Another day, another reminder that Karens come in all shapes, colors, and, yes, genders.
Recently, a series of videos went viral of a man berating and threatening the staff of a Marshalls department store over being asked to wear a face-covering while shopping. The man, who was later identified as San Francisco resident Timothy Gaskin, released a stream of racist and homophobic slurs at the employees, calling the employees anti-gay slurs and the man filming him a “dumb Mexican.”
The video begins with Gaskin verbally assaulting two employees, calling one of them a “dumb f*** f***t”. “What’s your problem?” he asked the man recording him. “What’s your dumb f***** f*****t problem?”. He continued: “You don’t know the law. That’s how stupid you are.”
Gaskin claimed that the store would face up to $75,000 in fines if they refused to serve him. “It’ll cost you $75,000. It’s a health code violation to deny service based on someone’s disability. So I would love if you do it. It will cost you $75,000,” he said.
Not only that but when the man behind the camera continued to record him in a different part of the store, Mr. Gaskin responded even more aggressively by beginning to unbutton his pants, ostensibly threatening to expose himself.
At one point, he gestures towards the man behind the camera and continues his rant, saying: “The dumb Mexican guy here doesn’t know because he doesn’t speak English. He thinks he’s a ‘big deal.’”
Of course, this isn’t the first time a customer has acted hysterically when being asked to wear a mask in public.
Since COVID-19 has forced businesses to be hyper-vigilant about the health and safety of both their employees and customers, mask-wearing has become a mandatory requirement for services in many businesses.
Unfortunately, there is now a small but vocal group of Americans loudly proclaiming how being forced to wear a mask in public “oppresses” them or infringes on their constitutional rights. These people usually refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as grounds for their refusal to wear masks.
It appears the misinformation around the ADA and potential fines towards business come from a fake organization that calls itself the “Freedom to Breathe Agency” (FTBA), a fraudulent organization that spreads false information on social media platforms like Facebook. The FBA is not only the originator of the false $75,000 fine claim, but they also used to sell “Face Mask Exemption” cards through their (now defunct) website.
These cards stated: “Wearing a face mask poses [sic] a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), I am not required to disclose my condition to you,” According to the FTBA, these cards were made as “an educational tool” to help people “understand their legal and human rights so they can stand up to the unlawful, unscientific and unconstitutional mandates.”
However, the FTBA’s claims have been publically debunked by the Department of Justice, who recently wrote on their website: “The Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which include the Department of Justice’s seal. These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department.”
As for Mr. Gaskin, he is no doubt feeling the wrath that the internet likes to rain down upon viral “Karens”. His face — as well as the false and threatening statements he made to the harmless employees who were just trying to do their job — is now publicly documented for all the world to see.