Can you think of anything more inconvenient or uncomfortable than temporarily wearing a mask for the few minutes it takes you to shop for food in a grocery store?
I, for one, cannot. Just kidding! Of course you can. Wearing a mask is SO. DAMN. SIMPLE. Sure, it might not be the most pleasant thing in the world, but the potential repercussions of not wearing one — such as falling severely ill, being put on a ventilator, or infecting other people with a potentially deadly virus — trump your minor discomfort.
Masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19, yet some people out there still refuse to wear them in public. Not only do some of these grown adults refuse to put masks on their faces, but they also make a big stink about it and throw embarrassing tantrums in stores.
When those tantrums are recorded and posted on social media, they’ll sometimes go viral, which is why our running list of “Karens” and “Kens” (white women and men who get meme’d for their absurdly problematic behavior) is growing so long.
Kens and Karens are often called out for being overtly racist, like the woman who called the cops on a Black bird watcher in Central Park earlier this month. But as states start to reopen and put added coronavirus safety measures into place, a new type of problematic human has emerged: People who just really don’t want to wear masks.
Here are 8 men and women who’ve recently gone viral for aggressively refusing to wear masks in public.
1. Karen from Trader Joe’s
A woman shopping at a Trader Joe’s in North Hollywood, California, was recently caught on camera screaming at store employees that asked her to wear a mask. She claimed she had “a medical breathing condition” and her doctor would not let her wear a mask, but as employees continued to confront her she could be heard shouting expletives and calling them “Democratic pigs.” She threw her cart to the ground and eventually stormed out of the store.
2. Coughing Karen
Earlier this month, a woman named Allison Goodbaum shared a troubling experience she had with a fellow customer at a bagel shop in New York.
Goodbaum explained that after noticing the woman next to her wasn’t wearing a mask she brought it to the attention of a bagel shop employee. The mask-less woman overheard Goodbaum’s words of concern, started screaming, and even came over to cough on Goodbaum to spread her germs. An onlooker captured the outburst on camera, and Goodbaum shared it on Facebook.
3. Karen throwing food
Another supermarket meltdown happened at a Fiesta Market in Dallas, Texas. After this Karen was reportedly asked to put on a mask, she began screaming and throwing food from her cart onto the floor. Extremely mature!
4. This Ken who charged a Walmart employee
After this man was asked to put on a mask before entering a Walmart store in Florida, he can be seen charging and shoving the store employee. The mask-less man ignores requests to leave or adhere to store policy, and instead sprints down the aisles while attempting to dodge employees.
5. Pier 1 Karen
Another Karen was spotted without a mask at a Pier 1 store in Jacksonville, Florida. Footage captured and shared online by Heather Sprague — a cancer patient and mother of 10 — shows the woman becoming defensive after being asked about her lack of mask. In the video, the woman can be seen sticking up her middle fingers before approaching Sprague to cough directly on her.
6. Gas station Karen
Twitter user @Jillcattt recently shared video of an angry white woman majorly disrespecting a gas station employee. “She spit on an essential worker bc he enforced the rule of wear a mask. In response, she spit on him… I wanted to cry,” the tweet read.
I’ve been hearing about “Karen” but hadn’t been around one. I encountered one in the wild tonight and it blew my mind. She spit on an essential worker bc he enforced the rule of wear a mask. In response, she spit on him in. I wanted to cry pic.twitter.com/WxKMgvJvEp
— Jillcattt (@Jillcattt) June 28, 2020
7. “Let me speak to the manager” Karen
A Karen named Shelley Lewis recorded herself going off about being asked to wear a mask before shopping in a Gelson’s Market in Dana Point, California. After having a confrontation with an employee outside the store, Lewis asked to speak with the store’s manager. (Classic Karen move.) When the manager confirmed Lewis would not be allowed to shop without a mask she continued to argue and proceeded to ask for corporate’s number.
8. Starbucks Karen
A woman named Amber Lynn Gilles angrily posted to Facebook about a barista at a Starbucks in San Diego, California, who insisted she wear a face mask before entering the establishment. She threatened to call the cops on the barista the next time she went to the coffeeshop, but her Karen move wound up majorly backfiring for her.
As Mashable reported, a man named Matt Cowan started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Lenin Gutierrez, the barista that Cowan threatened. The GoFundMe has raised more than $93,000 so far, and Gutierrez has posted a video thanking people for their love and support, and shared his side of the story.
Just think: All that any of these people were being asked to do was to loop two straps over their ears and breath with a small piece of fabric in front of their nose and mouth for a short while. Rather than complying with that extremely small ask, they chose to cause these giant, spectacularly mortifying scenes instead.
Please don’t be a Karen or a Ken. Stop being selfish and just wear your damn mask in public, people.