Weird online fakers are pretending to be the Birmingham Spoons racist for money and followers
One tried to charge me £30 for a promo on their Insta story
You’ve seen the video of a girl allegedly racially abusing a black bouncer outside a Wetherspoon in Birmingham, calling him the n-word and a “black c*nt”.
It’s been everywhere, and the bouncer has said the experience was worse than having a knife pulled on him.
An arrest has been made – you’ve probably read about it in the tabloids. And some places are even reporting that the girl has come out and apologised.
It is, frankly, exactly the kind of apology that somehow makes the person look worse:
“I am infact not racist at all,” it says. “I have several black co-workers who I love dearly and have even dated black men.
“At the end of the day we are all entitled to freedom of speech we shouldn’t be abused for it.”
It’s almost the kind of apology you’d write if you were deliberately taking the piss. Munya Chawawa has even made a video about it.
The Daily Star has written the story up as “Woman who racially abused and spat at bouncer claims she was ‘drunk not racist’”. Outlets like Indy100 initially reported it as straight fact – this was a real apology – before softening to “someone purporting to be the woman in the video”.
But there’s every chance it’s not just a fake apology, but a window into how a viral video showing some abhorrent racism has become a golden opportunity for clout-chasers. The apology is just the tip of the iceberg.
Instagram is overrun with accounts claiming to be Sharna Walker – and some are even trying to get people to send them money
The Tab identified at least 13 accounts claiming to be Sharna Walker, with similar pictures, no post history, and most posting the same apology.
Nearly all the screenshots of the apology circulating attribute it to an account called Sharnawalker3.
Alongside the apology, it’s put stories up including a vote inviting followers to choose between “Ok I forgive you” and “I don’t forgive u.”
That same account was also putting posts on its story saying a page called @2mwad had the video, and was needing to take it down.
It claimed there was a new video, showing Sharna had in fact been assaulted by men – a video which we haven’t seen evidence of.
“Some shitty meme page @2mwad has posted the full video of what happened after at the bar so you know my side of the story,” it said.
“I was harassed and assaulted by MEN this shit is not okay but nobody is talking about that.”
The story then goes on to say: “Whoever is behind the Instagram page @2mwad I am kindly asking you to delete the video of me being assaulted if you have any heart you will take it down”.
At first glance, this doesn’t check out. A statement released by police says a woman was detained at 1pm yesterday, and not bailed until some time later. The story was posted around half 1.
But as this guy on Twitter has been quick to point out, it looks suspiciously like a “growth hack” – a way to tempt people to your page with the promise of the video.
And it’s worked – @2mwad has grown from around 27,000 followers to more than 52,000 followers overnight.
So what was the truth? I reached out to them, but didn’t hear back. The email address on the @2mwad profile didn’t work, and I didn’t get an Insta DM reply.
That wasn’t the only fake Sharna Walker page trying to finesse the situation. One, inventively named @sharna_walker_worcesterbosch (the girl in the video doesn’t work for Worcester Bosch, despite rumours), had the bio: “IM FAMOUS I DONT CARE WHAT I SAID, I MENT EVERY WORD !!! ALL LIVES MATTER”
Of course, the account had – like all the others – posted the apology. But its story was full of posts from a series of related meme pages – a pretty standard way to drive people to those pages and give them a nice boost in followers.
Another account was just straight up asking people for money, with a bio reading: “Send me Bitcoin if you feel bad for me”.
A further Sharna Walker profile had filled its story with posts from various different accounts – meme pages which look connected, as well as a repost of the Munya Chawawa video. When I asked how much it’d be for a story promo, I was told £30 and sent a screenshot of the number of people who had viewed a recent story – 8,555.
The person behind the account insisted they were the real Sharna Walker, as they had a selfie on their profile nobody else had. I said, of course, if they were the real Sharna then it’d be easy to send a pic of them with three fingers up. “Not doing your demands” was the convincing reply.
Maybe one of the accounts is actually real – but there’s no denying the number of fakes, piggybacking on the situation.
And you might think that nobody could possibly be taken in by all this. Yet under almost every one of the multiple, identical apology posts on the different profiles, people are going in. They’re apoplectic at the mealy-mouthed words.
While some of the fake accounts just seem to be clout-chasing, one person’s Sharna Walker catfishing seems to have been all for a cause – exposing people. In a TikTok, the person behind one of the accounts said “I was pretending to be Sharna Walker for six hours. I got lovely messages from people who support racism. SO I EXPOSED THEM.”
The messages included people DMing the account saying “I feel like you’re being misunderstood”, and “we all make mistakes and we learn from it”.
From the dozens of fake Sharna Walker accounts, is there really any lesson to be learned? Do the hordes of fake accounts, jumping on the back of some horrific public racism tell us anything about ourselves? Anything deep about the society we live in?
Probably nothing, except that clout is a powerful drug.