BROOKLYN – The man behind a disturbing video in which a young boy is harassed on a Brooklyn street is apologizing after the footage went viral.
In the video, a young Hasidic Jewish boy is mocked by a man with a cellphone.
“I be crying too if I were you, too, bro,” he is heard saying to the boy.
“That’s f-ed up what they be doing to ya,” referring to the child’s Hasidic sidelocks.
“You probably had the full wash and set. Your sh-t would be fire, if they ain’t cut your sh-t. F–k it, though, bro, it’s your life.”
The video, posted last weekend, generated over a million views across social media, as well as outrage. The man who posted it is identified as Quaishawn James. After his post struck a nerve on, he came forward and issued an apology.
“I just want to sincerely apologize to that young boy and his family,” James said in a video posted on his Twitter page. “I never meant for anyone to get hurt or for this to be taken the wrong way. It was just a joke.”
The aspiring comedian told PIX11 he was doing what most on social media do – "doing it for the ‘gram" – but when he went viral, he realized his video was far from humorous.
“Right there and then I knew I was wrong,” he said. “I started reading the comments and people started re-posting the video and tagging me in it.”
James, who said he’s very active in his community and is in the process of launching a program to help the homeless, said the idea of going viral fogged up his reality.
“Honestly, the way I’m being portrayed out there, I know that’s not me. My mom knows that’s not me. My grandmother definitely knows that’s not me," he said.
According to psychotherapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling, despite the clear repercussions of social media blunders, there is a serious disconnect between the current culture and reality.
“We have people high up who think it’s OK to bully people on Twitter so what is the average person supposed to think?” she said. “'Well so this one does it – why can’t I do it?’ We need that 7-second delay.”
That 7-second delay is something James said he wishes he had.
“The lesson that I hope people learn something from this: think before you do anything on social media,” he said. “It’s so easy for you to get caught up on social media.”
The original video posted by James was reported and has since been deleted from several social media platforms.
Initially, Facebook reportedly did not delete it, citing that it didn’t violate any of its terms. After receiving an onslaught of complaints, Facebook deleted it Monday morning.