Woman in racially-charged argument on Vancouver bus says video doesn’t tell whole story

Click to play video: 'Woman caught on racist transit video speaks out'
Woman caught on racist transit video speaks out
Stephanie Nickel tells Global News the video only tells half the story. She says while there's no excuse for her comments she was defending another passenger. John Hua reports – Jun 26, 2018

The woman filmed in a racially-charged argument on a Vancouver bus is coming forward to explain her role in the incident.

Stephanie Nickel said a video of the heated exchange that was posted online didn’t tell the whole story.

WATCH: Video captures racially charged exchange on TransLink bus

Click to play video: 'Video captures racially charged exchange on TransLink bus'
Video captures racially charged exchange on TransLink bus

“I thought I did the right thing and as soon as I saw the video I almost collapsed,” she said.

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The video showed Nickel arguing with two Asian passengers.

“You’re being racist, now drop it,” Nickel told the two women who were speaking to each other in a language other than English.

“No,” the foreign-language speaker told Nickel. “I have the right to.”

“I don’t give a s**t if you have a right,” said Nickel. “Yeah, go back to your country.”

The exchange continued with the foreign-language speaker asking, “You want to threaten me?”

Nickel replied, “How am I threatening you? You guys need to stop talking your language.”

Nickel told Global News the video that was shared online did not show what led to the argument.

She said the two women she was arguing with had been bullying another passenger in English before switching to their native language.

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Racist rant on TransLink bus caught on camera

She said the women were telling another passenger to leave the bus because her perfume was too strong.

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“It looked like she was being traumatized and didn’t know what to do,” Nickels said.

She said she believed the two Asian women were speaking about the other passenger in their native language, one that Nickel doesn’t understand, because of the way they stared at the woman as they spoke.

Nickel said she asked the bus driver to intervene, but the driver declined as the bus was near the end of the line and everyone was disembarking at the next stop anyway.

“Me being racist, yeah, I agree, I apologize for saying some words and I can’t go back on it,” she said.

Nickel said she contacted Metro Vancouver Transit Police after the video was posted online.

“It was somebody that was attempting to defend somebody else, so do the right thing,” Sgt. Clint Hampton with Transit Police said. “Unfortunately it was done in the wrong way.”

Randy Keeping, who shot the video and posted it online, said he did not know what started the fight but what he saw constituted racism.

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Jesse Miller, a social media expert with Mediated Reality, said context can only help so much when even remotely racist comments are uttered.

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“There is probably more to this story which we should give some credence to,” he said. “The hard part there is there is only one snippet video for us to reference and it is a person being incredibly racist to other individuals.”

Nickel said she’s apologized for the language she used and said she’s now worried about her safety and reputation.

The 24-year-old mother of four said she’s afraid to go out in public since the video was released.

“I feel bullied really, I mean, I’m scared to walk out my front door now,” Nickel said.

  • With files from Simon Little

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