Image composite: Twitter video, @CatchUpFeed - Screenshots
© 2023 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
A street performer was tickling the ivories Saturday to the delight of passersby in Athens, Georgia, when one woman apparently decided that his cover of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" was in desperate need of percussion. She sauntered over, knocked the musician's instrument to the ground, then allegedly absconded with money from his tip jar.
The video of the incident, which took place early Saturday morning, has since gone viral, prompting outrage and a response from the alleged perpetrator. While ostensibly contrite, the woman in the video, identified by the Daily Mail as Shauntae Heard, stressed in her apology that she has "seen worse downtown."
WAGA-TV reported that Andrew Hsu, a student at the University of Georgia, was playing Saturday near the corner of College Avenue and East Clayton Street.
Hsu is admittedly no stranger to unwelcome contact from drunks while performing but "never to the point where [his piano] will fall down and with the force that she used."
According to Hsu, Heard had hit his keyboard earlier in the evening, but returned around 2:30 a.m. for a repeat performance.
The video shows the perpetrator approach, press a flat hand atop the keyboard, and press down. The piano stand collapses to the ground along with the keyboard. Hsu throws up his hands in dismay, asking Heard, who appears genuinely shocked, "What's wrong with you?"
"To come out here and do this, and someone to mess it up is just not, like, a cool thing to do," Hsu told WAGA.
The pianist, who later filed a police report, claimed that extra to breaking his stand, Heard also grabbed money from his tip bucket — an accusation Heard denied in her apology on social media.
Hsu suggested that the alleged theft angered him more than the destruction.
"That's what gets me mad," said Hsu. "I'm like, 'Yo, what are you doing?' One of her friends comes back. I'm like, 'Did you just steal money from me?' And her friend says, 'Yeah, she did.'"
In her apology on Facebook and Instagram, Heard reportedly said, "Public service announcement. I'm sorry for everyone that has seen the viral video. I have took accountability for my actions. I know it was wrong and ignorant of me but please keep my family out of it," adding that she had already spoken directly to Hsu.
"Everything is good no I didn't steal any money, and I didn't break the piano[.] I'm a human just like you all. Everyone has made mistakes nobody isn't perfect again I'm sorry, For my actions," wrote Heard. "I've seen worse downtown this is nothing compared to what I did and I know it's not wright."
The Daily Mail indicated that Heard also shared a screenshot of her texts with Hsu, where he said, "Hey, I accept your apology. ... I told people not to harass you but I can't control what happens."
"You have to know that actions have consequences," Hsu reportedly added in his correspondence with Heard. "While I feel bad that people are harassing you, you've got to own up."
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!
Want to leave a tip?
We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.