tiktoker fiona in vietnam on coconut boat tiktok

Fiona Wang posted a tearful travel video on Saturday.@heyfionawang/TikTok

  • Fiona Wang posted a TikTok on Saturday crying for a woman who rowed her boat in Vietnam.

  • The video went viral with over 6.7 million views and drew criticism from many users.

  • Responding to the backlash, Wang told Insider she doesn’t look down on the Vietnamese.

Fiona Wang, a travel TikToker, is facing backlash after posting a tearful travel video on Saturday.

In the video, Wang is seen crying as her partner comforts her, with captions saying she cried because the Vietnamese woman rowing her coconut boat “tought so hard to make us happy.”

As of Monday, the now TikTok-deleted video, posted by Wang as @heyfionawang, had amassed over 6.7 million views and 1.2 million likes.

“It breaks my heart to see how these people work so hard to earn a living in Vietnam,” the captions in the video read.

Users were split over her emotional response – some said they thought it was cute, while others said it was condescending.

“It makes me cry too,” one positive comment read. “You have a good heart and that’s the important part,” said another.

Meanwhile, criticism littered the comments section. “Do you cry first and then pick it up, or pick it up and then cry? Please tutor me on that,” one said.

A few comments pointed to the #poverty hashtag in the video’s captions, which has since been removed.

Some TikTokers even stitched her video together to say she’s “voyeuristic and exploitative.”

“It’s called slum tourism. She turns people’s poverty and hard work into entertainment, into a spectacle, something she can experience momentarily but then easily escape from,” the TikToker @doc.ho said in a now-deleted video with over 532,000 views.

Wang told Insider that she posted the video “very spontaneously” and that it was a “very real and raw moment” for her, as opposed to her usual carefully curated and edited content.

“As an Asian Australian, I know I’m very privileged to have grown up in Australia, but I also understand the struggle. My parents are immigrants and I’ve lived in China for many years,” Wang told Insider.

She added that many looked down on the Vietnamese in her video, but that she “never said that the Vietnamese were poor or unhappy.”

“In fact, I said in my caption I can see so much genuine happiness and the family bond is incredible. But I also saw poverty and struggle, and it hit me really hard to see both sides,” Wang said.

The travel artist understands how the video may have rubbed people the wrong way, she said. It might seem like she’s “asking for attention,” she added, but she doesn’t want her content to be just “highlights of fun and happy moments.”

“It should also reflect the other side when I’m sad, making mistakes or learning,” Wang said.

“And I don’t think I have to justify any of this to the people who leave negative comments,” Wang added. “Because I’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive comments from people who appreciate seeing this page and understanding where my intentions were.”

Wang told Insiders on May 9 that she has since removed the video because she and her partner received harassing messages online.

May 9, 2023: The article has been updated with the removal of videos that have been removed on TikTok and a new statement from Fiona Wang.

Read the original article on Insider


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