TikToker provokes outrage for cutting shoes from power line to sell

Video captioned ‘quickest way to make $20’ starts with with creator saying ‘when you see shoes on power lines, you might think of gang territory, but what I think of is profits’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 08 March 2021 22:19
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A TikTok user cut down shoes from power lines and telephone wires, despite that the fact that shoes are often put up to honour people who have died.

TikToker Blake Messick explains in the video how he took down the best-looking vintage shoes and went off to a resale shop to sell them off, prompting criticism in the comment section.

The video was captioned "quickest way to make $20," and Mr Messick starts the video by saying: "When you see shoes on power lines, you might think of gang territory, but what I think of is profits".

Mr Messick and another person went to Home Depot to pick up construction materials to look official and to be able to reach the shoes on the power lines.

He said that in the event that they were asked what they were up to they would say that they were with "a random power company and they told us to take the shoes down," adding that the shoes "don't belong to anybody and are literally the same as trash on the side of the road".

They filmed themselves selling the box of shoes to a man in a parking lot for $20.

Read more: I tried the viral TikTok baked feta pasta - was it as delicious as everyone says?

According to Chicago NPR station WBEZ, there are several theories as to why shoes get thrown over power lines and telephone wires.

Theories include that someone has to throw their shoes over the power lines after losing a bet, a bully might throw someone else's shoes over the power lines, and they might just be there because of "kids just being silly".

More serious theories include that the shoes show you where to buy drugs, that they are the markings of gang territory, or that they are there to honour victims of gun violence.

Military News reported that boots over a power line mean that a member of the military is nearing the end of their time of service.

One commenter on the video wrote: "Y'all are foul & know what u did was wrong bc u put on a whole costume. Stealing from a memorial & labelling it as gang territory for change & views."

Another commenter said the video makers were "Actively gentrifying a neighborhood and claiming its traditions as gang activity".

The Independent has reached out to Mr Messick for comment.

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