A TikToker has apologized for a viral video that left viewers divided about an encounter at a gym.

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Jessica Fernandez shared a video to TikTok earlier this month that she took while working out at a gym, complaining that a stranger who was there was staring at her and being inappropriate by offering to help her with weights.

At face value, her frustration may be relatable to a lot of people. Women frequently share stories of being gawked at or bothered by men they don’t know at gyms, to the point where some go into these situations on the defensive. 

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And maybe that’s what happened with Fernandez, but people soon started pointing out that the man she was recording didn’t seem to be doing anything particularly untoward. He glanced at her a few times, then offered to help her with a weight, seemingly leaving her alone as soon as she declined.

The TikToker was called out by fellow fitness influencer Joey Swoll, who pointed out the man in question may have glanced at Fernandez multiple times for innocuous reasons, including that they were working out near one another, she was recording a video that was already pointed directly at him, and she kept talking to herself.

Swoll himself stressed that women getting harassed at the gym is a real issue, while offering a different perspective that ultimately led to blowback on Fernandez for overreacting and putting the man on blast across the internet.

It also led to her eventually offering a lengthy apology after reflecting on the situation.

“I know many people think that I’m only apologizing because I got called out from the video I posted and this is half right. If I wasn’t called out for this video I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn from this mistake or even realize I made a mistake to begin with,” she wrote. “Before writing this I was posting whatever made me feel justified for the video which was wrong on my part and I am extremely immature for doing so and trying to make light of a situation that is a lot more serious and should be taken that way.”

Fernandez’s lengthier statement seemed to suggest she had really put the effort into looking at the situation from another perspective, which some people seemed to appreciate.

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Others were not as eager to accept her apology.

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Either way, the situation seems like a good reminder that not everything needs to be recorded and posted on the internet.

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*First Published: February 1, 2023, 7:35 am