A mom who went viral on TikTok for dancing next to her newborn as he received supplemental oxygen in a hospital said she posted the video just to share her son's health condition.
"I would say the mistake I made was not giving enough context of the situation," the 28-year-old mom of two, Whitney Leavitt, told BuzzFeed News.
The captions explained that her son Liam had been diagnosed with RSV, a common respiratory condition for which some infants need to receive oxygen via a nasal cannula.
In the video, Leavitt dances next to her son as Kendrick Lamar's "Love" plays, hitting every beat.
People online were confused and angry, insinuating that Leavitt was careless to dance beside her child in a hospital. The tabloids, including the Mail Online and the Sun, also picked up the story. A reposted video on Twitter has 4.7 million views.
"It was really bad, people were telling me to end my life, they wished my family would die," said Leavitt, who took down the video following the hate messages.
She found out about the backlash on her second day in the hospital.
"I felt like I had completely lost control to clear up the context of everything of why I made the video and the reason of what motivated me to make the video and I feel like people completely took it out of context," Leavitt said.
She added that the reason she made the video was because people were asking about his condition while Liam was in the hospital and all her videos involve dancing.
"Dancing and having captions answering a comment is in line with content I've always created," she said.
Leavitt's husband called her about the video going viral and said that it was everywhere. "He was like, 'I think we need to take it down,' and it wasn't until that point that I looked it up and it had gone everywhere," she said.
Like many people, Leavitt said she joined TikTok out of boredom from quarantining and started her account as something fun to do.
At first, she began posting relatable mom content and memes. Then, when she got pregnant with her second child, Leavitt decided to start dancing again.
"I don't know why I didn't do this from the beginning because I enjoy it so much," she said.
Leavitt danced at a competitive studio for years and then stopped when she became pregnant with her first child.
She said that her second pregnancy was great and a lot different than the first one, which she found very hard. "I wonder if dancing maybe helped — brought up my spirit," she added.
Meanwhile, Liam is now doing great and doesn't need oxygen support.
"He's awesome. He's healthy. He's sleeping horribly. But other than that, he's doing great," Leavitt said.
According to the Daily Dot, Leavitt's video got 1.6 million views before she took it down. Since then, the video has actually started a meme in which people dance to the same song with hypothetical situations.
For example, there's one where someone dances with captions about their court date, or another where someone dances while the captions say they have been evicted because they didn't know they were supposed to pay rent every month.
Leavitt wasn't aware that she'd started a mini trend, but she said that since the video hit the tabloids, she has started to think more about her content.
"I don't want people to think that I didn't learn from this, because I definitely did," she said.