A TikToker recently apologized after his “random act of kindness” video sparked backlash.
The 22-year-old content creator, whose real name is Harrison Pawluk, went viral after posting controversial video which has gained over 64 million views on TikTok.
The video shows Hawluk handing a stranger a bouquet of flowers at a food court, asking the woman to hold them while he puts on a jacket. He later tells the woman to “have a nice day” before he walks away, leaving her stunned.
TikTok “random act of kindness” controversy
When the video, which is captioned “I hope this makes her day better” was first posted on TikTok, it was mostly perceived positively.
“My heart! That made her feel so good and it looks like she might have needed it” one user wrote.
Another wrote “When she started crying i couldn’t hold it back.”
But not long after the video started blowing up on the social media app, the woman, Maree, shared her thoughts about the viral clip.
“These artificial things are not random acts of kindness” she says. “It’s the patronising assumption that… older women will be thrilled by some random stranger giving them flowers.”
Maree says she initially didn’t “think much of it” when the video went viral, but she later felt “dehumanized” and “like a clickbait” when reports described her as “an elderly woman” with a “heartbreaking tale.”
Following Maree’s comments, users are now calling out the TikToker for exploiting strangers for views.
“Exploitation king” one user wrote. Another commented “If you record yourself doing a selfless deed, is it really ALL that selfless?”
“So men really can never just leave women in peace huh, no matter how old we get.” a user wrote, gaining hundreds of likes.
Harrison Pawluk’s apology over controversial video
TikToker Pawluk has now apologized to Maree, although he refuses to take the video down.
“Maree I apologise for what has happened and I would love to be able to owe you a coffee and to be able to get you a bouquet of flowers that are more to your taste” he says.
Pawluk, whose videos boasts millions of views, stresses that he only makes videos with good intentions.
“I know my true intentions and I know that if I can inspire even 1 percent of the people that watch my content to go out there and do something good, I have done something that I believe is good for the world.”
He pointed out that he’s not targeting elderly women, as his content includes a wider range of demographics.
“The person that I look for in a video is just someone that I believe is going to appreciate the gesture.”
The TikToker continues to post “random acts of kindness” videos to his 3.2 million followers.