Andy Brigitte, 22, was stabbed to death in the Paris subway system this past Friday night. Onlookers described a dystopian scene in which bystanders took pictures and video of the stabbing while doing nothing to intervene or help.
“No one lifted their finger to help Andy,” said Linda Brigitte, the victim's mother. “Today, social media is too present. No one came to my son’s aid. Instead, they filmed it and shared it on social media,” she added tearfully.
According to the New York Post, Brigitte was allegedly attacked by an unidentified 33-year-old after an argument; he ultimately succumbed to injuries from the multiple stabbings. The victim worked as a mechanic before his death. He is a native of the Caribbean island Martinique.
“This is horrible and inadmissible,” added Betty Melinard, the victim’s aunt. “What these people did is unforgivable."
Frighteningly, #chatelet began trending as users posted and shared pictures and videos of the crime scene. Brigitte can be seen bleeding to death in some of the posts.
The alleged attacker has been apprehended by police and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Their motive in the attack is unclear. The alleged assailant repotedly hails from from Melun, an area south of Paris.
"Our services intervened with extreme speed," said Stéphane Gouaud, director of the security service of the RATP, four minutes after this terrible aggression, they were there and questioned this man on whom they found the knife."
A fundraising page has been set up by Brigitte's family to help pay to have his remains flown to Martinique. The page has so far raised $15,000.
A backlash against the lack of bystander intervention has also been spawned on French social media:
Psychologists have named the lack of involvement from onlookers during crises as the "Genovese effect," named after the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. More than 38 witnesses reportedly were aware of the killing as it was happening but did nothing to help Genovese, who screamed for assistance. The coverage of the Genovese incident has since been scrutinized, with many later claiming police were, in fact, called to help.
A comprehensive body of research on the effect of social media on bystander behavior does not, at this moment, exist.