A Nigerian-American woman, Ijeoma Ukenta, who was seemingly chased by a white woman at Victoria’s Secret, a clothing mall in Millburn, New Jersey, on Saturday, has raised over $85,000 on GoFundMe to hire an attorney to defend herself against the woman.
Ukenta captured the encounter in a viral six-part YouTube series. In the fifth video of the saga, Ukenta displayed what she described as the police report on the incident, claiming that the Victoria’s Secret staff corroborated her version of the events.
“Online, the woman’s actions have morphed into a viral meme, and she has been given the nickname “Victoria’s Secret Karen,” Insider reports.
“Karen” is a slang term usually used in reference to a white woman who is said to act out of a sense of inflated self-importance, according to The Guardian.
In the first video, which did not capture the exchange that sparked the conflict between the two, the woman seemed to charge at Ukenta. Then, the woman lay in a fainting position on the store’s floor near the cash registers and began to scream and sob, pleading with Ukenta not to record her “mental breakdown.”
In later videos and in what Ukenta said was the police report, she explained that everything began when she was scanning the store’s offering of underwear and the woman started browsing items uncomfortably close to her.
Ukenta said she asked her to “back up” but that the woman instead went to the cash register and told an employee that she (Ukenta) had just threatened her. Ukenta said she decided to start recording the scene on video, and it led to the confrontation captured in the first video.
After the initial scuffle, the woman appeared to chase Ukenta around the store while alleging that Ukenta “threatened her.” Then, the woman called the police on Ukenta. Eventually, both the mall security guards and the police arrived, and the woman appeared to leave the mall.
In what Ukenta said was the police report, the woman said that what she did was “wrong” and that she experienced a panic attack after realising Ukenta was recording her. She also said she had an “anxiety disorder” and was anxious about Ukenta recording her because she was afraid of “losing her job and apartment.”
In the third video, subtitled “Security acts oblivious,” Ukenta was seen speaking with a guard in Victoria’s Secret who said he had no idea which woman she was referring to. He asked her if “everything is okay.’’
“No, I feel in danger. No, everything’s not okay. Ask them,” Ukenta said, calling over the Victoria’s Secret manager to corroborate her account.
In subsequent videos and on the GoFundMe page, Ukenta said she was unhappy with how the authorities dealt with the situation.
“I was treated like it was 1920 in Short Hills Mall. I was assaulted and harassed by a white woman and nothing was done by the security nor the police,” Ukenta’s GoFundMe description said. “I’m looking to hire an excellent attorney who can help me bring light to this wrong.”
On Tuesday, the Victoria’s Secret Twitter account released a statement about the incident. It referred to it as an “altercation between our customers” and called the video “unsettling.” In the post, the clothing company added that it had “initiated a full investigation” into the matter.