A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.
According to USA Today, the girl's mother, Erin Austin, captured the alleged phone call on video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Saturday. She said the incident occurred outside her apartment near AT&T Stadium in San Francisco.
"This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water," Austin says in the 15-second clip, focusing the camera on a woman holding a phone. "She's calling the police on a 8-year-old little girl."
As the woman, identified by HuffPost as Alison Ettel, crouches behind a concrete wall, Austin adds: "You can hide all you want; the whole world's gonna see you, boo."
"And illegally selling water without a permit? Yeah," Ettel says, pointing to her phone.
"On my property," Austin interjects.
"It's not your property," Ettel replies.
"Make this [expletive] go viral like #bbqbecky," Austin captioned the video, referring to the hashtag used after a different woman was recorded calling the police on a black family for using a charcoal grill at an Oakland park. "She's #permitpatty."
The posts sparked a debate about whether Ettel's actions were racist.
"For all of you saying it's not about race why didn't she stop to harass the white [men] that [were] selling tickets and teeshirts but thought calling the police on a child was okay?" Lee tweeted. "Don't answer. Just ask yourself that."
"I didn't think in San Francisco my biracial child would have to go through something like this," Austin told KNTV.
Ettel told HuffPost that race had nothing to do with it, adding that she didn't really call the police.
"They were screaming about what they were selling," Ettel said, claiming she had no problem with the girl, only Austin. "It was literally nonstop."
She added: "I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her."
The drama seemed to have a happy ending for Austin's daughter, who received four free tickets to Disneyland from a Twitter user who saw the video, Lee tweeted.