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NEW YORK (AP) — A video recording the comments a woman hears as she walks around the nation’s biggest city is a testament to the pervasiveness of street harassment women face, its creators said Wednesday.

The comments come continuously as the woman walks through the streets of Manhattan — “What’s up, Beautiful?” and “Smile!” — and there’s even a stretch when a man just silently walks right next to her for several minutes.

The video, shot over 10 hours one day in neighborhoods all over the borough and edited down to a 2-minute final product, has set off a storm of outrage on its way to more than 10 million views since it was released online Tuesday.

“This is having a very serious impact on the way we live our lives,” said Emily May, executive director of Hollaback!, the anti-street harassment organization that put out the video.

The footage, which was shot and edited by Rob Bliss, was captured by a camera Bliss had in his backpack as he walked several feet of front of actress Shoshana Roberts, who was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and walked silently along.

At no point did Roberts make eye contact with any of the men she passed or talk to any of them. That didn’t stop the comments from coming. When she didn’t respond, one man told her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more!”

Roberts said the number of comments the day the video was shot was nothing out of the ordinary for her.

“The frequency is something alarming,” she said.

Martha Sauder, walking on a Manhattan street on Wednesday, agreed that street harassment is a problem and said it happens to her frequently.

“It’s inappropriate. It’s like an invasion of your space,” she said. “I’d like it to stop.”

But the video also has faced some online criticisms, among them that the men shown all seem to be minorities. Bliss and Roberts emphasized that the comments came from all racial groups, and Bliss said some interactions that were filmed couldn’t be used for reasons like the audio was disrupted by passing sirens.

“My experience, what we documented, it was from everybody,” Roberts said.

Another criticism was that some men’s comments seemed innocuous: “Good morning,” ”Have a nice day.”

Some men could have been “genuinely being nice,” said Gerard Burke, a Brooklyn resident who readily acknowledged street harassment exists and has seen it happen to women in his family. He said he thought the video shed light on a bigger problem, “but some people just genuinely want to say hello.”

That’s the problem with street harassment, May said, because when there’s a fear that a simple good morning could escalate into sexual comments or actions, there’s a reluctance to engage at all.

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(Photo Source: AP; Video Source: YouTube)

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22 thoughts on “Viral Video Documents New York Street Harassment [WATCH]

  1. So, what happened to the white guys who gave the woman a shout out? I think the purpose of this edited piece was to show Black men as being some kind of animal. But it didn’t work, the comments the woman received were polite. Way to go brothas. That shyt backfired.

  2. no one should be harassed. But if all you’re doing is saying hello possibly to get a response and strike up a conversation because a gentleman or a woman find someone attractive I don’t see a problem with that. Now if they decline the attention then you keep it moving it’s just a simple I don’t see what the problem is

  3. Soooo let me get this straight. It’s ok to flirt on dating sites; but not in person? As far as I’m concerned male/female dating/communicating is out of sorts. I have numerous friends, and relatives that are dating, and married; but lots of women can’t find anyone to date; much less marry. And NO….THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO GET MARRIED. I know several young people in their 20s (educated, good looking, etc.) that have NEVER been on a date (even while they were in college). Now that’s sad as H.

    • specialt757 on said:

      “It’s ok to flirt on dating sites; but not in person?” This difference is, on dating sites you’re inviting or asking for the attention. Just walking down a street trying to get to your destination as quickly and safely as possible many may not want this kind of attention.

      • seriously on said:

        I agree, with amount of sexual predators, rapists and murderers out here, most women just one want to get home in one piece and you cannot be that friendly out in public. You need to be aware of surrounding and avoid aggressive behavior…I really do not think catcalls are sexy or enduring nor does commenting on my jeans, and definitely not following me….And dating site is the place to flirt because that is their purpose. A lot of women walking the street to and from work, purpose is to arrive home safely….Besides, isn’t catcalls and stalking tactics cheap and low class.. I think so and definitely not someone I would talk to at all.

  4. Has the world gone mad, or what! There’s nothing wrong with cat-calls as long as they are respectful. I get cat-calls all the time; from all hues. Black, white, and brown. It can be flattering. Lighten up folks. Believe me (SOME) women wish they could get attention from males

  5. klysha on said:

    I don’t think men realize the volume of comments, some polite, some rude, and some downright scary the average woman receives on a typical walk home from the bus station. I understand that some men saying hi are just being polite, but some use your response to their advance as an invitation to violate your sense of personal safety. I’ve had men follow me or get all in my personal space on many occasions. The problem is you don’t know whether the guy saying hi is just going to be nice and let you go about your day or if he’s going to be the guy who’s going to follow or threaten you so sometimes you have to walk with your “bitch face” on just to get home in peace. Men need to learn not to be offended by that and teach other men that it’s not cool to make women feel uncomfortable that way.

  6. Is she new to the planet ? These have been the mating calls of the HomoHornyerectus forever. She dont just have a T-Shirt and jeans on but a well Fitted t-shirt and jeans. It would appear she is showing off her assets and these males appareciate her doing so.

  7. Anthony on said:

    I think that saying HI, Hello how are you doing? or You look nice today? is perfectly fine, she shouldnt
    have been rude! ,hateful, or bitchy about it! But to those who follow her, or make sexual slurs should
    be the ones address, and leave her alone! But those guys saying hi ,hello beautiful, how you doing?
    is fine and dont deserve to be treated with additudes! I mean its getting real hard to say hi anymore!
    and sometimes the pretty girls dont appreiate the comments? I’m just saying dont treat all guys the same the GOOd ones vs Bad ones!

  8. Anthony on said:

    I think that saying HI, Hello how are you doing? or You look nice today? is perfectly fine, she shouldnt
    have been rude! ,hateful, or bitchy about it! But to those who follow her, or make sexual slurs should
    be the ones address, and leave her alone! But those guys saying hi ,hello beautiful, how you doing?
    is fine and dont deserve to treated with additudes

    • specialt757 on said:

      I believe “additudes” is spelled attitudes. It’s not the saying of hi or hello that’s the issue. When women respond sometimes guys take it further and think that’s their cue to continue a conversation, when clearly she doesn’t want one. IMO I believe the short-film as to give a glimpse into attractive women’s lives who walk down any street any town, USA. However, if she was unattractive, she wouldn’t get this kind of attention. Let her have been fat and ugly, no one would even give her a second look.

      • seriously on said:

        Thank you special, It is better to ignore them because they will take it further and when you tell them no thanks etc….Here comes the bitch and rude comments. I do not speak to anyone I do not know beforehand while I am in public…I do not respond to hi, bye…Can I buy you a drink (NO thank you). Because it is better not to engage these people. And I really do not trust guys who catcalls and comment on her jeans…And that one walking with her for minutes is just down right scary. I guess if she would have called the police she was over reacting…Most mature reasonable women is just trying to avoid conflict, incidents and being someone’s victims..which cannot be done with pleasantries.

  9. Kevyn Thomas on said:

    So now men are not supposed to like beautiful ladies and make a fool at of them selves trying to get a woman’s attention. I thought he who tries the hardest gets the gal!

    • seriously on said:

      Well such a man is a fool…Every men and women should know their worth and I expect women like intelligent men…I would think if you see a woman on the street and people are catcalling and talking about her jeans and she has yet to respond to any of them…Then if you are trying hard, you wouldn’t do the same (catcalls and comments and such). That is not working hard that is working stupid…Because that approach is not working….

  10. seriously on said:

    This is not a male vs. female issue…It is about unacceptable behavior, it is about disrespectful behavior and that guy following her for 5 minutes. That is over the top, beyond the boundaries of civility…I mean a man can admire a woman in passing, woman admire men in passing…But beyond that is violating personal space of others. I mean come on man, their is enough free porn on the web, half naked to naked women on the web and all times of x-rated chat rooms…You just do not have the right to treat another like that….It is the same thing as a black man walking down the street minding his own business and a cop just start following around…You know that is wrong as well and I am sure black man feel a sense of humiliation and embarrassment about that as well. No male vs. female, just treat people how you want to be treated, how you would want your daughter, sister, mother to be treated..

  11. Timekeeper on said:

    Every day there is a blog or statement, or situation broadcast in the news or on radio that continually drives men and women farther and farther apart. No, I hate catcalls, even despise them. Never did even before political correctness became vogue. America is bent though on a gender debate and bashing on both sides that comes straight from the pit. every time men and women start pointing fingers at one another, I see Satan somewhere on the sideline just laughing his butt off.

  12. King James-Why do women have to be “bitches” just because we don’t appreciate “catcalls” in the streets?

    How would you men like it if women did the same to your asses?

    Some men have a total lack of respect for women these days!!!! You need to go back into your caves where you belong!!!!!!!!

    • seriously on said:

      You are the prime example of why these antics are closer to harassment than an compliment. Only small men resort to name calling because a woman do not accept their unsolicited advance.

      And any man that calls a woman a bitch, it just a little boy pretending to be man…And just cannot do it!

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