A transgender woman captured herself being harassed on video by a self-identified TERF, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist, at a Cheesecake Factory.
In a TikTok posted on March 10 by Lilly Contino (@lillytino_), a woman is heard verbally harassing Contino while she is dining at a Cheesecake Factory.
“You know I’m a TERF, right?” the woman yells at Contino. “You’re a boy, right?” She then threatens to hit Contino “hard.”
Shortly after, the woman leaves and a Cheesecake Factory manager is heard apologizing to Contino.
On Wednesday, Contino’s video had over 11 million views.
@lillytino_ A self-identified TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) threatened me at the @cheesecake ♬ original sound – lillytino
In a follow-up video, Contino says the woman may have been intoxicated and that she left once Contino asked to speak to a manager.
“No guest should ever be made to feel unwelcomed in one of our restaurants, and we are sorry to hear of this incident,” The Cheesecake Factory’s senior vice president of operations, Spero G. Alex, said in a statement to the Daily Dot.
Many commenters on Contino’s viral video expressed their support for how she responded to the harassment.
“You handled this so well,” @mostly_sane_cat_lady commented.
“Wow,” @jacobtheseahorse wrote. “I’m so so sorry you experienced this.”
“The way she instigated it and then acted like you were provoking her,” @shannon.chaos.edition commented.
In an interview with the Daily Dot, Contino said she didn’t feel physically threatened by the woman yelling at her, but she was “flabbergasted” by the woman’s behavior and said that it didn’t feel real.
“It’s tough times out here for trans people,” Contino told the Daily Dot, referencing the anti-trans bills introduced, being voted on, and passed in state legislatures all across the U.S, and public, anti-trans statements from public figures like J.K. Rowling.
“Those words from the people at the top are what empowers and emboldens people to act out in public like that woman did.”