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June 16, 2017

Comic explains why he removed viral Facebook video of obscene tirade outside Philly comedy club

'I kept putting myself in her shoes,' said Wil Sylvince

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Colleen Campbell Screenshot from video/Wil Sylvince/Facebook

Wil Sylvince, a New York-based comic, posted a video to Facebook in June of Colleen Campbell yelling obscenities at a Philadelphia police officer outside of Helium Comedy Club in Center City. It was viewed more than 12 million times before Sylvince removed it from Facebook.

Wil Sylvince, the New York-based comic who recorded a video of a South Jersey woman shouting obscenities at a police officer outside a Philadelphia comedy club, has removed the video from his Facebook page after it garnered millions of views.

Explaining his decision to take down the footage of 28-year-old Colleen Campbell, Sylvince posted a long, heartfelt message to his Facebook page Monday. Campbell had been kicked out of Helium Comedy Club in Center City for being disruptive just prior to the video being recorded. In a profanity-laden confrontation on the street with the Philadelphia police officer in charge of de-escalating the situation, she told the cop to "lick her a**hole" and said, "no wonder everybody wants to blow your f**king heads off."

Campbell, who revealed during the rant that she was employed by PHL17 in the video, was quickly terminated from her freelance news producer position at the station, as well as from a bartending gig she had at Devil's Den in South Philly.

In a statement issued by Wayne Pollock, a family spokesperson, Campbell said she was "ashamed and embarrassed" of the video that was viewed internationally. She also said she received thousands of threatening messages, ranging from "defamatory insults to deeply disturbing sexual and violent threats."

Sylvince, who said he also received threatening messages for posting the video, told PhillyVoice in a phone interview Friday that he was having "second thoughts" about posting the five-minute-long clip days after it went up.  While some have told him that it's "too late," he knows that he's the original source of the video and feels best about its removal. 

"I kept putting myself in her shoes," he said. 

Sylvince said he was surprised about how quickly the video caught on, but he never thought people would find her identity. 

"I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing, it's the time that we're living," Sylvince said.

Campbell joins many others who faced consequences of something that went viral online. Her situation is not unlike the musician who faced backlash for tweeting that Amtrak should retrieve her violin after the May 2015 fatal train crash in Philadelphia, or Britt McHenry, the former ESPN correspondent who was suspended from her job after a video surfaced of her talking down to a tow lot attendant in 2015. 

Sylvince's Facebook post talked about forgiveness and entitlement, but also addressed Helium, the officer, PHL17 and Campbell. 

"I wish the best for her, I feel bad that she got fired," he said on the phone. "I think that time will heal everything."

Campbell is charged with resisting arrest, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, simple assault, failure to disperse, terroristic threats and related charges. She is due in court July 18 for a hearing in the case.

Read Sylvince's full post below: