Yoseline Hoffman, a Mexican social media influencer better known as YosStop who has several million subscribers on YouTube, on Tuesday posted her first video on the feminist struggle after spending five months in prison for publicizing the 2018 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl, whom the influencer had described as “a slut” and “a prostitute” who deserved what she got.
A judge released Hoffman on November 30 after reclassifying her crime as discrimination rather than child pornography. As part of a deal reached with the victim, Ainara Suárez, Hoffman must pay damages, make a public apology and post one video each month sharing what she has learned from courses she is taking on feminism and gender perspective.
In her first video, titled “History of discrimination against women,” the 30-year-old Hoffman explains that there is still a lot of work to do before women achieve the same rights as men. “These are rights that we’ve had to earn little by little through struggle, rights that were never denied to men out of the simple fact of being men, and this fight against this balance continues, the problem is not yet solved,” she says.
In a little over eight minutes, Hoffman reviews the main milestones of the feminist movement, although she never calls it that, using instead the expressions “fight against the discrimination of women” or “women’s empowerment.”
Sitting on a couch at home, surrounded by her dogs, the social media influencer discusses gender inequality since pre-Hispanic times, ending with recent progress on reproductive rights. “This history lesson is just a small look at a profound problem that is still there, a problem that is still being experienced by many women in our country, in other countries and in the entire world,” she adds.
The video is part of the reparations program imposed by Mexico City prosecutors. Hoffman also posted a public apology on December 3. “I offer you, Ainara, my most sincere apology. To my followers, I say, ‘Stoppers, I screwed up; I was wrong in a big way, I hurt and attacked Ainara without any right to’,” she published on the same YouTube channel where months earlier she had insulted Suárez.
As part of the deal, for the next three years Hoffman will have to attend a monthly one-hour session to learn about discrimination against women and gender violence. Besides posting videos on what she has learned, she must also donate 5% of her monthly earnings to feminist groups.
Hoffman was arrested in June on child pornography charges for receiving, storing, reproducing and publicizing a video depicting the rape of a minor. She was held for five months in pre-trial detention at Santa Martha Acatitla penitentiary. Following the deal with Suárez’s lawyers, the crime was reclassified as discrimination, which does not entail a prison sentence, and Hoffman was released.
Suárez’s nightmare dates back to May 25, 2018. In an interview granted to EL PAÍS shortly after she filed the complaint, the young woman said that four men inserted a bottle of champagne into her vagina at a party that night. They recorded their actions and sent the video to their friends and posted it on social media. The case became even more controversial when YosStop discussed the recording and insulted the victim during a video released to her millions of followers. The scene of a nude minor being assaulted by several men quickly circulated via pornography websites.
From that moment on, a harassment campaign was launched against the victim. Speaking to friends and via social media, the men involved in the video claimed that Suárez had agreed to participate in the sex act in exchange for cigarettes. Suárez said she had to deal with death threats, insults and taunts, which she included in her complaint. She was once also beaten by a group of young women at a park in the south of the city. Dozens of people filmed the assault and the footage went viral.