Shoshana Roberts, the woman who appeared in a viral video that showed her being subjected to incessant catcalls over the course of 10 hours walking around New York City, is reportedly suing both anti-street-harassment group Hollaback! and video director Rob Bliss, on the grounds that both parties used her likeness to "promote their agenda."
"10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman" has received more than 40 million views to date. Reached by e-mail, a spokeswoman for Hollaback! said that while Bliss published the video on a personal YouTube channel, he "asked if he could put a call to donate to Hollaback! at the end of the video to raise awareness about street harassment."
According to Hollaback!, this was the extent of the collaboration between nonprofit and director.
Last fall, Hollaback! stated that Roberts "volunteered to be the subject" in the video. After it went viral, she was subjected to numerous rape threats.
TMZ reports that Roberts is suing for at least $500,000. Her lawyer Kevin Goering told the tabloid that Roberts, who reportedly did not have a written agreement with Bliss, didn't get "everything she was promised" after the video went viral. According to TMZ, Roberts is also suing Google, YouTube, and T.G.I. Friday's for an undisclosed amount. The fast food chain played off of 10 Hours in a notably tone-deaf ad back in March:
The Hollaback! spokeswoman added via e-mail that, "We haven't been served and don't have any information about this case, or further comment at this time." Bliss, also, had no comment. We have also reached out to Roberts's lawyer, and will update with any additional information.
This is not the first time parties have clashed over 10 Hours, which many viewers have claimed was edited to reflect racial bias. Two days after the video was published last October, Hollaback! issued a statement distancing itself from Bliss's company. According to Hollaback!:
"We are grateful for his [Bliss's] work and the wide reach that this video has achieved but we feel the need to directly address other responses to the video. We regret the unintended racial bias in the editing of the video that over represents men of color."
In response, Bliss told us that "demographics of NYC have to be considered" and that "a video where whites are in the minority, and blacks/hispanics make up the majority isn't even that strange from a statistical demographic standpoint."