Citi Bike Karen controversy and viral video.

Citi Bike Karen

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Updated May 22, 2023 at 05:23PM EDT by Philipp.

Added May 18, 2023 at 07:54PM EDT by Philipp.

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Citi Bike Karen is a nickname given to a pregnant woman who was filmed arguing with a group of Black men over a rental bike near Bellevue Hospital in New York, shouting for help and crying before eventually giving up the bike. Initially accused of racism and "weaponizing tears," the woman became a subject of viral debates online as some dubbed her a Karen. Several days after the video of the incident went viral, the media reported that the woman was the one who rented the bike first, sparking a backlash against those who initially accused her online.


On May 13th, 2023, Twitter[1] account @Imposter_Edits uploaded a one-and-a-half-minute-long video that showed a pregnant woman in a nurse uniform refusing to give up a rental Citi Bike bike to a Black man who claimed that he paid for it. In the video, filmed in the vicinity of Bellevue Hospital in New York, the woman cries for help as both she and the man hold onto the same rental bike. The woman repeatedly asks the man to stop touching her and then starts crying until eventually agreeing to give up the bike. The video (shown below) garnered over 14,800 retweets and 87,400 likes in five days.

Help! Please help me! Help!


After the video went viral on Twitter, it was followed by reactions and debates among users on the website, with some users accusing the woman in the video of racism. For example, on May 14th, 2023, American attorney Ben Crump tweeted[2] that the woman "weaponized her tears to paint the man as a threat." The post gained over 4,500 retweets and 21,100 likes in four days (shown below).

On May 15th, Twitter[3] user @thejournalista then tweeted that the "CitiBike Karen" had deleted her social media accounts, accusing her of attempting to "get those young Black men killed." The tweet received over 4,600 retweets and 42,300 likes in three days.

On May 16th, 2023, Bellevue Hospital wrote[4] that the woman in the video, who is employed at the hospital, would remain on leave pending a review.

On May 18th, New York Post[5] reported that the woman's lawyer provided receipts that show that she was the one who purchased the bike ride. According to the report, the bike was taken out before being relocked one minute as one or several individuals in the group pushed the bike back into the docking station after claiming that the bike was theirs.

Following the development, several posts accusing those who attacked the woman and accused her of being racist went viral on Twitter[6] (example shown below).

Helen Andrews @herandrews If she has receipts proving the bike was hers, then what actually happened was a bunch of youths ganged up to harass a 6 months pregnant woman—as you might have guessed from the beginning, if you actually watched the video and heard them laughing at her. 34+ TALS NYC HOSPITALS 11:07 AM - May 18, 2023 756.8K Views ... Before 20. Bellevue Ja NYC hospital 'Karen' paid for Citi Bike at center of viral fight with... The Bellevue Hospital employee - who was branded a "Karen" on social media afterward-rented the bike first, lawyer Justin Marino said in a statement to ...

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THIS, this shit right here is why I wait for details to emerge.

People will actually tell straight up falsehoods, verifiably false, and it'll spread like wildfire. It was her bike, her receipt is being admitted to evidence by her lawyer, even the initial article had to be updated to say shit like "allegedly".

The people raising their pitchforks and doxing her family are no better than the "traditional" racists on the other political extreme. Some people just want to feel hate and anger.

And because of this? Reporting on actual racism will be next to impossible. I could wake up tomorrow and see people freaking out about literal klansmen popping up and burning crosses and my mind will default to "Is there any truth to this or did people exaggerate things out of proportion again?"

…And knowing how things like this go with Jussie Smollet and Bubba Wallace it could absolutely be the latter. Those were news stories about LITERAL lynching attempts… at first, only to be revealed to be intentionally fabricated in one case, and somehow mistaking a garage pullstring for a noose in the other (or lying about it for clout).

This kind of reporting will send race relations BACK, and has become so bad any real racism will fly under the radar for the average person.


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