A frustrated busker stood up to a ‘rude’ heckler by mocking his manhood in front of shocked shoppers – only to be accused of ‘body shaming’ when she showed off the clip of her row.
Samantha Lloyd was performing Somewhere Over The Rainbow in Walsall, West Midlands, when the passer-by made the mocking remark that he would ‘pay 20 quid for her to shush’.
But the 28-year-old claims she was ‘at the end of her tether’ due to the amount of abuse she has received recently and decided to stand up for herself.
Footage shows the musician halt her performance, brand his comment ‘rude’ and challenge her critic to ‘say it to her face’ before branding him an ‘abusive little boy with a little…’ and then saying it gave him a ‘complex’.
But after sharing the clip to TikTok to raise awareness of the verbal abuse buskers receive, Samantha was shocked to find that hundreds of commenters sided with her tormenter.
The video, which has received more than 15million views since being uploaded, has been bombarded with hate comments, with some commenters pushing for somebody to find Samantha to ‘knock her teeth out’ and ‘throw hot coffee’ over her.
The level of abuse was so high that Samantha was forced to block more than 600 TikTok accounts in one day.
Samantha, from Stoke-On-Trent, said: “Getting verbally abused in the street is happening more often now, since COVID.
“It’s like people came out of their houses, after being locked away, and thought, ‘We’re going to take it out on the buskers’.
“I’ve been a busker for nearly five years. Nowadays I genuinely feel lucky if I go busking and not receive at least one rude, hateful or obnoxious comment.
“On this occasion, there was a group of four lads, about 17 years old. One of them made the comment and the others were laughing.
“I’m not saying I handled the situation as well as I could have. I’ve handled similar situations far better in the past.
“I was at the end of my tether, I’d had enough. There’s only so much a human being can take.
“I wasn’t intimidated by the lads at the time, I was just full of rage.
“I don’t think I handled it very well, but I very much feel there’s only so much we can take as human beings.
“I’d had another person make a comment to me that day. This man basically said to me that I should get a real job, and I shouldn’t be on the streets doing this.
“There are hundreds of people who engage with my music and who are kind to me, but it’s the rude ones that aren’t nice who I remember.”
The full video shows Samantha singing before a lad offscreen can be heard remarking “I’ll pay 20 quid for you to shush.”
Samantha responded: “That’s rude. Come say it to my face.
“Come on. I’m serious mate. Come say it to my face. Yeah, you can keep walking. Off you go, little boy. Little boy with a little…
“Obviously got a complex, haven’t you, if you want to abuse women in the street?
“Yeah, go on. T**t. Sorry about that, sorry. What is it with young lads?”
Samantha took to TikTok to share the interaction as a way of raising awareness, but the response has been divided.
Samantha said: “When I shared the video, I wanted to make a point about how this wasn’t okay and how I wasn’t going to stand for it. It’s not okay and it will never be okay.
“People don’t have to listen to me singing, there’s no need to come up and be rude to me on the street.
“Since sharing the video, I’ve had people come to me saying I’m body shaming him. It’s a disgrace – do they expect me to just take it?
“He was rude to me first, he abused me first.
“I don’t know why I was expected by so many people to take it. Everyone’s of the opinion that I put myself in that situation, it feels like victim-blaming.
“The nice comments rise to the top, but the other day, I had to block 625 accounts on TikTok.”
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Abusive comments spilled onto Samantha’s other social media platforms, as trolls gathered to mock and harass her.
Samantha said: “I’ve had to turn off the comments on my live streams. I was having people come in to comment stuff like ‘Give up’, ‘You’re s**t’, ‘Go home, you can’t sing’.
“I’ve been busking since the video went up, and it’s intimidating. I received threats saying they were going to find out where I was busking and chuck hot coffee over me.
“I also had people saying they wanted to find me so they could rip my teeth out and smash my face in.
“People were commenting on my appearance, saying my side profile is horrendous, that I need a nose job, that I need botox, that I need a forehead reduction, that I have no t*ts.
“I’ve had people responding with their own videos – and these people are adults. Worst of all, some of these people are women not supporting other women. They’ve made me out to be a foul woman who deserves all the abuse.
“The majority of the hateful comments are from men, who clearly feel bruised by a joke about genitalia.
“I even had a 13-year-old girl go to the effort of finding me on Instagram. She sent me a screenshot of some of the abusive comments alongside laughing emojis.
“I just said to her, ‘You’re a 13-year-old girl. You should not be acting this way to other girls or other people. How would your mother feel if she found out this was the way you were treating other women on the internet?’
“It makes me glad TikTok wasn’t a thing when I was 13 years old.”
Since being flooded with online abuse, Samantha has also seen her followers increase, and has received bookings for jobs.
Samantha said: “I just want to focus on the good things, but it’s hard. It feels like people have picked up on my insecurities and used it to their trolling advantage.
“I’ve gained over 70,000 followers on TikTok as this has happened. I went from like 34,000 to over 100,000.
“I would imagine most of the comments have been supportive or positive, but it’s hard to say as there must be over 30,000 comments on that video.”
“Now I’m worried whenever I have people booking me for weddings. Part of me thinks ‘Great’, but another part of me worries ‘What if it’s a troll?’
“Obviously I’m business-savvy so I always take details and deposits, but there is still that worry there.
“This has taught me so much. It’s made me appreciate what it’s like to be somebody in the industry and have my appearance scrutinised everyday.
“I have to remind myself – these people don’t know me. My partner, parents and friends have all been great. They’ve been drilling into me ‘These people don’t know you’.
“I could delete the video, but I’m not going to do that as they’d feel they’d be winning.”
Some of the commenters didn’t hold back in expressing their disapproval of Samantha.
One commenter said: “I genuinely cannot wait for the day where you get what you deserve.”
Another user commented: “You’ve got serious attitude. Sort it out or I’ll be more than happy to.”
One user tagged another account and wrote: “Swear you live in Walsall, beg you knock her teeth out and snap her microphone.”
Another said: “Where will you be next, I wanna come down and throw hot coffee over you.”
However, other TikTok users rallied to show Samantha their support.
One commenter said: “I think she reacted perfectly,” whilst another said: “He [The heckler] deserved to be embarrassed like that.”
One user expressed her disgust with the trolls in Samantha’s comment section as she wrote: “My God these comments, women should be able to stand up for themselves whilst being abused in the street. You did right lass.”
Another commenter said: “The woman is completely in the right and the boys are being embarrassing in the comments.”