The Accidental Star Of This Viral TikTok Video Just Slammed Its Creator

Being a TikToker can propel some users to global fame and fortune, and with random videos going viral constantly, this happens more often than you'd think. A video, once uploaded to TikTok, will begin to circulate all over the media and the internet at large — provided it has something special that will capture the attention of the masses, of course. While many TikTokers certainly wish for their videos to go viral, sometimes the other people featured in these shorts wish for anything but. That's been exactly the case with Maree, a Melbourne woman who was filmed without her consent, only to become an internet sensation.

If you're wondering what this is all about, let us get you up to speed. Quite recently, a TikTok video exploded in popularity, having been viewed nearly 60 million times as of July 14, 2022. The video was posted by LifeOfHarrison (Harrison Pawluk), a well-known Melbourne-based TikToker with over 3 million followers on the platform. At the first glance, the short is undeniably heartwarming. Harrison approaches a woman sitting by herself and asks her to hold a bouquet of beautiful flowers for a moment as he puts on his jacket. Instead of retrieving the flowers, he then wishes her a lovely day and walks off, effectively gifting her the bouquet. Pawluk captioned the video: "I hope this made her day better."

This wasn't the only random act of kindness posted on Pawluk's TikTok page. He frequently gifts things to strangers, propagating kindness and empathy. While that sounds quite sweet, there is a different, much darker side to that coin, and it has just been exposed by Maree — the woman who received the flowers in Pawluk's most successful video to date.

Pure kindness or an entrance to fame?

In Pawluk's video, Maree is filmed without her knowledge or consent. She appears to be moved by the flowers, and the comments under the video remark on that, with some users saying "that was beautiful," or "she looks like she needed this." The accidental star of Pawluk's viral short spoke up against the situation, sharing her thoughts with Australian ABC Radio Melbourne. She expressed that she felt dehumanized by the way she was treated by the masses despite having no choice in the matter.

She told ABC News: "He interrupted my quiet time, filmed and uploaded a video without my consent, turning it into something it wasn't, and I feel like he is making quite a lot of money through it. It's the patronizing assumption that women, especially older women, will be thrilled by some random stranger giving them flowers." Shortly after Pawluk walked off, leaving her with the flowers, Maree realized that she was being filmed, but the group that was recording her allegedly denied doing so.

The video blew up in a short while, and without wanting to, Maree became the star of many articles. The short, as is often the case, has been reposted to many different platforms. Maree read an article about herself that referred to the story as a "heartbreaking tale" and to her as an "elderly woman." To this, the woman said, "I feel like clickbait."

LifeOfHarrison claims that he means well

It's not illegal to film people in public without their consent in Australia, but it's certainly a moral grey area to benefit from filming strangers. On the other hand, Pawluk is hardly the first person to profit off of similar videos. Even MrBeast, a true YouTube sensation, filmed various acts of charity and managed to gather an audience of nearly 100 million subscribers. This brings us to the question: is it okay to make money from something like that if you're also being kind and attempting to convince others to do the same? Maree disagrees, saying, "These artificial things are not random acts of kindness."

LifeOfHarrison is already big enough of a creator to have his own team, and it was that team that addressed the situation, saying the video was filmed fully legally with the purpose of spreading love and compassion. In a statement, Pawluk's team said, "He offers flowers and pays for complete strangers' groceries, and while cynics may claim it's for views, Harrison simply has a personal commitment to helping people feel more connected and trusting."

Who is in the right and who is in the wrong? There is no universal answer and every person is entitled to have their own feelings on the matter. One thing is certain — as long as people are willing to watch random acts of kindness and are feeling moved by similar videos, there will always be creators out there willing to record them, both on TikTok and elsewhere.