A New York City hospital employee has been suspended after a viral video showing her trying to take a rental bike from a group of black youth garnered millions of views online.
The incident, which was first posted on Twitter on Saturday, appears to show a white woman in a NYC Health + Hospitals scrubs arguing with a young man about a Citi Bike she says she has already rented. The man has his hand on the bike as the woman yells, «Please help me.»
NYC Health + Hospitals operates Bellevue Hospital.
It’s unclear what happened before the minute-and-a-half video began, but the young man does not appear to touch the woman in the posted clip, nor does he appear to verbally threaten her.
At one point, the woman removes her work ID badge and tries to push the man on the bike with her body.
«This is my bike. It’s on me,» says the man holding the bike.
The woman also appears to be crying, though another person in the video accuses her of faking it.
«You’re acting,» says the man recording the video. «He’s pretending to cry. Stop pretending to cry.»
At one point a bystander can be seen trying to intervene. About a minute into the video, the woman walks away from the bike and the recording stops.
The woman was not identified by Bellevue Hospital, which is operated by NYC Health + Hospitals. Bellevue apologized in a statement the day after the video was posted, saying she was reviewing the incident. In a follow-up on Tuesday, the hospital called the video «disturbing.»
“The provider is currently on leave and will remain on leave pending a review,” the hospital statement said Tuesday. «As a healthcare system, we are committed to providing an environment for our patients and staff that is free from discrimination of any kind.»
The video had been viewed on Twitter more than 40 million times as of Wednesday afternoon, with many social media users pointing to the risk black youths face of being accused of wrongdoing in situations involving white women.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump was one of many who posted the video and commented on Twitter.
“She rudely tried to weaponize her tears to paint this man as a threat,” Crump wrote. «This is EXACTLY the kind of behavior that has endangered so many black men in the past!»
NBC New York he tried to reach the woman at her Brooklyn apartment, but no one answered or returned calls for comment.
The man who posted the video did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Janhvi Bhojwani contributed.