- In YouTube videos, a woman captured an encounter she had with another woman in Victoria’s Secret.
- The woman who was recording launched a GoFundMe to hire an attorney and has raised over $85,000.
- Victoria’s Secret and the mall released statements. The woman said TikTok unfairly barred her.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ijeoma Ukenta, a Nigerian American woman who was seemingly chased by a white woman in a Victoria’s Secret on Saturday, has raised over $85,000 on GoFundMe to hire an attorney to defend herself against the woman.
The encounter, which Ukenta captured in a now viral six-part YouTube series, occurred at The Mall in Short Hills in Millburn, New Jersey. In the fifth video of the saga, Ukenta displays what she says is the police report for the incident, and it says the Victoria’s Secret staff corroborated Ukenta’s version of the events.
Online, the woman’s actions have morphed into a viral meme, and she has been given the nickname “Victoria’s Secret Karen.”
“Karen” is a slang term usually used in reference to a white woman who is said to act out of a sense of inflated self-importance, according to The Guardian.
‘Victoria’s Secret Karen’ viral videos, explained
In the first video, which does not capture the exchange that sparked the conflict between the two, the woman appears to charge at Ukenta. Then, the woman lies in a fainting position on the store’s floor near the cash registers and begins to scream and sob, pleading with Ukenta not to record her “mental breakdown.”
In later videos and in what Ukenta says is the police report, Ukenta says that everything began when she was scanning the store’s offering of underwear and the woman started browsing items uncomfortably close to her. Ukenta says that she asked her to “back up” but that the woman instead went to the cash register and told an employee that Ukenta had just threatened her. Ukenta says she decided to start recording the scene on video, which she says led to the confrontation caught in the first video.
After the initial scuffle, the woman appears to chase Ukenta around the store while alleging that Ukenta “threatened her.” Then, the woman calls the police on Ukenta. Eventually, both the mall security guards and the police arrive, and the woman appears to leave the mall.
In what Ukenta says is the police report, the woman said that what she did was “wrong” and that she experienced a panic attack after realizing Ukenta was recording her. She also said she has an “anxiety disorder” and was anxious about Ukenta recording her because she was afraid of “losing her job and apartment.”
Ukenta accused the mall security and police of mishandling the situation
In the third video, subtitled “Security acts oblivious,” Ukenta is seen speaking with a guard in Victoria’s Secret who says he has no idea which woman she is referring to. He asks her if “everything is OK.”
“No, I feel in danger. No, everything’s not OK. Ask them,” Ukenta says, calling over the Victoria’s Secret manager to corroborate her account.
In subsequent videos and on the GoFundMe page, Ukenta says she was unhappy with how the authorities dealt with the situation.
“I was treated like it was 1920 in Short Hills Mall. I was assaulted and harassed by a white woman and nothing was done by the security nor the police,” Ukenta’s GoFundMe description says. “I’m looking to hire me an excellent attorney who can help me bring light to this wrong.”
On Tuesday, the Victoria’s Secret Twitter account released a statement about the incident. It referred to it as an “altercation between our customers” and called the video “unsettling.” In the post, the clothing company added that it had “initiated a full investigation” into the matter.
Victoria’s Secret did not respond to a request for comment.
On Facebook, The Mall at Short Hills addressed the event in a comment on an unrelated post: “We certainly take this matter very seriously,” it said. “We never want a single customer to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome at The Mall at Short Hills. We sincerely apologize to Ms. Ukenta for her experience.”
Ukenta alleges that TikTok unfairly banned her videos of the event
On Monday, Ukenta released a YouTube video alleging that TikTok unfairly banned her account, @greengardenbunches, for “bullying” after she posted the Victoria’s Secret saga. Meanwhile, she says in the video, the platform allowed the user @IamLoveKills’ reposts of her videos to stay on the platform and garner millions of views.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Ukenta’s account was enabled, and her TikTok videos of the event were available to watch.
Ukenta and TikTok did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.