A Seattle business owner became the target of the Internet after he was mistaken for another man in a viral TikTok video.
Dean Worthy began his Sunday morning (July 25) checking on his home improvement business' Yelp review page, he told KIRO 7. Used to five-star reviews and happy customers' messages, he wasn't prepared for the barrage of one-star reviews.
“I was just blown away with all of these incoming messages that were horrible, horrible messages about what a bad person I am and a racist and all this other stuff, and I was like, ‘What, this isn’t me what’s going on here?’” he said.
The owner said he even got hundreds of calls, messages, and even death threats. But where does this vitriol come from?
Reporters said it can be traced to a viral TikTok from a man named Karlos Dillard. Dillard, A Black man, was on a date at an Edmonds restaurant Saturday when he was suddenly approached by an older white man. The man claimed the pair needed to pay for their drinks, leading to a dispute.
Dillard told reporters he got a message and a photo from someone claiming the man in the video was Worthy. But, a friend of Worthy reached out to Dillard to let him know that he had the wrong guy. After reviewing footage of Worthy from KIRO 7, Dillard realized his mistake.
He said he plans on making a follow-up TikTok addressing the issue.
“The root of the issue was I was unfairly treated at this restaurant, the internet got the wrong person, but we do need the internet to seek out people like this because I didn’t get any justice and I wasn’t going to get any justice, and it’s just unfortunate that it was the wrong person,” Dillard said.
Worthy is now scrambling to remediate strangers' accusations and contacting Yelp to get the reviews taken down.
“We’re desperate, we’re hurting, I’ve had the hardest day of my entire life and we’re trying to fix it,” Worthy told reporters. “I may have to shut my business down if we can’t fix this because I can’t operate with that kind of stuff out there, nobody’s going to want me for work."
KIRO 7 said some people have left five-star reviews on the business' Yelp page to help, but it hasn't put a dent in the 17 pages of one-star reviews claiming racism.