A Word from Hollaback! Belfast on that viral video

Over the last few days, a video of a woman, Shoshana B. Roberts, being harassed over 100 times in 10 hours while walking through Lower Manhattan has been getting a huge amount of attention. This video was produced in collaboration between Rob Bliss Creative and Hollaback headquarters in New York.

Hollaback’s presence in Ireland, North and South, want to clarify that this was created and distributed without our input and while it has been associated with Hollaback, we do not condone the racial bias shown in the video.

Rob reached out to Hollaback! New York about creating a video as a result of witnessing the amount of street harassment his girlfriend was experiencing in New York. Hollaback! New York came to the agreement that Rob would have complete creative control over the video and owns the video, with unlimited usage rights for Hollaback.

The virality of this video has led to a public conversation about street harassment in a way that was unimaginable even a few years ago. This video is causing people to discuss street harassment and share their experiences of street harassment, which is a core part of Hollabacks’ aims.

However, while we are grateful for the conversation this video is creating we are also aware that this video perpetuates some harmful myths about race, class and street harassment.

Hollaback! Belfast and Hollaback! Dublin want to make it clear that we realise street harassment is perpetrated by people of all races and social classes, all over the world. You can read many examples of street harassment in Dublin and Belfast on our websites.

It has been reported that many white mens’ comments were edited out of the video due to issues of production quality, an action which we do not condone. We can’t say anything to justify or make up for the upset this video has caused. We want to make clear that we work against racism and myths of cultural street harassment. We are saddened that the editing decisions made regarding the video have allowed so many people have used this video to perpetuate these myths.

We also want to say that these criticisms of the video itself in no way take away from Shoshana’s experience that day and every day. We stand in solidarity with her as she receives rape threats for simply appearing in the video: no one deserves that, and her experience that day looked truly frightening and exhausting.

The best ways to help us to silence the myths around race and street harassment is by sharing your story of street harassment and taking our survey on street harassment. Collecting data in this way will help us to show that street harassment happens here in our own cities and is perpetrated and experienced by people of all races.

For the statement on the video from Hollaback! headquarters see here.

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