A TikTok influencer at the centre of a storm over his ‘random acts of kindness’ videos has been urged to perform them for ‘people who really need it’ – as video emerges of Woolworths shopper looking less than impressed after he bought her groceries.
Harrison Pawluk, 22, produces viral videos of himself performing kind acts for strangers – but came under fire this week when one of his subjects said she felt ‘dehumanised’ by him giving her flowers as she sat in a Melbourne mall.
The shopper, Maree, said she felt ‘dehumanised’ by the episode – with Pawluk’s video of the incident racking up more than 58.8million viewers, when she didn’t even like the flowers.
However, it isn’t the only time recently where one of the subjects of his clips has appeared underwhelmed – with Pawluk recently posting a clip of himself sneakily paying for a woman’s groceries at the Woolworths checkout.
In the clip, Pawluk distracts the grocery shopper by pretending she has dropped money on the floor. As she turns away to search for it, Pawluk places money in one of her shopping bags.
‘Oh, have a good day,’ he says, and walks away as the woman returns to the checkout desk.
Told by the operator that Pawluk had paid for the groceries, the woman appears to have a muted reaction the incident, smiling faintly, and is later appears to be pointing in the direction of the influencer with an upset look on her face.
In the TikTok post by social media influencer Harrison Pawluk, he approaches a woman at a Woolworths checkout and distracts her by pretending she has dropped money on the floor
Told by the operator that Pawluk had paid for the groceries, the woman at first smiles but is then seen pointing in the direction of the influencer with an upset look on her face. ‘Put it back, please,’ she appears to firmly say
‘Put it back, please,’ she appears to firmly say.
Pawluk’s manager Taylor Reilly, however, said the woman was pointing at her children and not at the influencer, according to unpublished footage.
‘The lady wasn’t pointing at Harrison or upset with him, she was pointing to her two kids that were running around telling them to do something instead of pointing at him,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
The video of the woman at Woolworths drew criticism – as well as praise – from viewers of the clip.
‘Bro give the money to poor people. donate it,’ one person commented. ‘That would be valuable.’
‘Bro if u want [to] help, help the people who need [it]’ another posted.
Pawluk’s videos on the platform have become the subject of fierce debate after a woman named ‘Maree’ – who he gave a bunch of flowers as she sat on her own enjoying a coffee at a Melbourne shopping centre – said she felt ‘dehumanised’ by the experience.
Pawluk’s video of Maree went viral – racking up 58.8million views on TikTok.
‘At first it was just a bit of a joke to me and then I’ve sort of felt dehumanised,’ Maree told Melbourne ABC presenter Virginia Trioli this week.
‘It really doesn’t even seem like it’s me now, it’s just this person, it’s just not really me, I don’t really even take it personally anymore but I just think that other women, especially older women, should be aware that if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.
‘I suppose I am a bit offended, really, to tell you the truth.’
Pawluk, a university business student who works in retail, make between $10,000 to $15,000 a month through brand partnerships and sponsored posts
Harrison Pawluk, 22, interrupted Maree as she drank a takeaway cup of coffee in the Emporium Melbourne mall, and asked her to hold the bouquet – before leaving it with her and wishing her a nice day
But others love Pawluk’s ‘selfless’ acts, commenting: ‘Awesome, we need more people like him’ and ‘you’re so kind’.
In fact, Pawluk’s TikTok and YouTube videos make him between $10,000 to $15,000 a month through brand partnerships and sponsored posts, Mr Reilly told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Yesterday was the first time a TikTok video has actually ever backfired for Harrison,’ Mr Reilly said.
‘He could be making staged skits like he used to, but instead he’s trying to use his platform for good and promote these acts of kindness as he personally feels fulfilled by them and knows from comments that he is inspiring others.’
Mr Reilly also revealed Pawluk had received direct threats as a result of the backlash to the video.
‘It’s extremely disappointing to see that some people’s first reaction is to private message Harrison and physically threaten him.
‘Harrison isn’t out to fake his videos in order to get a viral video or an amazing reaction like a lot of creators do.
‘He’s doing this content because he genuinely believes, sometimes one person at a time, that he’s making a difference.’
Pawluk added: ‘My new goal is to find like minded businesses that want to also spread kindness to partner with me.’
Maree (pictured) who featured in the viral TikTok video receiving flowers from a young stranger said she felt ‘dehumanised’ by the experience
Pawluk, a university business student who works in retail, yesterday offered an apology to Maree via his manager if she’d been offended by the video.
‘He whole-heartedly apologises to Maree if she was offended by what he did and urges her to contact him privately so he can personally apologise,’ Mr Reilly said.
‘If she requests him to take down the video he will do that.
‘He would not want something designed to spread love and compassion to cause anyone concern.’
Harrison Pawluk’s (pictured) June 21 video has already been viewed 58.8million times, getting 11.1million likes
Maree, who doesn’t use social media, said the TikTok portrayal of the incident being a random act of kindness was wrong.
‘These artificial things are not random acts of kindness really,’ she said.
‘It’s really not about me anymore, I just think this whole idea that this is a random act of kindness is to be challenged.’
Maree said she noticed another young man had been filming the interaction.
‘I said, “Did you film that? They said, “No, no”. They obviously had.’
Maree said she didn’t even like the flowers.
‘They just sort of looked at me and I actually even said to them – it was a friendly discussion – “Do you want these flowers, I don’t really want them” and I didn’t want to carry them home in a tram really, to be quite frank.
‘They weren’t to my taste, really.
‘They didn’t want them but the person – I now know as Harrison – came along at that stage and said something about “I hope you enjoy the flowers” and off they went and that was it.’
Mr Reilly said Pawluk’s videos featuring acts of kindness were usually well received.
‘It’s extremely rare for there to be controversy with these, probably because it went viral,’ he said.
‘Harrison generally gets nothing but gratitude.’
The influencer told Daily Mail Australia a recent trip to Los Angeles (pictured) where he witnessed poverty inspired him to make videos featuring acts of kindness
Pawluk’s 21-year-old manager Taylor Reilly (pictured), who negotiates sponsorship, told Daily Mail Australia his videos featuring acts of kindness were usually well received
Other videos where Pawluk presents flowers to a woman sitting in a park, and gives a small plush toy to a child, show smiling, grateful recipients.
In some clips Pawluk holds a placard reading, ‘If you are missing someone today, hug me’ in a busy shopping mall, as people approach him to embrace.
In one clip he asks a woman seating on a city bench to hold a bunch of flowers as he removes his jacket from his bag, puts it on and walks away. But the end of the clip shows the bench empty and the flowers left behind.
Pawluk, who has three million social media followers, last month told Daily Mail Australia he was inspired by witnessing homelessness during a recent trip to LA.
‘I was recently inspired to change the nature of my content and use my platform to do some good and spread some kindness,’ he said.
‘Not enough creators utilise their platforms for good.
‘I want to hopefully use mine as a vessel spreading good and hopefully inspiring a few people along the way.’
Pawluk has offered an apology to Maree and is willing to take down the TikTok video