A New York hospital worker has been furloughed after a viral video that appeared to show her attempting to take a rental bike from a group of young black men garnered millions of views online.
The incident that was was first posted on Twitter on Saturday, appears to show a white woman in a NYC Health + Hospitals scrubs arguing with a young man over a Citi bike he’s said to have already rented. The man has his hand on the bike while 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 have touched the woman in the posted clip, nor does he appear to be verbally threatening her.
At some point the woman takes off her work ID and tries to push the man off the bike with her body.
“This is my bike. It goes into my account,” says the man holding the bike.
The woman also appears to be crying, although another person in the video accused her of faking it.
“You’re acting,” says the man recording the video. “She’s just crying. Stop crying like that.”
At one point a bystander can be seen trying to intervene. About a minute into the video, the woman moves 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 released and said it was looking into the incident. In a follow-up Tuesday, the hospital described the video as “troubling.”
“The provider is currently on leave and will remain on leave pending review,” the hospital’s statement Tuesday said. “As a healthcare system, we strive to provide our patients and staff with an environment free from any form of discrimination.”
The video had been viewed more than 40 million times on Twitter as of Wednesday afternoon, with many social media users highlighting the risk young black men face if they are accused of wrongdoing in situations involving white women.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump was one of many who posted the video commented on Twitter.
“She rudely attempted to weaponize her tears to portray this man as a threat,” Crump wrote. “This is EXACTLY the type of behavior that has endangered so many black men in the past!”
NBC New York 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.