Big lie behind fruit-spitting video
A video claiming to show a woman of Asian appearance who had "tested positive for COVID-19" being arrested for spitting on fruit in a Sydney supermarket was widely shared on social media - including by a prominent Australian sports personality.
It's now proven to be false.
The edited footage first showed a woman being handcuffed outside a Woolworths outlet as the officer told her: "Put your hands out, you're resisting arrest."
One example of the video widely shared on social media was overlaid with the text: "Disgusting … she was tested positive (sic) for COVID-19 n caught spitting on the fruits."
The second part of the video shows a woman appearing to spit or sneeze on what look to be bananas in blurry footage from inside a supermarket. It was overlaid with the text: "Chullora Woolworths." The edited video was widely shared on social media between March 23 and March 25.
However the first segment of the video dates back to March 19 and it was the arrest of a woman at Gordon, in Sydney's north.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police told Storyful the woman was arrested after a "disturbance" involving a staff member, and that the 54-year-old had refused instructions from police and staff to leave the supermarket. She was later released without charge.
She also appears to be wearing a different outfit to the woman "spitting" on the fruit.
The spokeswoman added the incident was unconnected to the second segment of the video - said to show a woman spitting on fruit - about which NSW Police had no information.
Based on images tagged to the Gordon Woolworths, Storyful has confirmed the first segment of the video was filmed at this location. However there is no evidence the 'spitting' footage was filmed in an Australian supermarket, and the fruit layout and displays visible in the video bear no resemblance to images recently tagged to the Chullora Woolworths.
One version of the video, posted to Facebook late on March 23, had more than 573,000 views less than 48 hours later and had been shared over 32,000 times.
The video was attributed to a TikTok account, @damansingh120, which had also posted the footage, however the post was removed by the afternoon of March 25. When contacted by Storyful via a linked Instagram account, the uploader incorrectly claimed the video had been filmed at "Chullora Woolworths bro".
Since the edited video began to be widely shared, it was picked up across mainstream and fringe social media networks, with many users attaching racist commentary.
In one thread on the 4Chan message board, a still from the video was posted with the comment: "Ch*nks are purposely getting everyone sick!!!"
On March 25, the video was posted to Twitter by controversial Australian sports and media personality Sam Newman with the caption: "'Racist', I hear you shout."
The post remains despite Newman quickly being told it was fake.
Originally published as Big lie behind fruit-spitting video