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California Woman Apologizes After Racist Roadside Tantrum Goes Viral

The Daily Beast/TikTok
The Daily Beast/TikTok

A California woman has publicly apologized after a video went viral of her berating an Asian driver with racial abuse following a fender bender before pushing him into oncoming traffic.

A video seemingly stitched together from different camera angles and originally uploaded Thursday by TikTok user @sam.anthabong shows what appears to be a minor car accident on a highway in L.A.

“Help! My friend’s friend who got into an accident in [C]alifornia received racist remarks and was physically abused by the other driver,” the video is captioned.

A group of people are gathered around two vehicles; a gray SUV is pulled up behind a white minivan. Other cars drive past the group to get around the jam they’ve caused. Two people stand closer toward the cars, while another three people stand further away.

“Are you refusing?” a woman wearing all black, since identified as Ashley Barkis, repeatedly asks.

“Where is your insurance?” she yells, pacing back and forth in front of a man while holding her phone up to his face.

“You hit my car! I don’t give a fuck about this bitch!” Barkis screams, pointing toward the man’s SUV. “You hit my car, so where is your insurance? Where is your insurance? Do you have a driver’s license? Are you from America? Do you even have papers? Are you legal to be here?”

The other driver, an Asian man, holds his phone to get a closer view of the woman’s face and seemingly pulls a card or license out of his phone case. But the woman bats his hand away, sending the man’s license tumbling to the ground. The two tussle as the man reaches for his license, with the woman slapping his back as he’s bent over.

“Get off, dumbass!” Barkis yells as she scrambles on the ground for the license, slapping and pushing the man, and even shoving him into oncoming traffic in the process. She was also filmed assaulting the other three people standing nearby.

The video shows bruises the driver and other members in his group allegedly sustained in the altercation as well as the driver’s cracked phone screen.

The TikToker who posted the video declined to provide more information to The Daily Beast about the incident.

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Barkis later uploaded a video to her Instagram page about the incident. (As of Tuesday, the video was no longer available but had been shared by other social media users in reaction videos.)

“I’d like to apologize to the family for any pain or grief that this encounter has brought,” Barkis said. “I would also like to apologize for any offense to the Asian community, as I am half Filipino. And I definitely don’t condone of any violence or racism against anyone in this world.

“If I could go back and do things differently, I would,” Barkis continues. “I know I look extremely aggressive and agitated in the video that’s been circling around. However, I can only take a step forward and publicly show that’s not my true character.”

Barkis claimed she was unable to get a decent picture of the other driver’s license during their exchange, which made her even more frustrated after the accident.

“It was extremely difficult to take any reasonable pictures of the other driver’s license, as he wasn’t necessarily holding it even reasonably still for me to take any pictures of it,” she said. “I hope you guys understand now that I am not at all racist. I’m just a human being who needs a little bit more practice.”

The Daily Beast was unsuccessful in multiple attempts to reach Barkis. However, her uncle insisted his “feisty” niece is not racist.

“Ashley is brown,” Matthew Barkis told The Daily Beast Tuesday. “Her ethnicity is Hispanic and Filipino.”

Matthew theorized that Barkis, being by herself and surrounded by a group, may have responded out of fear. He said it could have been a defense mechanism his niece adopted due to her upbringing in neighborhoods that weren’t always safe.

“The frustration out of the event may have caused all that [talk], but I know that she’s not racist,” he said.

He said his wife and daughter have received death threats since the clip went viral.

The outcome of the car crash incident is unclear.

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