Fans of the Humans of New York Instagram account are familiar with the ways in which the page highlights the narratives of everyday people. However, a picture that was posted on Wednesday by creator and photographer Brandon Stanton in which a man openly discussed violence has sparked shock and concern from the devoted fanbase.

Captured in Montreal, Canada, the man, who was only photographed from the neck down, sat at a piano in the photograph. While he did not show his face, he did recount a history of violence where he was both the victim and the perpetrator.

"A few years ago I set a guy on fire. It was 3 AM. He was passed out beneath a bridge. Just some druggie. I didn’t feel a thing. I felt like laughing. If anything, I felt free," reads the post.

The unidentified subject also describes other violent aspects of his past by saying, "The violence is inside of me. My energy is black, black, black. I used to kill little birds when I was a kid. Then I moved on to cats. By the time I was seventeen I was beating the [expletive] out of everybody. Bigger than me, taller than me, I didn’t care. It was more torture to keep it inside. If I kept the violence inside I’d mutilate myself."

You can read the full post here



A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on


Upon posting the story, comments began flooding in asking Stanton to report the man as they believed he could be a threat to others. One reader called the subject of the post "a danger."

According to Buzzfeed News, another commenter said that if the creator of the page didn't report him to authorities after sharing his "disturbing" story he was "doing a disservice to the public."

A spokesperson for SPVM spoke with Buzzfeed and stated that the man's actions could not be proven. "After verification, no such event has happened in Montreal over the last few years and no complaint has been filed about it," the representative said. 

Stanton has yet to respond to the firestorm surrounding the post.