A young French woman who was verbally abused and told to "speak English or die" on a Melbourne bus says the incident was frightening, but she doesn't judge Australians over it.

Police are investigating the racist taunts and threats made on board a bus in the city's southern suburbs, while mobile phone footage of the incident has drawn international attention.

The video - showing fellow passengers on November 11 verbally abusing the woman and her friends - has attracted more than one million views on YouTube.

Fanny Desaintjores, 22, told Fairfax she feared she would be physically assaulted by fellow passengers, who called her a dog, bi**ch, and a c*** and threatened to cut off her breasts, after she and her mates sang a song in their native tongue.

"I thought he was joking at first and then I realised he wasn't kidding at all, so my friends and I stopped laughing. We were quite afraid that he [would come] and hit us," she said.

Ms Desaintjores says she had not experienced any similar demonstrations of hatred during a three-month trip to Australia.

"It was an incident that could happen anywhere, even in France, so I don't judge you in any country," she wrote on YouTube in response to the video.

"We find idiots everywhere, even in France."

Caught on camera: Man allegedly hurls abuse at French girls singing on a Melbourne bus. Photo: YouTube screenshot

Ms Desaintjores said she couldn't quite understand what the abusers were saying, but she wanted to keep quiet so as not to escalate the situation.

She believed the incident had more to do with drugs and alcohol than being an example of Australian attitudes towards foreigners.

"I don't want to fuel hatred or anything," she wrote.

The incident began when Ms Desaintjores and her friends were singing a French song on the bus, said Mike Nayna, another passenger who recorded the video footage on his phone.

A female passenger began chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie", before another person shouted at her to "speak English or die", he said.

Mr Nayna, who describes himself as brown, also said that a man starting ranting at him about hating black people when he asked the passengers to calm down.

"He said darkies should be kept at the back of the bus where they belong, before repeatedly yelling ' I hate blacks'," Mr Nayna said.

Three people caught on camera allegedly abusing a group of French tourists. Photo: YouTube screenshot

One of the men shouting abuse at the French women got off the bus pushing a pram and child.

"I'll f***ing boxcutter you right now, dog," he had shouted at her.

Another man then joined in and said everyone on the bus wanted to kill her and she "would have to get off eventually".
Police have a copy of the video and are searching for the abusive passengers.

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