25-year-old Sharon Spellman, a hairstylist based in Los Angeles, is going viral on TikTok after posting footage of a heated with an customer. The owner of Simply Insane Hair Salon, who operates out of Bombshell Salon Suites in Simi Valley, shared a video captured by her suite’s security cameras. In the clip, a customer who Spellman referred to as “Robin,” refused a root touch-up service from Spellman’s assistant, Alex — a decision motivated by xenophobia, according to the hairstylist.
“She’s my assistant,” Spellman said in the clip, to which Robin replied, “I don’t care. I want you to do my hair and I’m not gonna tell you again.” After some tense back-and-forth in which Spellman insisted that Robin speak respectfully, Robin appeared to lunge at the stylist. Spellman then demanded that her client “get out.” My client tried to me!!!” she captioned the clip. “Robin is the new Karen,” she wrote, using the widely-adopted moniker to describe white women who are perceived to be behaving badly in public. The video has been viewed over 25 million times and racked up over 40,000 comments in support of Spellman and Alex.
“You handled it well, thanks for sticking up for your assistant,” Jellopus, a popular body-positive TikTokker, wrote. “Where’s your salon located?” another asked. “If it’s nearby me or family, I am coming to you and requesting your assistant specifically.” In a longer video of the faceoff, which Spellman posted to YouTube, Robin can be seen protesting Alex’s services and blusterous to leave if Spellman did not color her hair. After being asked to leave, a tearful Robin attributed her behavior to being under “a lot of pressure.”
The hairstylist also posted the video to Instagram, where she received words of encouragement from public figures including “Queer Eye” star and hairdresser Jonathan Van Ness. “Good for you! What a nightmare client. You’re amazing,” he wrote, adding a heart emoji. Robin, she claimed, had behaved inappropriately towards Alex upon entering the establishment — an charges Spellman promised to prove by eventually releasing more footage from the salon’s security cameras.
“She kind of had this smug attitude right off the bat,” Spellman recalled. “She looks Alex up and down and goes, ‘Will she be staying here?’ You could feel the tension from the second she walked in — she wouldn’t look at Alex. She wouldn’t give her the time of day.” While Spellman had colored Robin’s hair for over a year, she said, this appointment was the first one in which Alex was assisting. Robin, she claimed, knew that an assistant would be joining them and only objected upon seeing Alex, who Spellman says is Latina. Spellman went on to say that she initially attributed the client’s behavior to a generally challenging demeanor — Robin, she recalled, had previously made employees cry and “cussed out” other hairstylists.
As the appointment continued, Spellman said, she began to piece together her client’s motivations.”I connected the dots because I started to think about the way she spoke at every appointment, she was always very derogatory,” the hairstylist said, claiming that Robin had previously spoken critically of Latinx people. Alex joined the live stream to share her thoughts on the situation and confirmed Spellman’s account, though neither claimed that Robin said anything that was specifically racialized. “[Robin] definitely, like, looked me down. All I could do was smile,” she said. “And it was digs throughout the whole service.”
Alex added that she’d been in “similar situations” before, but rarely in such a heated “one-on-one” confrontation. “I just didn’t know how to react,” she recalled, adding that she appreciated social media users’ support and positive messages since the clip went viral. As the hairstylist has engaged with her newfound following — over 351,000 followers on TikTok nearly 100,000 on Instagram — she’s received some from viewers who have said they are “uneasy” about her response to the situation and her evident enjoyment of a large social media following.
Some argued that Spellman had not directly addressed Robin and should have refused to provide service after the client was rude to Alex at the beginning of the appointment. Other have said Spellman has centered herself following the situation and not allowed Alex space to fully share her story on the live stream. Some came to Robin’s defense, arguing that the woman in the video showed signs of emotional distress or may have simply been worried about her hair being done by the stylist she was promised.
In the two-hour live stream, the 25-year-old said that she was simply doing her best to handle a difficult situation and the unexpected aftermath of going viral (she had only 2300 Instagram followers before her TikTok went viral). “There’s a lot going on and I’m a little bit flustered,” she said.”We’re spreading awareness and trying to teach people what not to do and how to react in these situations.” Social media fame, she explained, has been chaotic.
“All day long my social media has been really intense,” she said. “I’m just trying to tell my story.” Spellman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Robin could not be reached for comment.
This is how people reacted to this post:
Stacy Mikulenka Willoughby – Sheena Pelz omg girl have you seen this? Btw did you get my text? I sent it a few hours ago. No big deal. I was just thanking you again for doing such a great job on my hair.
Dylan Siderius – Fack that karen!! Those American women think they are the gods of the world
Parris T – Some hair dressers have disclaimers that their assistant can/will step in. How do y’all think hairdresser come up. Most got to start somewhere
Kayla Johnsen – I know by experience getting my hair done some people are better than others whether I’ve tried them or not, if I get my hair done by the same person and they are good I would be concerned and uneasy of someone else doing my hair and it turning out bad but not act out like this at all and of course not over race
Ariel Gomez – I definitely would not have wanted my hair done with my regular stylist suddenly be pushed off onto someone I didn’t know without my consent or before a discussion….but I get that she is also xenophobe so…there’s that
Angela Gehring – Ok, as a hair stylist myself I can understand why the client would be upset… I’m not saying this client was right in her behavior AT ALL, however, the stylist should be letting her clients know before hand that she has an assistant and ASK them if they’re ok with letting the assistant help apply color etc.. some clients will be ok with it and some won’t..but they should have the option.. I didn’t really like the way the stylist was basically telling and not asking if that would be ok.. it’s not respectful to the client at all and I’ve never seen a stylist do that.. I’ve only ever seen stylists ASK if they’re ok with it.. after all the client is paying for a service and you want them to be comfortable.. Now, if they have had problems with this client in the past then I can understand it might be a different story with this particular client
Steph USA – There are alot of people who pay for the stylist & not the assistant. I didn’t hear one xenophobe remark. What I heard was , I’m paying for you to do my hair not your assistant.
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