12:25 PM PDT, August 5, 2022
A New York woman was cruelly shamed on the subway and on social media due to the monkeypox outbreak.
A stranger took a video of Lilly Simon, 33, riding the subway in New York City and she had bumps on her exposed arms and legs. The video was then posted on TikTok with a caption that included a monkey emoji and a question mark emoji, which many took to mean that she might have monkeypox.
“I don’t have monkeypox,” Simon told Inside Edition.
She suffers from a skin condition called NF1, a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on her skin.
“They’re fleshy, they’re soft, it’s not like monkeypox,” she told Inside Edition.
She said she was minding her own business when the stranger on the train decided to record her. The next thing she knew, she says she got a call that shook her world.
“My sister called me and she was very upset,” she recalled. “I saw the video and I knew people I know would see it and it’s not how I wanted to be represented.”
She said she felt small, powerless, insignificant and irrelevant because of the video.
Simon, who works as a project manager, responded with her own defiant video and described years of stares and nasty comments.
“Of course, I’ve always had to deal with people, like the people in the comment section of the video and of course the person who posted this,” she said in her video.
The man who posted the video, Jahmali Ellison, told Inside Edition he would like to apologize to Simon for his actions.
Simon added that “I am happy” and “I love myself,” but added that “hopefully [the person who posted the video] has learned his lesson.
There are more than 6,300 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. New York, California, Illinois and some cities have declared states of emergency and the World Health Organization has declared the spreading of the viral disease a global emergency.