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Guy Considers Suing His Neighbor After She Secretly Filmed Him Dancing For Her Instagram Story

Willie B. Thomas/Getty Images

A breach in privacy is often frustrating but can even be dangerous or compromising.

For one professional dancer who was filmed during a private session without his consent, his work and private balance were left in the balance of a woman who refused to take down an Instagram story.

The OP (Original Poster) “NegativeNormie” shared the situation in the “Am I the A**hole?” subReddit where he began to consider pursuing legal action.

The OP asked the thread: 

“WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) for suing my neighbor for filming me and posting it?” 

During what should have been a typical visit at his parents’ house, the OP practiced his latest dance routine. 

“I (22[male]) am a professional dancer. I am visiting my parents for a few weeks and they have a small training room for me in the basement.”

“So I was there, trained some stuff for the upcoming show (beginning when restrictions let it begin) and later that day I scrolled through Instagram.”

But he later discovered he essentially wasn’t alone during his practice. 

“On Instagram I have seen that my neighbor (20[female]) filmed me and posted it into her story. It was not a short clip, it was a whole bunch of stuff, about 3 mins worth of clips.”

“I texted her and told her to please delete the clips and she said the dancing was really good and that she will not delete it, as many of her followers (8k+) love it and she offered me to put a shoutout into her story. Wtf? I got a private Insta account with 54 followers and do NOT care lol.” 

The OP is very confused about the position he’s now in. 

“So [first] of all I don‘t even know her. We added on Instagram after a short chat and never talked again (I live 500 miles away).”

“The thing is now that i feel violated in my privacy, I mean I have no problem with getting seen/filmed, but NOT AT HOME and – for me – an even more important fact: On the video have been some tricks/steps/effects that should not be seen until the great live-reveal on stage.”

“I am thinking about sueing her for this as I do not feel comfortable with getting my private stuff posted.”

“WIBTA?”

After initially posting his story, the OP reached out to the neighbor again to little effect. 

“I reached out to her again and told her we will sue her. She just brushed it off, saying that the story will be gone in 2hrs anyways ‘so just f**k it’.”

The OP also began to pursue legal action. 

“I screenrecorded the whole story + the direct messages and reported it to instagram, who have not done anything yet.”

“Had a zoom-call with my crew and our manager after that. Manager told me we will sue her, as some of the routines etc. are likely to be stolen. I don‘t know what to expect from that whole thing but yeah.. at least she might take a lesson from it I guess. Our lawyers have done pretty good jobs so far.”

“Thanks for all the answers, bless you guys, for real.”

The OP then clarified a few details about the situation after comments started to roll in. 

“I have no evidence that she was in our garden while filming. Between the road and the window is a garden which is about 5 metres bright. She either zoomed straight into the window with a perfect angle and filmed that way (which I doubt), or she went into the garden, which makes more sense as the quality of the recording was pretty good and stable. The window is pretty small as well.”

“And for those wondering, I live in austria and as far as I know you are not allowed to post footage online without consent of the people portrayed. If the focus is on the landscape and there are people passing by it is discussable but she explicitly filmed me on my training session – nothing else.”

“It really creeps me out that someone watched me this whole time and I didn‘t realize. I am looking forward to return to my city and train in my studio again lol.”

Fellow Redditors wrote in on the story, rating the OP’s thoughts of suing on the following scale:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP was absolutely in the right, given he was in his parents’ home. 

“It kinda sounds like the only way you can get her to understand that what she did was wrong is suing her. So I’m gonna say NTA on this one.”marill95

“NTA and please update about the results if the lawsuit goes through. She’s rude and entitled and deserves some consequences for being a creep. You know if the genders were reversed it authorities would already be involved.”LadyKnightAngie

“You would definitely not be the A. She commited a crime by filming you, sharing it with thousands of other people, and most importantly refusing to delete it after you told her to!”

“If she doesn’t respect your rights you have every right to report her behaviour to police. I mean, if she wouldn’t do something wrong the police won’t do anything, right? So if there are consequences for her, they would be soley because of her own actions.”

“And keep prove of her story so you have evidence!”miamalina12

“Lol she offered a shoutout to actual person that she spied on and filmed in their private space and then posted without their knowledge? How magnanimous of her.”

“NTA. I would even let your dance company know that your practice was filmed and posted without your knowledge and that they are refusing to take it down. They might already have lawyers on retainer specifically to protect their shows”MorganAndMerlin

Others suggested at least reaching out to Instagram about the post. 

“Try and report it to Instagram and see what they do but also tell your crew about it and see what they say.”

“She is definitely in the wrong by filming you with out permission and not taking it down when asked. Honestly I’m pretty sure her filming you without your consent is illegal.”SarcasticAzaleaRose

“Absolutely crazy, like who even if they saw someone dancing in their own home thinks to record them and post it on social media….”TimeAndSpacePerson

A few others said the OP should involve any legal leveraging he has. 

“She filmed you without consent? Did you know she was there? I’d say of she refuses to take ot down you could trying filing a police report. That’s definitely illegal.”sweetchemicalkisses

“NTA. Also, you were in your private domain (parent’s basement if I understand your post correctly) and so her filming you might be illegal. Were you out in public dancing, that’s different, she’d have a right to film you, but not while in your own private domain.”

“I saw the suggestion that you tell your dance company. Maybe their lawyers could write a cease and desist letter since you were practicing for your job and that dance was.. i dunno.. copyrighted? something like that. you’d know better than me.”

“Your neighbor is definitely TA.”hdmx539

“I think you should screen record her story with your video on it as your last plan if she still refuses to delete the video. You are within your rights to take legal action.”Lab-Gold2747

“She filmed you in your own home. Report her as a peeping Tom to local authorities. That is just creepy. Your parents should be concerned for their privacy long term if this stranger is filming people inside their home.”

“NTA. You should press hard on every legal front you have.”Unusual-Leadership17

Everyone’s privacy is important, and what they want to share should be respected. Clearly this next-door neighbor didn’t get the memo and will need a little reminding.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.