In 2017, Monalisa Perez shot and killed her partner, Pedro Ruiz, while filming a video they intended to put on YouTube. (The couple expected the bullet to be stopped by a book held up in front of Ruiz’s chest.) On Wednesday, Perez plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
The Guardian reports that Perez’s sentence would be broken up by ten days in jail, ten days out for the first six months. She will serve the final 90 days in home confinement. This is lower than state guidelines for manslaughter, but Perez was afforded some leniency; her lawyer argued that Perez only shot the gun under assurances from Ruiz that the stunt would be safe, and was ultimately not the one who came up with the idea and pushed for its fulfillment.
Ruiz believed that a bullet from a .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol would be stopped by the 1.5 inch book he held up in front of himself for protection. The couple were aspiring YouTube stars, and had been together since they were teenagers. Perez was reportedly pregnant with their second child at the time of Ruiz’s death.
Though they didn’t have an astronomical number of followers, their story is another example of how “content creators” are pushing for viral fame in increasingly extreme ways. Following controversy over YouTuber Logan Paul’s “suicide forest” video, the platform announced it would attempt to reform its reputation by investing $5 million in a program called Creators for Change. YouTube personalities coming up through this initiative are picked for their ability to “counter hate and promote tolerance” with their videos. YouTube has also sworn to adjust what sort of content could be monetized, which hopefully means that no one will ever think they’ll get rich risking their lives and safety ever again.