A TikToker says in a viral video that while on vacation in Miami, she and her friends were sexually harassed by a man who was publicly masturbating. The woman also says the employees at the Starbucks where the incident occurred did nothing to help her, though the company refutes this.
The woman, Halley (@halleykate) on TikTok, said she and her friends were picking up their mobile orders at the Starbucks location when a man followed them in and began masturbating behind them. Her video detailing the incident received 8.5 million views and more than 25,000 comments on TikTok as of Thursday.
In the video, Halley walks outside as she describes the incident as “the most horrifying, traumatizing thing of (her) life.” She said she never believed that things like this really happened in real life, but now she knows better.
She said that morning, she and her friends went to Starbucks to collect their mobile orders, and when they arrived, a man ran up to the door to hold it open for them. Halley said she thought the man was trying to be “a gentleman.”
Halley and her friends went straight to the mobile order counter to wait for their drinks, she said. As they were waiting, Halley noticed that the man who held the door open was standing behind them and wearing socks without shoes and boxers without pants. She said she then realized the man’s hands were in his boxers.
“I really wasn’t paying much attention to it. I’m from New York City, I see a lot of weird shit, so I was just like whatever,” Halley said in the video. “I really assumed the best for him.”
Since the Starbucks store was busy at the time, Halley said she had to wait “a really long time” for her order, and she eventually turned around and looked at the man again. This time, she said, she realized he was masturbating. Halley shared a brief, partially covered video clip of the man standing by a wall and allegedly “jerking himself off.”
Halley said at that point, she and her friends were cornered, and she was too scared to say or do anything about the man because she didn’t want him to put his hands on her.
Halley said she was “eyeing” the Starbucks worker trying nonverbally to get them to help, but nobody did anything. She said the man was staring directly at her and her friends, clearly masturbating to them.
“There are so many people in this Starbucks, [but] no one is doing anything,” Halley said in the video. “Me and my friends are just standing there frozen solid, terrified.”
In a statement to the Daily Dot, a representative for Starbucks said employees called local authorities immediately after being “alerted to the customer’s behavior.”
“We want our stores to be a welcoming environment and our partners are empowered to address any behavior that doesn’t meet our 3rd Place Policy,” the representative said, referring to Starbucks’ guidelines against illegal behavior in stores.
Eventually, a woman who appeared in her 20s stood up for the girls, Halley said. The woman began taking a video of the man while “screaming” at him to get out. Halley said the woman also threatened to send the video to the police.
Halley said she was scared that the man was going to physically retaliate, so she said she and her friends sprinted out of the Starbucks. They ran outside to meet with their other friends who were sitting outside the Starbucks waiting for them.
“While we’re sitting outside, the Starbucks people just let him walk outside, follow us, sit down at this table and continue [masturbating],” Halley continued in the video. “Also TMI, I’m just going to mention though, I already watched him finish in the Starbucks. Like it was dripping out of his pants—don’t know how he was still going.”
Halley said after the man sat near them, her friend group started walking away to avoid the man. She said that they began walking, the man chased after them.
Halley explained that a couple of people tried to help, but the girls were mostly on their own and “sprinting” down the streets of Miami with the man in pursuit.
Eventually, Halley said, the girls were able to flag down police officers who chased the man and used a stun gun.
“He’s clearly very mentally ill and I would assume on drugs, and I am just glad we got him off the streets so he doesn’t do that to other girls,” Halley said in the video. “But he did just give me a little bit of trauma, and this is just a PSA to stay safe, ladies.”
One viewer said they were “traumatized after just hearing” Halley’s description of the encounter.
“I’m traumatized after just hearing this,” one viewer commented on the video.
“The most traumatizing part is no one did ANYTHING besides another girl who was also just as traumatized,” another viewer commented.
Other viewers said they felt ill hearing the story.
“I am so sorry my stomach is in knots,” one viewer wrote.
“I am literally sick to my stomach i am so freaking sorry,” someone else said.
Another person said, “I cannot believe no one said anything.”
Several viewers said that experiences like Halley’s are too common among women.
“You’re in a group of 4 people, in broad daylight, in a crowded public space, and this still happens?!? Literally couldn’t be safer that is so so scary,” one TikToker wrote. Halley replied to the comment, “Exactly!!! You never know, like literally you always have to be aware as a woman!!”
“Men will never understand what it’s like being a woman. In broad daylight, in STARBUCKS!!!!!!!!! I cannot,” another viewer said.
The Daily Dot reached out to the creator via TikTok comment.
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