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Guy Apologizes For TikTok Video Of Man Slapping Endangered Seal In Hawaii After Backlash

Guy Apologizes For TikTok Video Of Man Slapping Endangered Seal In Hawaii After Backlash
@HungryHungryHawaiian / Instagram

A man's TikTok video has faced significant internet backlash and gone viral, after he shared the recording of another man harassing an endangered monk seal.

The man explained his lack of involvement in the actual video, but he's still being criticized for the repercussions of posting it in the first place.

Eric Mustevoy, former TikTok user @ericmust, shared his first ever TikTok video, citing his friend @alextsvor for convincing him to try it out.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with using and posting to TikTok, Mustevoy made the mistake of posting inappropriate content, which caught the negative attention of thousands after an influencer shared the video.

Mustevoy was visiting West Oahu, Hawaii. He witnessed an endangered monk seal on the beach, which passersby were taking pictures with.

He started taking a video of the area goings-on. He caught on camera a man who ran over to the seal and smacked it before running away when the seal became agitated.

Mustevoy's first ever TikTok video didn't gain much traction on its own, until Instagram personality @HungryHungryHawaiian outed it on Instagram, where it was viewed more than 150,000 times.

A native Hawaiian, HHH was NOT amused.

Though Mustevoy probably intended for the video to be funny, viewers were angered by the lack of consideration for the seal, as well as the overall protection of endangered wildlife.

@HungryHungryHawaiian / Instagram

@HungryHungryHawaiian / Instagram

@HungryHungryHawaiian / Instagram

@HungryHungryHawaiian / Instagram

After the video went viral and the negative response was widespread, Mustevoy was contacted by Maui News, an online publication local to Hawaii, for comment.

Mustevoy admitted he was not the man in the video, but he also apologized for sharing the insensitive video.

Mustevoy stated:

"That was not me that did that. I just witnessed some guy doing it and captured it on camera. I was just recording the video and I noticed some people taking pics with it and this guy just ran and did it."
"I would never do that in the first place. And I wouldnʻt be stupid to post it if I did it. Because I know itʻs illegal. But I was wrong of posting it."

Mustevoy's friend, @alextsvor, who introduced him to TikTok, was also contacted for comment.

Alex Tsvor simply said:

"I never been to Hawaii, and I enjoy and respect nature."

Though the NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Regional Office will not publicly announce their response to the posting of this video, they're reminding everyone to think of the wildlife they're attempting to protect first.

NOAA stated:

"We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. However, we want to remind the public that Hawaiian monk seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, and we recommend everyone follow our viewing guidelines for monk seals and other marine wildlife."
"These guidelines have been developed to maximize human safety, seal safety, and legal compliance. To report suspected monk seal protection violations or to provide information that may be relevant to an ongoing investigation, please call the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement hotline at: (800) 853-1964."

Taking care of wildlife is of particular importance and even posting a video of animal abuse could get you into trouble.

Though Mustevoy was not the man in the video, he's been viewed by some as promoting the abuse of the animal.

If caught disturbing or harming an endangered animal, he or anyone else could face up to $50,000 in fines and a 12-month jail sentence.