NEW YORK, NY — We’ve heard of the subway gropers and the upskirt camera perverts — now New Yorkers are dealing with a new sexual-assault trend: Creeps who share penis pictures via the iPhone AirDrop app.
The trend reportedly started in London in 2015, and experts say that more New York women are reporting that unwanted private parts are showing up on their iPhones while in transit.
Britta Carlson, 28, told the New York Post that she was riding the uptown 6 train to a concert on July 27 when a message popped up on her smartphone from “iPhone 1.” She hit “Accept” and saw “a huge close-up picture of a disgusting penis” that was sent by an anonymous stranger. “It really felt like someone had actually just flashed me,” she said.
She looked around the subway car, but could not figure out who sent the message.
In order to receive anonymous messages, iPhone users have to have their AirDrop setting on “Everyone” rather than “Contacts Only” or “Receiving Off.” The victim must also be within Bluetooth range, which is approximately 328 feet.
It’s not only women who are receiving the photos, although they are in the majority. Frankie Navisch was commuting from Penn Station when “Eduardo’s picture,” showing an unsolicited penis pic, popped up on his screen. “I wanted to punch him in the mouth for carelessly buckshotting genitalia to phones that could potentially be owned by children,” he said. “Was he looking for interaction, or is all he wanted was someone to look at his mini-monstrosity?”
Experts say that exhibitionists and flashers — who, in the past, would have had to venture out and buy a trenchcoat — are probably using the app because it allows them to remain anonymous.
According to The Post, Apple has offered no comment so far on the trend.
Main photo: New York City subway train [Wikimedia Commons]