Social media sites are home to countless tales of men taking sneaky photos and videos of young women.
Numerous clips have gone viral on TikTok for calling out “creeps” with their phones out by pools or in gyms, but rarely do we hear from the other side.
However, a Reddit user has now spoken out in self-defence after he was accused of inappropriately filming a fellow shopper at a supermarket.
In a lengthy post, the 21-year-old explained that he was standing behind a “girl that looked in her early 20s” at the checkout when she started “turning around and huffing and puffing”.
Ignoring her, he said he got out his phone to check some text messages from his girlfriend.
“She turned around and saw the phone in my hand then made eye contact,” he continued. “She then freaked out claiming I was video recording her from behind.”
He went on: “I was like what? My phone was pointed towards her back, yes, but I wasn’t recording her.”
The 21-year-old said he tried to explain this to her before turning away, phone still in hand, in the hope that she would “stop”.
“She suddenly demanded to see my phone but I refused to show her,” he said. “That made her assume I had something to hide or was buying time to delete the video I took of her.
“She made a huge fuss, causing other customers to tell me to show her my phone and get this over with,” he added. “But I said ‘hell no’ because I won’t let a stranger look at my intimate texts with my [girlfriend].”
The Redditor said the woman then told everyone that he was “looking at her in a weird way” as if he was “checking her out”, and that she “felt” as though he was recording her from behind.
He said she then got the manager involved who tried to convince him to show her his phone “since [he] had nothing to hide”, but instead he admitted: “I ended up lashing out at them both and leaving the cart full and walking out.”
Ending his account, the 21-year-old said: “I felt terrible since I frequent this supermarket and after what happened there I might not come back.”
He added that he’d spoken to his mother about the incident, who had told him he was “in the wrong” and “should’ve just showed that girl my phone to ease her mind instead of acting stubborn and causing a scene”.
His story racked up more than 800 comments in 24 hours, with fellow Redditors divided over his approach.
“You have a right to keep your phone private, you don’t have to show it to any random person who demands it,” one wrote. “She was in a public place, she should expect other people to be there with their phones (although it would be weird if you did video her).”
Another agreed, saying: “What she’s demanding is an invasive search of your phone. You have a right to privacy. And even if you were taking pictures or video, it’s not illegal. She caused a scene and humiliated you. The manager didn’t handle this properly at all. No one should coerce a search.”
A third added: “She has no right to look at your phone, and honestly even if you were recording her it would just be her back? In a public place? You did absolutely nothing wrong.”
However, a fourth contested this argument, pointing out: “It’s actually a big deal for women and it’s considered creepy to record strangers, doesn’t matter if it’s from the back of not.”
And a fifth remarked: “As a woman in her early 20s, I’ve actually been recorded by men since I was in middle school. It’s a very common occurrence especially in big cities.
“[The woman in the supermarket] was probably paranoid or traumatised, but she shouldn’t have made a big deal about it unless she was 100 per cent sure. You could have just showed her what you were doing, like flash the text screen, without allowing her to read it.”
However, the commentator stressed that she didn’t think the man had behaved like an “a**hole”, insisting that the manager “should have handled the situation better” and “the girl was definitely overreacting”.
“It’s never okay to act entitled to see people’s phones,” she added.
What do you think?