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California Trader Joe’s ‘Karen’ Tells Her Side Of The Story After Her Tirade Was Caught On Camera


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.


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.

John Sundholm

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, video producer and performer originally from Michigan, and is one of those people who says he "lived in London for a while" even though it was only six weeks for study abroad. He made Ellen DeGeneres laugh once so you should probably follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Medium, where he does a lot of yelling under the name @JohntheCraptist.