A TikTok user is getting called out online for exploiting one of his girlfriend’s biggest fears, all for the sake of viral content.
On Sept. 27, TikToker John Schoepf uploaded a video of what he believed to be a harmless prank on his girlfriend, Taylor. While in Cancun, Mexico, with some friends, Schoepf decided to push his girlfriend — who is “terrified of sharks” — into a “shark tank,” which, as you can imagine, does not go well.
In the video, one of Taylor’s friends points the shark out to her — but before she has time to process what’s in the water or what’s happening, Schoepf pushes her in. Taylor is immediately helped out of the water, and once she’s safely back on the dock, she starts hysterically crying while Schoepf laughs. While Taylor shakes and cries, the “Jaws” theme plays in the background.
Schoepf’s video — which has racked up more than 960,000 likes and nearly 20,000 comments — has not been received well by TikTok users, who found his prank unnecessarily “cruel.”
“That’s not funny it’s humiliating,” one user said. “So embarrassing to be crying in front of a crowd of people while being recorded. This was cruel not funny.”
“Messing with people using their real fears is not funny,” another added. “It’s beyond cruel.”
“This is simply extremely abusive behavior,” a third commented.
In a follow-up video, Schoepf defended himself with Taylor by his side, explaining that his girlfriend was never in any real danger.
“I know everybody hates me, but … people were in the water petting [the shark],” he said. “Everybody hates me, but [Taylor] doesn’t hate me that much.”
“We’re very happy,” Taylor added.
This didn’t placate users, though, who still thought Taylor should leave her “manipulative” boyfriend.
“This is emotionally abusive and you shouldn’t have to deal with it,” one person said to Taylor.
“You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who PROTECTS you from your biggest fears not THROWS you in front of them,” another added.
“Break up with him,” a third reiterated.
If you or someone you know is struggling to get out of an abusive relationship, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with a representative here.
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