A K-Pop Cover Dancer Gets Sexually Harassed While Filming—Here’s What Is Happening

A video clip of a K-Pop dance cover went viral for the wrong reasons.

Content Warning

This article includes descriptions of bullying, graphic content, and sexual assault that may disturb some readers.

A recent K-Pop dance cover has gone viral, but not for reasons you would expect.

K-Pop dance cover group 404 Dance Crew was filming a video of themselves dancing to aespa‘s “Next Level” in Times Square in New York City when an unidentified male suddenly came up behind one of the dancers, Yingqi, and sexually harassed her.

Yingqi | @yingqi_zhou/Instagram

A video was posted online that shows how the man was watching the group perform from the sidelines before he approached Yingqi from behind. He then thrust his pelvis, and she became aware of his presence when she moved backward. While she attempted to continue dancing for the team’s sake, she was clearly horrified.

| @whatisnewyork/Instagram

She has also revealed that the Instagram account WhatIsNewYork (@whatisnewyork) had reposted the video of the incident inappropriately captioned “TikToking in Times Square #whatisnewyork.” She requested them to delete or at least edit the caption as it did not reflect the true events accurately.

| @whatisnewyork/Instagram

Yingqi also asked for an apology. Since their video was posted, there were many rude comments directed to her, and some even defended and praised the man for his vulgar actions.

  • “The world could learn a thing or two from him.”
  • “Good for him, ruin their stupid idiot videos.”
  • “Public space, fair game”
  • “I’d do the same thing”
  • “She backed into him…and then his drunk ass took the opportunity to bump her back. They are at Times Square…there are strangers there…strangers can be weird…I saw a guy jack off on church steps at night once…this ain’t so bad”

There has, however, been a large number of comments condemning the man and speaking out in support of Yingqi. Some have called out how disgusting the actions were and how the comments that defended and applauded the man showed prejudice and misogyny.

| @whatisnewyork/Instagram

| @whatisnewyork/Instagram

| @whatisnewyork/Instagram

Yingqi has since released a statement in regards to the incident on her Instagram account. She began by sharing what dancing personally means to her.

I should say something about this stupid thing that happened a few days before. We are a group of people who love dancing, and we always gather together to do the dance cover video shoot. We want to convey happiness and a positive attitude towards life through dancing. Dance, like music, knows no borders. We’re doing what we love. We don’t even dance for a living, just for the sheer joy of it, also for people who love our dance covers to see us grow. Over a dozen dance cover shots, ppl have witnessed our growth, and we are also improving ourselves according to people’s comments and suggestions. I think this is what every dancer and everyone who loves life will do and deserves praise.

— Yingqi

404 Dance Crew | @_404_production/Instagram

Yingqi then shared her firsthand experience from that night when she was sexually harassed while filming the dance cover. Rewatching the incident occur on video again, she still felt sick.

I was the girl who was sexually harassed. When this happened, I was horrified. But we were filming at that time, and I didn’t want to affect the whole team’s progress because of my feelings. Our camera recorded the entire thing. After shooting, I watched it at home again, and I still felt sick about the man and the horrible behavior.

— Yingqi

| @yingqi_zhou/Instagram

She called out the preconceptions that people have regarding seeing any type of dancers filming videos in public. She debunked all of the preconceived notions people were making about herself and her team.

If anyone’s friend or relative is sexually harassed like this, we should offer understanding and comfort under any circumstances, rather than look at it as jokes and fabricate facts, right? I don’t know what those ppl are thinking about when they made these comments, like ‘he is the national hero,’ ‘lmao,’ ‘well-done, sir.’ It’s wrong. Some people say we are recording TikTok videos, and these influencers can do anything for traffic. First of all, we don’t even have a TikTok account. Second, even if we are recording TikTok videos, does the man have the right to harass women sexually? Is this moral logic?

— Yingqi

Yingqi called on people to stop hating and attacking others for any reason, whether based on gender or race. She then shared her love for New York but said that the city should better protect those who live there.

No one has any right, under any circumstances, to engage in such vulgar and disgusting acts of sexual harassment against anyone. It’s not just about Asian people. It’s not just about women. Basic morals should protect every girl, every boy, every woman, every man, every race. I love New York because of its diversity. The city has its personality; also filled with my good memories. I don’t want these offensive people to ruin my passion. Every New Yorker from around the world has an obligation to protect this wonderful city. Also, the city should protect everyone who is trying to make a better life here. I am Chinese; please stop Asian hate. I am a person who lives in the world; PLEASE STOP HATE.

— Yingqi

She concluded her statement with a thank you to those supporting her and speaking up on behalf of 404 Dance Crew. She said, “Whether it’s my team, friends, or strangers, you have brought a ray of hope and warmth to the world. This world is beautiful because of you.” 

| @yingqi_zhou/Instagram

At this time, WhatIsNewYork has still not edited their caption but has remained active on their Instagram account, posting more content. Recently, Yingqi shared an update in the comment section of her Instagram post, addressing the situation with the account.

Thank you guys for paying attention to the thing. But all I want is just an apology from whatisnewyork and a reason why he blocked my friends and me. Please do not quarrel and argue. Peace and love. No need to follow this account. Pay more attention to yourselves guys! Love you all!

— Yingqi

Read Yingqi’s full statement below:

You can watch 404 Dance Crew’s dance cover below:

Source: NextShark, @whatisnewyork, @yingqi_zhou and Image