A narrow interpretation of a fist emoji drove one boy to assault a younger girl in Indonesia, authorities said, with footage of the incident drawing outrage throughout the country.
The video of the incident, which was taken in the West Java capital of Bandung on Oct. 4, went viral over the weekend. It shows a 6th grader lying on the floor while a boy, who is in junior high school, kicks her a few times while holding the camera and exclaiming, “I don’t differentiate between [beating] boys or girls.”
Responding to the public outrage after the video went viral, Police Commissioner Darmawan, who heads Bandung’s Sukasari Precinct, said the assault was triggered by the boy’s short-fused interpretation of a wayward emoji.
“The victim, HA, mistakenly sent the emoji via WhatsApp to the perpetrator, HL. The emoji is of a clenched fist, and the perpetrator took that as a challenge to fight,” Darmawan said.
“The victim and the perpetrator are friends.”
No charges were reportedly filed against HL, Darmawan said, as the assailant and the victim’s parents agreed to resolve the matter privately.
HL’s parents have also signed a statement assuring the police that they would better supervise their child.