A video of a white woman calling the police on an 8-year-old black girl selling water outside her apartment building went viral.
The woman was identified as Allison Ettel, a 44-year-old CEO of a cannabis for pets company and was dubbed “Permit Patty” on social media.
Ettel claims she is receiving death threats and says she regrets the viral incident, according to the Daily Mail.
“It was wrong, and I wish I could take it back. Believe me, I wish I never had done that.”
The 44-year-old claimed in an interview with SF Gate that the child and her mother were making noise for several hours before she got into an argument with the girl’s mother. Ettel says that she contacted the building’s security before pretending to call the police.
The woman who filmed the incident stated on Instagram that police never arrived. SF Gate reports that a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department said officers have had no recent contact with an 8-year-old girl.
Under the Twitter hashtag #PermitPatty, the video has been viewed more than 4.5 million times. Popular Instagram gossip blog The Shade Room also shared the video garnering over a million views.
“This woman don’t want a little girl to sell some water, she’s calling the police on an 8-year-old girl,” the woman filming is heard saying in the heated exchange.
Ettel, who is the woman on the phone ducks after spotting the camera.
“Don’t hide, the whole world gonna see you, boo,” the woman filming says.
“Yeah, and um, illegally selling water without a permit?” Ettel says into the phone.
“On my property,” the mother responds.
“It’s not your property,” Ettel quips back before the video cuts.
Many Twitter users accused Ettel of racism – a charge that Ettel denies, stating that it had nothing to do with race.
The incident comes about a month after a white woman called police on two black men for using a charcoal grill at Lake Merritt in Oakland. The incident inspired the “BBQ Becky” meme and users drew a comparison to ‘Permit Patty’ fuelling discussions about when it is appropriate to call the police and racial profiling.
Earlier this year, two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks for sitting without making an order.
The social media backlash has affected Ettel’s business, with at least one distribution company dropping her TreatWell products.
Magnolia Oakland, a dispensary that carries TreatWell’s products, said in a statement that it had dropped the company’s products in response to the video.