A viral video captured the confrontation between a group of Chinese tourists and a piano-playing YouTuber at a train station in London.
A confrontation erupts: British pianist Brendan Kavanagh, also known as Dr.K, found himself at the center of a spat with a group of tourists waving Chinese flags at a public piano in the St Pancras International station.
In the video, livestreamed on Kavanagh's DrKBoogieWoogie YouTube channel on Jan. 19, he was initially seen engaging with the tourists, referring to them as “Japanese.” At one point, he asks one of the women in the group if she'd like to dance. When she declined, he returned to the piano and commented, “Whatever, I think British girls are more fun.”
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Tensions escalate: Later in the video, members from the Chinese group express that they want to use the piano. After vacating the piano, Kavanagh continued filming, which sparked an objection from a woman in the group. She insisted that he stop as they were filming for "Chinese TV" and their footage was "not disclosable." Kavanagh challenged her, asking which Chinese law prohibited him from filming in a public space. A man from the group reiterated their refusal to be filmed, citing their need to protect their rights and avoid having their images shared online.
Accusations emerge: The confrontation intensified when the man accused Kavanagh of inappropriate touching, which the pianist vehemently denied. One woman accused Kavanagh of provocation, stating he played a "discriminatory" song and mistakenly addressed them as Japanese instead of Chinese. Amidst the heated exchange, members of the Chinese group threatened legal action.
Police intervention: The situation attracted the attention of the British Transport Police officers, who affirmed Kavanagh's right to film in a public place. Since it is not illegal to film in public spaces in the UK, law enforcement lacks the authority to prohibit public filming unless it involves criminal or terrorist activities. The officers, who escorted the group away from the piano, returned shortly after, revealing that the tourists had requested the video's deletion.
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Viral incident: As of this writing, the video has so far garnered 4.8 million views and ignited online debates about cultural sensitivity, freedom of expression and the implications of public filming. Kavanagh claimed in a subsequent video that there were attempts to take down the livestream.
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