That video of a woman cyclist getting revenge on her catcaller might be fake, but it still happens every day

The fact we so readily believed it shows how prevalent harassment is

A viral video, which showed a woman cyclist chasing after a van of men who catcalled her and ripping off their wing-mirror, has been revealed to be fake, a social media stunt by a London marketing company.

The video, which has received thousands of views on social media today, showed a cyclist being grabbed and harassed by a man in a van, who asked her for her number and shouted “are you on your period”. The enraged woman, followed by a man filming on a motorbike, chased the van and when they stopped ripped off their wing mirror in retaliation. The video ends with the motorcyclist telling the men they deserved it and calling them “scum”.

But the video has actually been revealed to be a social media stunt filmed by Shoreditch content firm Jungle Creations. A builder who witnessed the set up told The Sun: “I was across the road having a break and I saw this very attractive girl with a bike talking to a blonde guy who was giving her instructions.Then three guys dressed in orange site clothes turned up in a van and the blonde bloke was giving them instructions too. He was telling the girl: ‘You need to ride behind the van aggressively’.”

The company behind the video, who say on their website they create “viral video concepts”, say they bought the content from the filmmakers. They told The Sun: “We’ve never worked with them before. As a company we’ve known them for a few years but never really licensed videos from them.”

It’s easy to dismiss the video then as just another cynical viral marketing stunt, but for many women it means a lot more than that. There’s a reason it resonated with them – because even though it might be fake, this kind of catcalling and harassment is an everyday occurrence for millions of us.

Our readiness to believe it down to the fact we’re gullible idiots, it’s because it’s all too real. Women shared it and liked it on social media today not because they were marks for a content firm, but because everyone has felt the same anger and fleeting desire to get your own back on idiots who shout obscenities at you in the street.

It’s disappointing that the video isn’t real, but it’s not a harmful stunt – certainly, much less harmful than the armies of cynical video pranksters who abuse their girlfriends on film for views and notoriety. And hey, if it inspires the next woman in London – or anywhere – who gets catcalled to successfully attack the shit van of the man who did it, then that’s nothing but a very good thing.

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