A woman who went on a tirade after refusing to wear a mask at a New Jersey bank on Black Friday has become the subject of a viral video.
But it’s her specific claim that’s setting her apart from what has become a genre of viral mask refusers:
“I’m a scientist,” she yells. “There is no corona!”
In the video, recorded at an Englewood Citibank, the customer berates a bank employee and threatens their job, promising they’re going to become “famous.”
While the identity of the customer is unknown, she is the one who can be heard clearly in the clip. In the same breath that the woman says there is no corona(virus), she seems to worry about what would happen if the employee has COVID-19.
“Count your days!!” she shouts. “Bully! What, this is giving you the right to be a bully?! Because you’re brainwashed?! I am a scientist! There is no corona! Don’t make me wear your mask! Are you cra … are you trying to kill me?? What happens if you have corona?”
The video has been viewed 1.4 million times since it was shared Sunday on Twitter by @FirenzeMike, who called the woman a “maskless Karen.”
“Karen” videos have continually surfaced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They are most often characterized by white women refusing to wear masks, demonstrating entitled or racist behavior.
New Jersey has a mask mandate requiring that face coverings be worn in indoor public spaces, and that they cover the nose and mouth. People are also required to wear masks in outdoor public spaces if they cannot practice social distancing, with certain exceptions, including eating and exercising.
In July, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would make a violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s April executive order pertaining to masks in indoor spaces a disorderly persons offense, imposing a penalty of a 30-day jail sentence and fines of up to $500 for anyone who would refuse to wear one.
Eric Seifert, who uses the Twitter handle @ItsMrSizzle, shared the bank video with @FirenzeMike. A friend of Seifert’s who wishes to remain anonymous recorded the video Nov. 27 while at the Englewood bank, he says. He then shared the video with friends, including Seifert, in a group text.
“It got me upset,” Seifert tells NJ Advance Media.
Seifert, a big Phish fan, weighed in on the group text:
“I haven’t been to a Phish show in over a year, my daughters have missed lacrosse and volleyball season … and this idiot is out here doing things that will prolong that even more!” he said.
Seifert offered to share the clip with @FirenzeMike, who has a larger Twitter following. After seeing the video, former NBA player Rex Chapman shared it with his 1 million followers.
The clip starts in the middle of some heated remarks from the woman.
“Because I will take this all the way,” she says, speaking to a masked bank employee behind the counter. “I am going now to court to fight masks and you are not going to tell me what to do! Stand six feet away from me and do your social — no, more! More! You want to be safe? Stand six feet away from me, OK? That’s it.”
“Give me your card with your name because this branch is gonna hear your name,” the woman continues. “You’re gonna become famous. Do it now! Do it now!”
“You work for me!!” she yells. “I do not work for you!! I’ve been a customer since 1990! Were you born then?? Shame on you!”
At one point, the woman appears to be responding to an offer of a mask.
“You’re very lucky she’s not here,” the customer continues. “‘Cause she knows me well, your boss. Count your days! Count your days!! Bully! What, this is giving you the right to be a bully?! Because you’re brainwashed?! I am a scientist! There is no corona! Don’t make me wear your mask! Are you cra … are you trying to kill me?? What happens if you have corona? Did you just say you’re trying to kill me? I wanna know ‘cause we’re on camera. Did you just suggest for me to wear your dirty mask? Because I think you did. Give me your name and your number now. You’re done.”
“Citi is proud of how our frontline colleagues at the Englewood branch handled this unfortunate situation,” Drew Benson, a Citi spokesman, told NJ Advance Media. “We do not tolerate the abuse of our staff.”
Seifert lives down the road from Englewood in Tenafly, home to “another famous Karen,” he says — Caren Turner, the former Port Authority official who rushed to the scene and flashed her badge in 2018 when a car her daughter was riding in was pulled over by borough police. (During the encounter, Turner told a police officer that he could “shut the f— up.”)
He says his friend noted that police showed up as he was leaving the Englewood bank.
“She could have COVID. She could be giving it to people in the bank,” Seifert says of the woman in the video. “I was going to post it on Nextdoor,” he says, referring to the neighborhood social network.
“‘Anyone know this lady?’”
NJ Advance Media has reached out to Englewood Police.
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