A new TikTok trend where users pretend to be handcuffed and arrested has sparked a wave of mockery and criticism
- A recent
TikTok trendshows people - many of them young, white men - pretending to get arrested.
- The videos show them struggling against imaginary handcuffs, mouthing "I love you" to the camera.
- Parodies and remarks on how the trend bizarrely seems to romanticize arrest also spread on TikTok.
On TikTok, people - mostly young, white men - are romanticizing arrest through a point-of-view trend that sees them throwing themselves against walls, wrenching their arms behind their backs as if they're being handcuffed, biting their lip, and mouthing "I love you" to the camera.
The fake arrest trend is concentrated under a slowed- and pitched-down edit of Rhianna's "Diamonds" that has over 84,000 videos associated with it on TikTok. But what started as cringey point-of-view videos has evolved into a full cycle of people making parodies and mocking those pantomiming arrest.
It's unclear exactly where, or who, started the fake arrest trend on TikTok, though it began to gain traction - and in turn, parody - on the app in mid-August. On August 13, TikToker @gage.bills (who has made several fake arrest POV videos) posted a viral video with the caption "jj turns himself in" that references the character JJ Maybank from the Netflix series "Outer Banks."
On August 14, TikToker @itsmeluke_ posted a viral video taking it a step further. The caption references the same turning yourself in premise, but shows @itsmeluke_ posing against the wall and pantomiming being handcuffed. From that point on,
Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor of psychology at John Jay College, told Insider that the trend, in addition to building off early viral videos, could also owe some of its popularity to tapping into a certain kind of eroticism.
"I think there is part of the BDSM
The fake arrest trend quickly circled around into parody
Some of the most viral videos associated with the fake arrest trend have become memes in their own right.
One of the most viral is from user @ricklimatv. Posted on August 18, the video has amassed over 50 million views, not all of them from earnest fans. That specific video has become a major source of comedic responses or parodies.
Others, like @tommykok's August 17 video, have become a source of parody or duets as well, with people acting out the on-screen dialogue.
The trend itself has become a meme, even outside of responses to specific TikTokers or videos.
POV : Your little badboy thugy booboo boyfriend gets arrested #teamenjoyer♬ son original - FYP
POV: The super hot boy turns himself in #fyp♬ son original - FYP
pov baefy gets arrested..♬ son original - FYP
The trend has also drawn criticism for romanticizing arrest
Many creators have spoken about the bizarre nature of watching TikTokers effectively post arrest-driven thirst traps.
TikToker @reggie_cuhh3 duetted one of @tommykok's videos, saying that he "would be the first person I seen in life dream about getting arrested" and attempt to make it "sexy."
##duet with @tommykok tommy your cringe asf bro♬ son original - FYP
"Well, I remember one time the white kids all got bored, started doing POVs of them getting arrested but like in a sexy way, and they would bite their lips and look at the camera and say I love you," @rynnstar says in the video. "It was weird."
Jeglic told Insider that the trend, which has largely been dominated by white men, was "kind of tone-deaf" when considering the realities of arrest and incarceration in the US and how they disproportionately affect Black people.
Black people are overrepresented in the United States' incarcerated population: in 2018, Black inmates made up approximately 33% of the prison population, despite making up 12% of the total population at the time, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Per The Sentencing Project, Black people are more likely to be arrested on drug charges than white people in the United States, and they're also more likely to be denied bail and given harsher sentences and charges for the same offenses.
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