For the past few weeks, a video that supposedly shows a Saudi man spitting in the face of a woman at a London veterinary clinic has been circulating on British social media. After this video was shared by a far-right group known to have anti-Muslim views, many people responded with racist and Islamophobic messages. However, it turns out that this is an old video that has nothing to do with the United Kingdom.
The video shows a man sporting a white tunic and a red-and-white head covering of the kind that is traditional to several different Gulf countries. He is berating a woman wearing a uniform in what seems to be the waiting room of a veterinary clinic. There is no sound to the video, but you can see the man spitting in the woman’s face before starting a fight with several other people in the room.
The extreme right movement the English Defence League posted this video on its Facebook page on July 1, with the caption “Man from Saudi spits in the face of the poor receptionist at a veterinary hospital in London then attacks other staff..”
The video garnered around 450,000 views and was shared more than 8,700 times.
Did a Saudi man really spit in the face of a London receptionist?
If you take a screengrab of the video and run it through a reverse image search, you’ll quickly find an article from July 2017 that explains that this video is actually a clip from footage taken by a surveillance camera in a veterinary clinic in Kuwait.
The article includes another version of the video, where you can hear a woman (who says she is the victim) comment on the footage along with two other people.
A journalist from the French news agency the AFP visited the Royal Animal Hospital in Kuwait City. He confirmed that the incident took place there in July 2017. The woman in the video is a veterinarian from Australia who was working there.
"A veterinarian had just examined a cat belonging to the attacker and said that the cat didn’t have any health problems. The man asked for his money back. When it started to become heated between the man and the receptionists, an Australian vet intervened. The man spit in her face before assaulting her,” said an animal rights activist based in Kuwait who knows the victim personally and who spoke with the AFP under condition of anonymity.