It was an incident that almost instantly went mega-viral: An irate “Karen” caught on video having an absolute meltdown in a North Hollywood, California, Trader Joe’s because she was asked to wear a mask inside the store.
Now, the woman in the video is speaking out about her side of the story.
In an interview with Los Angeles’ ABC7, the woman, who asked not to be named, claimed that she had phoned the Trader Joe’s store in the Toluca Lake section of Los Angeles and was given permission by the manager to shop without a mask. The woman claims, both to ABC7 and in the original viral video, to have a medical condition that prevents her from wearing one.
But instead of the Toluca Lake location, she went to the nearby North Hollywood store by mistake, where she claimed a manager agreed to allow her to shop unmasked in this one instance only.
A fellow customer, however, verbally attacked her in the store for not wearing a mask, and that is where things became heated.
As she told ABC7:
“Right away he started using obscenities at me, saying ‘f you,’ the c word, ‘wear your f-ing mask’ all of this.”
Upset by the verbal attack, the woman said she responded in the way most people would when verbally attacked.
“I did what any normal human being, a woman, would do if she was being harassed by a man, not knowing if he’s a crazy man, so I started yelling in self-defense.”
It seems like a reasonable explanation and an understandable reaction to being verbally attacked in a grocery store.
But while Trader Joe’s did acknowledge in a statement that its mask policy has wiggle room for special situations like the one the woman claims to have, the company told ABC7 the woman’s account was “not factual,” based on security footage from the store. ABC7 was also unable to find any witnesses who would corroborate the harassment the woman claims touched off her tirade.
And online, most people were not buying her story.
This is BS. She yelled you all are democrats . She should be banned from all Trader Joe's until the Corona pandemic is over.
— Latino Political Ave (@LatPoliticalAve) June 29, 2020
(to be clear, I doubt she's telling the truth, just sharing additional info that popped up.)
— Ashley (@mcconnasquiggle) June 29, 2020
She says "I had permission to shop without a mask," as she takes out her mask exemption card from the Freedom to Breathe Agency.
— James Pace (@scanford) June 29, 2020
Her undisclosed medical condition is called white privilege.
— Bee Geesus (@TReagan15) June 29, 2020
What a moron. And the wee jab the anchor man has for her at the top of the video is *chefs kiss* perfection. https://t.co/2Jho3qS4Zp
— Effy Sux (@Effy_isolating) June 30, 2020
She’s nuts. The little clips of her “explaining” are maddeningly selfish.
— Effy Sux (@Effy_isolating) June 30, 2020
I don't buy one bit of thishttps://t.co/YPSzThIamo
— Rich. (@DabOfRich) June 29, 2020
This is a true Karen. No remorse at all.https://t.co/aC9G6BZib3
— Greenhorse (@geoffcmason) June 29, 2020
She doesn't understand she should wear a mask to protect others; not only to satisfy her whim not to have to wear one. No sympathy.
KABC-TV: Woman speaks out after tirade at Trader Joe's store in North Hollywood.https://t.co/NsAzX9eG1z
— glenda bauerle (@gkb59) June 29, 2020
“I had no political agenda,” says Trader Joe’s Karen who falsely claimed she had a “condition” which prevented her from wearing a mask and screamed “Democratic pigs” at shoppers and staff https://t.co/CLDxXAFOp7
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) June 29, 2020
No matter what you say “Karen”, you were not obeying the rules AND it is unlikely that your breathing condition allows you to screech like that https://t.co/Fxcu5NQNWT
— Narimi Brave (@NarimiBrave) June 29, 2020
Well, @ABC7 posted this terrible journalism as clickbait, so let's give them some clicks and hear this Karen explain why she's smashing baskets and calling people Democratic pigs (no, the "journalist" did not ask her about thishttps://t.co/kpbnFfG9MV
— Juan Q Public (@public_juan) June 29, 2020
Despite the overtly political language used in her tirade, the woman insisted to ABC7 that the social media narrative that has arisen in the wake of her meltdown has been skewed for political purposes.
“Unlike whatever lies they are putting out there, I had no political agenda.”
She did not offer an explanation for her political comments during the incident.