UO students' viral video lands them in spotlight

Stendal and Blanton on CNN
Stendal and Blanton on CNN

A week ago, University of Oregon undergrads Samantha Stendal and Aaron Blanton were largely anonymous cinema studies majors toiling their way through final exams. This week – six days after they posted an anti-rape video on YouTube – their world had gone viral.

The pair were interviewed Thursday (March 28) on CNN about the 26-second video, "A Needed Response," which is their answer to the situations surrounding a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, in which two high school athletes were recently convicted.

The CNN interview lasts three minutes and 14 seconds – more than seven times as long as the video, which has now been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

Stendal hatched her idea for the video early in finals week and enlisted Blanton into the effort. They brought in UO students Justin Gotchall and Kelsey Jones to serve as actors in the video, in which Gotchall's character finds Jones' character passed out on a couch after drinking too much.

“Hey bros, check who passed out on the couch," Gotchall's character says. "Guess what I’m going to do to her?”

He brings the unresponsive woman a pillow, a blanket and a cup of water.

"Real men treat women with respect," he says into the camera.

Stendal and Blanton were angered by media coverage of the Steubenville case that focused on how the crime impacted the rapists’ futures rather than its effects on the victim. The UO pair edited their video last Thursday night (March 21) and posted it to YouTube Friday morning.

"I think the intended audience was exactly what the audience ended up being," Blanton said in the CNN interview, in response to a reporter's question. "I didn't think we were actually going to reach it. So the fact that we did so quickly is pretty extraordinary. It shows that's a discourse that really needs to happen."

- from the UO Office of Strategic Communications