A TikTok prankster is facing hate and backlash after staging a messy stunt that splashed milk and cereal all over a crowded subway car in New York.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority tweeted that the stunt created a huge mess that its workers had to clean up when they’re straining to keep subways clean and safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The MTA’s tweet reads:
”A new low: Pulling a prank on essential workers in the middle of a global pandemic. And making essential workers clean up your mess. Despicable,”
Josh Popkin, who has 3.3 million followers on TikTok, pretends to accidentally spill a large plastic storage container of milk and cereal on the floor.
In a video retweeted by MTA on Twitter, the other passengers scramble to avoid the mess Popkins made and leave the car as he tries to pick up the soggy cereal with his hands and ends with him getting off the train leaving a huge puddle of milk behind.
While the video is not dated, the other passengers are wearing masks, which suggests it was shot during the coronavirus crisis. The video had been viewed at least 3.3 million times on TikTok, but it was no longer visible on Popkins’ profile as of Friday afternoon. The video the MTA tweeted had 6.2 million views.
Social media users called on Popkin to be arrested, kicked off of TikTok, banned from the MTA, or be required to clean the trains as punishment.
According to a CNN report, an NYPD spokeswoman said that the department is looking into the matter.
Popkin has posted apologies on his TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube accounts called himself an “idiot” and said he really messed up.
“I would like to apologize to the MTA, the essential workers, everyone I have affected,” he said in the YouTube video.
Popkins said he is now feeling the consequences of his actions.
“I honestly thought it was going to be something that would make people laugh and bring joy in this serious time. Obviously, I was way off the mark,” he said. “I f***ed up, I went over the line, I made a mistake and the fact that I even thought that that was okay is ridiculous.”
The YouTube video lasts for more than five minutes and Popkin spends much of the time reading 50 angry comments people have made about him, many of which included threats of violence. That led some viewers to question his sincerity.