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By Midori Williams
Lizzy Ashliegh is an African American singer, actress, director, and prominent content creator on TikTok, found herself at the center of an unfortunate incident while walking in New York City.
A New York attorney has been fired after being accused of ripping her wig off in the street, according to NBC News.
Early Monday morning Ashliegh was assaulted by a man who forcefully snatched her wig from her head, prompting her immediate reaction to capture the confrontation that followed the assault on video.
In the viral video, which now has over 616,000 views, Ashliegh angrily asks the man, “Why did you take my wig off and keep walking? What makes you think that’s okay?”
In a series of subsequent TikTok videos, Ashliegh reveals that during the confrontation, the man responded with laughter and mumbled words, only audible to those in close proximity. Off-camera, he even resorted to derogatory language, referring to her as a “b**ch,” as Ashliegh recounts.
Within 24 hours of posting the video, the collective power of TikTok users came into play.
Users not only identified the man as Anthony P. Orlich but also alerted his employer, Leader & Berkon, about his actions.
Upon learning of the circulating video, the company swiftly terminated Orlich, underscoring their commitment to addressing any inappropriate behavior exhibited by their employees, whether inside or outside the workplace.
In an official statement, the firm explicitly stated, “We take seriously any inappropriate behavior by any employee, whether inside or outside the workplace. This associate is no longer with the Firm.”
In a follow-up video, Ashliegh demonstrates and describes the force required to remove her wig. She explains that the wig was secured onto her head using combs and that by pulling on the wig to remove it, her natural hair was yanked as well.
While Orlich’s termination was seen as a step in the right direction, Ashliegh and many of her online supporters believe that it does not suffice. Several Black content creators used their platforms to elevate Ashliegh’s story to expose Orlich’s racist actions and deliver a powerful message to anyone who believes it is acceptable to invade the personal space of Black individuals by touching their hair.
TikTok protects Black women
Robyn Elyse, another Black content creator based in New York City, was among many who shared videos in an effort to raise awareness, stating, “Let’s give Anthony the fame he so desperately was seeking when he decided to assault a Black woman.”
Later that same day, Ashliegh decided to call the NYPD and file a report. After filing a police report, the officers suggested that she seek medical attention. Her doctor confirmed that her neck had become tense due to the physical trauma inflicted during the assault, resulting in a prescription for muscle relaxers.
On June 1, Ashliegh participated in an exclusive interview with PIX 11 News, where she described the emotional impact of the incident. She explained that she struggled to contain the anger in her voice during the confrontation, as she was genuinely upset and distressed after the assault.
Ashliegh, who is recognized by her fans for her distinctive green wigs and unique hairstyles, felt that the assault not only targeted her as a Black woman but also undermined her personal identity.
“Him taking the wig off – stripped my confidence (sic) in that moment. You’re taking away me and who I am,” Ashliegh expressed.
When asked about pursuing legal action, she thanked the TikTok community for helping her to identify Orlich and revealed her intention to seek justice.
“I am unable to say more as I move forward legally. Once I receive an update, I can share, trust and believe I will,” Ashliegh said.