MELBOURNE - An innocent selfie with the display of a Star Wars character turned into a nightmare for an Australian man.
The father-of-three, who spotted the Darth Vader cut-out while out shopping at a mall in eastern Melbourne's Wantirna South on May 6, had wanted to send the photo to his children, who are Star Wars fans.
But his intentions were misunderstood by a woman nearby, who thought he was trying to take a photo of her children. She then snapped a picture of him and uploaded a lengthy post of Facebook, in which she called him a "creep".
Daily Mail Australia reported that the viral post was shared more than 20,000 times before the man was alerted to it by his partner the next day.
"I was just flabbergasted at this stage that my photo is on Facebook with an allegation I've been speaking to children and taking children's photos," said the man, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.
"I'm a father of three kids and a normal human being... I've never taken a selfie before. I was in two minds whether to take the selfie, but I thought it'll be a good daggy dad joke."
The man, who was reportedly devastated by the ordeal, said he went down immediately to the Knox Police Station to identify himself and had his phone checked.
He explained that he had spotted a number of children sitting nearby who were lining up to have their photographs taken. After informing them that he was taking a quick selfie to send to his children, he walked out of the shop while trying to figure out how to send the picture.
That was when he was photographed by the woman, who removed her children from the shop and alerted security to the incident.
The post was eventually taken down, but the man said the damage to his reputation had already been done. He said he hoped that the woman would apologise to him personally.
The police also verified his story and clarified that the woman was "acting with the best intentions and is deeply apologetic".