The star of a viral video that was used to demonstrate the severe catcalling women experience while out and about is now suing the video’s director for $500,000, according to TMZ, claiming everybody involved with the video has made money except for her.
In the video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” which has garnered over 40 million views since October, Shoshana Roberts is shown wandering the streets of New York, reportedly enduring over 100 catcalls, whistles, and other instances of demeaning conduct. One man even follows her around for a period repeatedly calling after her. The video was cited by feminist activists as proof that women are constantly harassed by men while in the streets, though the video was in turn criticized for supposedly singling out racial minorities as a source of catcalls.
Now, Roberts has sued director Rob Bliss and the anti-harassment group Hollaback!, claiming they exploited her and failed to properly compensate her for doing the film. Besides breach of contract, Roberts accuses them of fraud, violating her right to privacy, and violations of New York civil rights law, according to The Wrap. Roberts is also suing Google, YouTube, and T.G.I. Friday’s (which made an ad parodying the video).
Roberts, who appeared in the video through a Craigslist casting call, told the New York Daily News that she only made $200 for the colossal viral hit. In contrast, she accused the defendants of repeatedly using the video to sell ads and enrich themselves without ever receiving her permission, while she was left to suffer severe harassment from online critics.
The suit isn’t out of nowhere, as Roberts has shown frustration over her role in the video before.
“It’s frustrating when the nonprofit gets donations, and the director gets ad revenue, and I get people wanting to slit my throat,” Roberts told The Village Voice in May.
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