian government has "taken a hardline stance against its LGBTQ citizens," raiding LGBTQ gatherings and targeting individuals as well.
Paleka's video shows him and his friend handing over the "noodle boxes" full of trash and laughing while the transwomen open and are disgusted by the contents. The video led to an outcry from LGBTQ activists on social media. According to The Jakarta Post, some said that Paleka is known for posting videos that "degraded women and sex workers."
One of the victims of Paleka's prank, Sani, said on Kompas TV, "We decided to report [the incident] to the police to create a deterrent effect for the perpetrator so that such things will not occur again in the future."
Though Paleka's friend, Tubagus Fahddinar, eventually turned himself in, it was four days of police searches until Ferdian Paleka was arrested. During that time, he posted a fake apology to Instagram in which he showed no remorse and wrote that he would turn himself in if he got 30,000 more followers first.
However, the police monitored Paleka's father and uncle and were able to catch them on the road and arrest them when his father picked him up.
According to The Jakarta Post, the Bandung Police Criminal Investigation Department alleged that Ferdian Paleka "had violated Article 45 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law on defamation, as well as Article 36 of the same law." Paleka now faces up to 12 years in prison and a fine of Rp 12 billion ($804,000).
"[We were] treated like trash," said Dini, one of the victims of Paleka's prank. "We hoped to get noodles but it turned out they were [a brick and garbage]. I feel hurt and humiliated."
YouTube itself removed the video from its platform and claimed that it violated the site's policy on harassment and bullying. It's not yet clear what Ferdian Paleka's sentence will be, but he and the friends who appeared in the video with him will have to pay for their cruelty and discrimination.