Viral video of woman pouring bleach on men 'manspreading' is huge publicity stunt
Back in September, a video of a woman pouring a mixture of bleach and water onto men's crotches on public transport went viral after receiving huge amounts of criticism.
In the clip, Anna Dovgalyuk, a 20-year-old student from St. Petersburg in Russia, approached men on the subway who were "manspreading" (i.e. taking up too much space by spreading their legs) and threw a bottle of clear liquid onto their trousers.
"We not only cooled the manspreading down but also marked them with identification spots," Dovgalyuk told reporters, "so everyone can immediately understand which body part controls the behaviour of these men."
She continued: "This solution is 30 times more concentrated than the mixture used by housewives when doing the laundry. It eats colours in the fabric in a matter of minutes – leaving indelible stains."
Now, it has transpired that the whole thing was a publicity stunt made to discredit feminism.
One of the men included in the video, Stanislav Kudrin, recently gave an interview in which he disclosed that the entire thing was fake. Rather than promote a feminist message, it was actually propaganda commissioned by the Kremlin intended to increase hatred towards feminists.
This has been backed up by EU vs Disinfo, a group dedicated to exposing Russian propaganda.
"The video stages extreme feminist activism and manages to provoke extreme anti-feminist reactions," they said.
"The video and its reactions also echo negative messages about feminism, the #MeToo movement and ‘political correctness’ in the West, which Russian state television has repeatedly delivered."
Unfortunately, the clip may have been exposed as a hoax too late, as there are already thousands of hateful, anti-feminist (and just general anti-woman) comments online about Dovgalyuk's actions.
Some of the top comments on the above video include: "Another crazy feminist man-hating nut case!!!", "I would gladly kill her. Yeah, put me in jail afterwards.", and "Ban feminism. We need gulags for feminists."
People also said that Dovgalyuk was "a lesbian", deserved to be "punched in the face", and that "feminism is cancer".
In reality, no rational feminist would support pouring acid on someone - but, thanks to the Russian propaganda, feminism and other female-focused political ideologies are being dismissed as extremist beliefs.
Dovgalyuk recruited people for the video back in September 2017, warning applicants that they should be prepared for "a large number of views" and that they "will be recognised on the streets".
The channel the video was originally posted on, In The Now, is a social media faction of RT (Russia Today).
According to Disinfo, the channel "specialises in distributing viral videos, only some of which have direct or indirect political messages. Like its sister project ICMY, In The Now does not clearly advertise its relationship to RT and thereby the fact that it is owned by the Kremlin."
If you see any other videos from In The Now or ICMY, then, it is possible that they are Russian propaganda intended to spread a negative political message about a group or ideology that they disagree with - so don't jump to conclusions if you see something as ridiculous as this!