Video Shows Subway Rider Spraying Febreze at Fellow Passenger in Coronavirus-Related Incident

March 6, 2020 Updated: March 6, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

Police are investigating a video that appears to show a man spraying Febreze at an Asian New York City subway rider amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The clip was shared by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which wrote that “racism” isn’t an effective means to combat the spread of the virus.

“What works in stopping the spread of Coronavirus: 1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds 2. Cough and sneeze into your elbow 3. Stay home if you’re sick,” the post read. “What doesn’t work: 1. Racism.”

In the video, the man, who appears to be African-American, can be repeatedly saying, “Tell him to move!” After a few seconds, he grabs a bottle of Febreze or something similar and sprays it at the other rider, who is standing near the door.

A second video that was uploaded on Facebook shows the Asian man confronting the other man after the incident.

“Why is that? Why can’t I sit next to you?” the victim says. A woman then takes him away as the assailant tells him: “You better move – you’re being dumb right now. You’re being dumb.”

Police confirmed they responded to the incident on Thursday.

“The train was no longer there [at the station], so we were unable to take a report,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told the New York Post. “We are investigating it right now. Our Hate Crimes Task Force is reviewing the incident and it’s an ongoing investigation.”

Celia Au, a Chinese-American actress who first posted the clip, also wrote that there isn’t “a single confirmed case of an Asian infected in NYC.”