A TikTok video posted on Sunday shows the Hush Crew, a K-pop dance group, being harassed for wearing masks while filming a video in Boston. The overlay text of the TikTok, which was posted by crew member Celena Mai (@celenana_na), says “POV: you get attacked for being Asian while doing [K-Pop] in public.”
Mai wrote that the man called the group “communists” and “harassed” them for “wearing masks in public.” In the video, Mai says, “This is America, we’re allowed to do whatever the fuck we want.”
In a follow-up video, Mai said that the dancers wear masks when taking breaks from shooting their videos.
“Just because a lot of people approach us,” Mai says in the video. “So when he first approached us, we were like kind of like not thinking too much of it. That’s why I didn’t get the first half of [the interaction]. I didn’t think he was going to do anything crazy.”
She said that the man asked the group why they were wearing masks.
“But then he started talking about communism,” she says. “And that’s when it hit us: we realized he was being racist towards us just because we were like Asian people wearing masks.”
Mai also said that the “moment” she started recording, the man “swiped” at her phone and at her.
In response to comments she received about the man’s race, Mai said that his race has “nothing to do” with the video. “It’s literally about how we got, I don’t know, singled out,” she says in the video.
In the comments section of the follow-up video, Mai clarified that she views the altercation with the man as a “small incident.”
“I just wanted to show the craziness of doing [K-Pop] in public,” she wrote. “Honestly, this man just needs help.”
In the comments section of Mai’s video, TikTokers said that they felt that the Hush Crew shouldn’t downplay the experience.
“It was not a small incident and he had no right to approach you and your friends and do all that he did,” commented @kedesjourney.
“Do not apologize,” wrote @sozogirl. “You did nothing wrong.”
“Asian hate is real and being a minority doesn’t make you incapable of racism and hate,” commented @violettwomey.
However, in an email to the Daily Dot, Hush Crew founder Aaliyah Flournoy said that “many reposts and comments are making this more about race, but the central issue here is that the man is an anti-masker.”
“Out of our many encounters with aggressive persons in Boston, this was one of the very few regarding race,” she clarified. “Him calling the dancers ‘communists,’ however, can be seen as derogatory, especially when saying it to Asians. And for that, we are obviously offended.”
Flournoy also said that the intention of the video was not its “racial factors” but that it was posted “to show the disrespect we as dancers receive when we dance in public.”
“Believe it or not, this was actually one of the milder encounters we’ve faced,” Flournoy told the Daily Dot.
The Daily Dot reached out to Celena Mai via Instagram direct message.
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