Star Of NYC Viral Street Harassment Video Is Suing The Director For $500K

Shoshana Roberts, star of that street harassment awareness video that went viral last fall, is suing director Rob Bliss and Hollaback! for $500,000 according to TMZ. The actress claims that she didn’t have a written agreement with Bliss, and the director has been using her likeness to promote his agenda. She allegedly also filed documents against Google, YouTube and T.G.I. Friday’s, for parodying the video in their advertisements.

The video in question is a strange digital artifact that features a white woman walking through New York City while being inundated by catcalls the entire time. When it was released last fall, it aimed to highlight the insidious scourge of street harassment, but, as we wrote at the time, some were quick to notice that those doing the actual catcalling were only men of color. The video also didn’t illustrate the experiences women of color have with street harassment.  The latter was neatly addressed in a response by Collier Meyerson and friends at Jezebel. The former was sheepishly acknowledged by the director in a post on Reddit, claiming that there were plenty of white men who also participated in the harassment, but their audio was rendered unusable by street noise and other obstacles. Uh huh.

The director, Rob Bliss, is the head of a viral advertising agency that produces the kind of treacly dreck you see across Facebook, like this magic piano that wants to subtly sell you the allure of Amtrak and this transformation of a homeless veteran from bearded dirty degenerate to a regular Joe. All of these are unsettling, uncomfortable works of smarm, insincerity masking itself as genuine emotion, just like the catcalling video was. Shoshana Roberts is right to sue and we hope she wins. [TMZ]