TikTokers are raising awareness of a secret 'angel shot' customers can order to alert bartenders if they feel unsafe
- TikTokers are showing how to order an "angel shot" at a bar to alert staff they feel unsafe.
- The creators say they want to spread awareness, but some say it makes light of potential danger.
TikTokers are posting videos to spread awareness about ordering an "angel shot" — a codeword people can use at a bar to discreetly alert a bartender that they feel unsafe.
Some videos explaining the concept and describing different ways to put it into practice have received millions of views, and those using the #angelshot hashtag have been viewed a total of 113 million times.
While the majority of the videos focus on women using the phrase, there are also some highlighting that men are also able to use it if they need to.
@elongatedmusk #pov you ask for angel shot but the bartender doesn’t know what that is #foryoupage ♬ оригинальный звук - volcogot
Many of the TikToks are in meme format, with creators pretending to be a bartender and being asked for an "angel shot" before pulling out a baseball bat or a toy gun as they look for the person posing the threat. Others act out the part of the customer and feature reenactments of the interaction. The majority also use the same audio clip from a French song titled "Ainsi Bas La Vida (Thus Low is Life)."
@thechrisbarnett #POV: a girl comes to ask for help while you are working… IB: @Avi Akbar (voice: @Ashley Ottesen ♬ оригинальный звук - volcogot
While in captions and comments creators suggest their intention is to spread awareness, it's also drawn some criticism on Twitter, where some users have suggested the TikTok videos are making light of the potential fear of violence that would lead people to use the phrase.
—Aaliya (@aaliyamkhan) August 2, 2022
Other users disagreed, saying that educating people on the use of the phrase is positive.
According to restaurant industry publication On The Line, variations on the order can also be used to denote the level of severity of the perceived threat, which some TikTokers have also mentioned in their videos.
Ordering the angel shot "neat" or "straight up" indicates a request for someone to escort the customer to a cab waiting outside, while ordering it "with ice" is a request that the bartender calls a taxi or car service for the customer. Ordering it "with lime" or "with a twist" indicates more severe intervention is needed, such as calling the police.
@noahjaywood #POV: A man asks for your help at the b@r…(COLLAB/VC: @avi.akbar ) #fypシ #fyp #acting #actor ♬ оригинальный звук - volcogot
@crazycae #POV the b@rtender and a kind stranger help you out when you needed to order an angel sh0t #acting #actress #awareness #angelshot ib: @Avi Akbar #ShowUrGrillSkillz #FilmTeyvatIslands #fyp #viral ♬ оригинальный звук - volcogot
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the phrase originated in a bar in St. Petersburg, Florida, that put up a sign advising women to order an "angel shot" if they felt unsafe in 2016. Since then, it appears to have spread across the US and the UK. On The Line reported that a bartender in Cambridge, Massachusetts, heard about the term from a customer who was on a first date. On social media, people have said they've seen signs explaining the code in women's restrooms at bars.
There is no clear indication of what proportion of bar staff is familiar with the code, and some TikTok users have suggested showing a bartender the definition on a phone if they do not recognize the order.
In the UK, a similar code called "Ask for Angela" was created by a Lincolnshire council coordinator in 2016. The Metropolitan Police in London launched an initiative to roll out the code in August 2021, however there is no requirement for establishments to train their staff to recognize the code, and in November 2021 Metro.co.uk reported that a number of London bar staff didn't know what it meant, and that customers rarely used it.
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