In 2005, a viral image broke the internet. It consisted of a man with unbelievably disfigured features. The meme was published by YTMND, a famous memers’ paradise. The person in the photo was highly mocked and made fun of, partially due to the fact that people doubted any such real person ever existed. The ongoing debate on the internet about this person led Snopes, a fact-checking website, to jump in and get the photograph checked. The results came out positive. The photograph belonged to a real person with features disfigured to such a great extent. His name was Brian peppers.
Who is Brian Peppers?
Brian Joseph Peppers, commonly known as Brian Peppers, was born on November 1, 1968, to Bert Mahion Peppers and Joyce C. Peppers in Whitehouse, Ohio, the United States of America. Brian suffered from either Apert Syndrome or Crouzon Syndrome since his birth, which caused the disintegration seen in his facial features. Most information available affirms that he was suffering from the latter.
The syndrome had not just affected Peppers’ facial features but also his height and other physical features. Brian was only 4-feet and 1-inch tall and he weighed around 100 pounds. His appearance caused his parents to hate him to the extent that they decided to abandon him. There is not much information available about the circumstances Peppers grew in or where did he spend the rest of his life. However, given the fact that he suffered from disfigured features, his parents hated him, and he never married or had a child, it can be assumed that whatever circumstances he faced, they were not very nurturing.
Brian Peppers & the Gross Sexual Imposition Crime
In 1998, Brian was found guilty of Gross Sexual Imposition crime. The term ‘Gross Sexual Imposition’ constitutes a person forcefully coming into contact with someone for the purpose of sexual gratification and especially if the person is under 13 years of age. This means, for someone to have committed this crime, it is important that they have touched a person in their erogenous zones without them consenting to the act sexually.
Brian was accused of coming into ‘sexual contact’ with the nurse tending him. When he was found guilty, he was sent to jail for 30 days and kept under probation for five years. This led him to be identified as a registered sex offender in Ohio’s sex offenders’ registry.
The Memers and their Fad
In March 2005, memers on the YTNMD site created memes about Peppers’ disfigured facial features, and they broke the internet. Once Brian’s identity was confirmed, and information about him revealed, the meme community took their contempt to the next level and continued making dark memes about him. While some websites targeted Brian’s crime and made memes by it, others kept targeting his appearance with continuous ridiculing images coming out each day. Some of the most popular memes about Brian included ‘YOU GON GET RAPED and ‘Brian Peppers, sexual predator. The later became a fad when many others followed suit and created memes with the text ‘Brian No.’
Brian gained so much hatred ridden popularity because of these memes that his name was included in Wikipedia’s list of Internet Phenomena under the ‘Images’ category. In 2006, a YTMND user, Grimaf, made a YTMND entry called ‘The Truth about Brian Peppers.’ The clip highlighted his present conditions (back in 2006), which were pretty saddening. According to the user, Brian was living in a nursing home and was wheelchair-bound. The clip ended with asking memers to leave him alone as he already has had his share of ‘rough life’, and the memers have had their laughs.
The Allen Peppers Incident & Continued Memes
Following the ‘Truth about Brian Peppers’ YTMND entry, another user, Allen Peppers, came forward claiming to be Brian’s brother and wrote a letter to the internet community. Allen Peppers asked the meme community to leave Brian alone, claiming that his brother had been through a lot already.
Both Grimaf and Allen Pepper’s letters made people across the internet feel bad for Brian, causing some of them to delete their derogatory websites about him. However, within a few days of first Allen Pepper’s YTMND, another one surfaced, which exposed him as being a fake.
The second YTMND claimed that Brian had left the world for good the morning Allen had made his first YTMND and ended with the text ‘…and he left in a time machine, lol!’ The YTMND users and online community who were already skeptical of Allen Peppers found out that the person behind Allen Pepper’s disguise was another YTMND user with the account ‘digeridude’.
Brian Peppers: Death and Grave
Brian Peppers died on February 7th, 2012 at the age of 43. His cause of death, as cited by close resources, was the complication caused by excessive drinking. He is buried in Ottawa Hills Memorial Park, the United States of America. The details of his last days remain unknown except for the ones made known by Grimaf. It can only be assumed that he spent the rest of his life in Ohio’s nursing home in a wheelchair.
Brian’s net worth was never really ascertained. The news of his death brought the internet community back to life again, and a lot of viral memes were created. Many online websites and internet memers to date create memes about Brian and have put them all over the internet. Some, as usual, focus on his crime while others focus on his appearance. No matter what their focus is, Brian remains the target of hatred, contempt, ridicule, and extremely derogatory in the name of fun.
In the end, it is important to understand that even though Brian Peppers was a sex offender, a crime he was punished for, he was a mistreated human first. No matter what he looked like, if Brian was loved and accepted by his family and society, his name could have been registered in places other than Ohio’s sex registry. The Snopes website, which found out Brian’s true identity, also published some of his high school photos, which were quite saddening to look at. Brian was smiling like an innocent kid in those photos.
Brian Peppers was a facially deformed child who had to bear so much hate and withstand an enormous amount of bullying in his life and even after his death. We, as humans, really need to think about our character in the lives of children and people like Brian Peppers.
Do we inspire them to be better and love them despite their physical or facial disparities? Or stare at them mockingly while breaking the internet with memes about them.