A mom who mistakenly Internet-shamed a man for taking photos of her children when he was taking a selfie is now being forced to apologize herself.
The woman snapped a picture of the man at Westfield Knox shopping center in Melbourne, Australia, and posted it on Facebook warning other parents about the man she called a “creep.”
After the post went viral, the man had to contact local police to explain he was merely taking a selfie, his first ever, with a Darth Vader cutout.
“He said ‘hey kids’ they looked up and he took a photo, then he said I’m sending this to a 16 yr old,” she wrote on the post that accompanied his picture on Facebook.
“Police said if he is a registered sex offender he will be charged, this happened at Knox, be safe with your kids,” she added.
“In real terms it was embarrassing enough to be standing in front of Darth Vader to be honest,” he said.
The man’s partner called him to tell him about the post and he found it was shared more than 20,000 times.
“We’re a very strong, community-minded family and we’ve never had any issue with any form of impropriety and all of a sudden my name is smeared,” he told the Mail.
“I would like people to understand the perils of social media, especially unreliable and uncorroborated information,” he said.
The woman who posted the photo told the Knox Leader she attempted to contact the man to no avail.
“It was never done with the intention of splashing it all over these social media pages,” she told the paper.
“My children are going through an enormous amount of pain and I hate to think what [the man] and his family are going through.”
She said she hasn’t been able to sleep wondering if the man was going to take legal action.
“One thousand times over I wish I could just take it back. I just don’t know how to say sorry enough,” she said.
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