A viral video shows a woman in Taiwan now dubbed a “Karen” upsetting fellow passengers after apparently failing to wear a mask properly on a train.
According to the China Post, the woman had a meltdown after someone reported her for failing to wear a mask as she slept on the way to Taichung. Authorities on the train got involved and asked her to wear a mask.
She did, but she put it on backward and couldn’t seem to keep it over her nose—both additional frustrations to those around her.
Footage of the resulting altercation spread across Reddit and TikTok. Many assumed the woman must be American because of how she spoke and the fact that she appears to be white.
Early on in the video, the so-called “Karen in Taiwan,” as she has been labeled, yells at another passenger who attempts to explain to her why wearing the mask backward doesn’t work.
“I’m wearing the mask! Just leave me alone!” the woman says multiple times.
In extended footage of the incident, the woman insists that she “didn’t do anything illegal” and berates the passenger who reported her getting others on the train involved instead of asking her to wear a mask directly.
“The reason I asked you to wear your mask is because you were coughing,” the passenger explains.
“And when I wear it too much, I cough,” the woman responds.
Throughout the 6-minute video, the woman repeatedly touches the front of her mask and unhooks it from behind one ear before talking.
The woman acted as if she would have no problem following the rules if she had been asked in a specific way. But SETN reports that people in Taiwan immediately recognized the woman as a foreigner working in Taichung as an English teacher—and say that she’s caused trouble like this before.
She was ultimately kicked off the train for failing to wear a mask and causing a scene.
Redditors responding to the video had even less patience for her antics than her fellow passengers.
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“It doesn’t look like she’s going to get a moment’s peace as long as she resists wearing a mask properly and remains in country—nor should she,” wrote u/Ex-maven. “She is a pathetic sight.”
Many took issue with the fact that the woman appears to be a visitor in another country but refuses to follow the rules.
“Could you imagine breaking down into tears because you are expected to follow local laws in a country [in] which you are a guest,” asked u/BigsleazyG.
“I wonder if these Karens think that they carry their freedoms with them when they go to other countries,” said another user. “News flash… They don’t.”
When COVID-19 spread to Taiwan in January 2020, the country immediately took steps to contain it, and citizens readily wore masks to protect themselves and others. The country never had to go into mass lockdown and confirmed less than 900 cases of the virus. The country's coronavirus-related death count is believed to have stayed at seven, with the last one reported in May of last year.