‘The damage this can cause is unreal’: Woman secretly records strangers for fake TikTok ‘tea,’ and people are enraged

An unknown TikToker tried to gain internet fame when she recorded two strangers at a bar and created a false narrative about their relationship. Now, the footage is going viral — but not in the way she had hoped.

Uploaded by a user known only as Heather, the original TikTok has since been deleted (as has Heather’s entire account). However, the footage lives on thanks to another TikTok user, Kelsi (@kbuffhen) — who claims to be a very close friend of the people recorded in Heather’s video.

Now, Kelsi is clearing the air, along with her friends’ good names, and slamming people like Heather for violating people’s privacy and spreading false rumors, all in the hopes of going viral.

Kelsi’s video response begins with Heather’s since-deleted footage, in which viewers can see two dressed-up people smiling and chatting at a bar.

“Hey y’all from Nashville,” Heather asks from behind the camera. “Is this your husband?”

Kelsi stops the footage there to begin her response — but for those curious about how the rest of Heather’s TikTok went, the original footage lives on thanks to users like Russell Ellis (@teatok_tea_eo), who screen-recorded the video.

In Russell’s recorded footage, Heather goes on to say, “I’m pretending like I’m taking a selfie and he’s looking at me. He has a musical note behind his ear on his glasses. Is this your husband? She was talking about what a narcissist his wife is, and he was agreeing with her.”

The recorded footage then cuts to a group shot of well-dressed people — including the couple we saw allegedly flirting at the bar. In the center of this group is a woman in a red dress, whom Heather addresses.

“So I think this is his wife in red. I think this is her. And [the first woman from the bar] is talking to her. And she was saying what a narcissist his wife is. So yeah.”

By filming and uploading this video, it’s likely Heather was trying to imitate other viral videos of allegedly cheating husbands being outed online.

However, according to Kelsi’s response, Heather’s narrative was completely false.

‘I don’t know what kind of person just crazily decides to narrate random strangers at a bar…’

“Hi from Nashville!” Kelsi’s response begins. “Just wanted to let you know that that’s not my husband, but that is my best friend and his girlfriend. And the beautiful woman in the red dress is a really good friend of mine as well. And her husband was there.”

Kelsi goes on to explain that she knows every single person in Heather’s video, as they are all friends she invited to that evening’s black tie event — which happened to be a fundraiser for a nonprofit animal organization.

"I know you don't know anything about them. You just casually and nonchalantly narrated some story because you had nothing better to do with your time," Kelsi continues. "I don't know what kind of person just crazily decides to narrate random strangers at a bar ... It's really uncomfortable to see that people just film people for fun. I don't understand what your point in this was."

According to Kelsi, she attempted to contact Heather via private messages and comments, in order to let her know she was wrong and request that she remove the videos — but, because she was unable to reach Heather, Kelsi turned to TikTok to film her response.

"I hope you take a lesson in this and maybe think twice next time. ... You don't know people. You don't know what they're doing. You don't know if they're doing something good or bad. And even if they are doing something bad, honestly, it's none of your damn business."

Is it legal to film someone in public without their consent?

According to Recording Law — a website updated annually with local and regional recording laws — the laws on recording people vary significantly from state to state. So, are people legally allowed to film you in public? The short and sweet answer is: It depends.

Recording Law states that there are several factors to consider in determining whether recording is legal, including:

  1. Consent: In some states, known as ‘one-party consent’ states, it is legal to record a conversation or video as long as at least one party consents to the recording. … However, other states are ‘two-party consent’ or ‘all-party consent’ states, where all parties involved in the conversation must consent to be recorded …

  2. Expectation of Privacy: In general, people in public places cannot reasonably expect privacy, so it is usually legal to record them. However, this can depend on the specifics of the situation and local laws …

  3. Use of the Recording: Even if the recording was legally obtained, how it’s used can also be subject to legal restrictions. For example, using a recording for blackmail, harassment, or other illegal purposes could be a crime. Additionally, publishing a recording might be subject to defamation, libel, or slander laws, or it could potentially violate a person’s right to publicity.”

To determine whether or not recording someone is legal, Recording Law advises people to check their state laws.

‘Why are people so desperate for something bad to happen to other people?’

Since uploading her response, Kelsi’s video has gained over 3.3 million views, 207,000 likes, 4,800 saves and 7,000 comments — most of which expressed shock at Heather’s false narrative and clout chasing.

“She so badly wanted to create one of those TikTok dramas that spread and go viral,” commented @shizzaff2.

“this click craze is going to get dangerous. You’re a good person for making this video,” wrote @jbonez09.

“Some of the TikTok ‘tea’ stuff has gotten so ridiculous. Why are people so desperate for something bad to happen to other people?” commented @kristinc_88.

“People are out of hand. The damage that this can cause is unreal,” added @mmmmmmmmmmmmm968.

Since Heather’s account has been deleted, In The Know by Yahoo was unable to reach her for comment.

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