@avrodiite/TikTok

‘I have the right to be able to breathe O2 not CO2’: Karen refuses to wear mask in store, so she calls 911 in viral TikTok

The employee wasn't buying her excuses.

 

Cecilia Lenzen

IRL

Published Dec 31, 2021   Updated Jan 3, 2022, 10:51 am CST

Viral TikTok footage shows a white woman, dubbed a Karen online, arguing with a store employee and demanding accommodation so she could shop inside the store without wearing a mask. She winds up calling 911.

“I don’t wear a mask because I can’t. I’ll have a panic attack. I will freak out. I’ll have an anxiety attack,” the Karen said to the employee. “I know what I want, and I’m here at the end with the understanding that no one’s in the store. You can either accommodate me by giving me an hour at the end of every day [or] an hour at the beginning of the day.”

The store employee, known as Aidan Bearpaw (@avrodiite) on TikTok, wasn’t buying her excuses. After she refused to wear the disposable face mask he offered her, he told her it was fine to call the police if she was “committed to that.”

Footage of the incident, uploaded by Bearpaw, received about 245,000 views as of Friday. According to Bearpaw’s Instagram, he’s based in Palm Springs, California. In her call with 911, the so-called Karen says to the dispatcher that she’s at Palm Springs pet store, Bones and Scones.

The Karen can be seen standing in the doorway as Bearpaw blocked her from entering. She said she would like to “not have to” call the police and again told Bearpaw that there was no one in the store—so she should be able to enter without a mask.

“There’s me,” was the employee’s response. 

At that, the Karen went on another rant, saying she had driven 20 minutes to the store to pick up a few items for her babies at home, and she had rights that included the right to not wear a mask. Then she called the police, still standing in the store doorway. 

“Uh yeah, as per the 1964 Civil Rights Act, I do have a right to be able to breathe O2 not CO2, and I am being discriminated against right now at a store,” the Karen said when the operator asked what her emergency was. 

Although she did get the year of the Civil Rights Act correct, the Karen was off on saying that it protected people like her from having to wear a mask. It’s unclear why she thinks wearing a mask causes her to breathe carbon dioxide instead of oxygen.

The Karen added that she had a religious exemption from wearing a mask, plus a “God-given right” to be able to breathe.

“I thought it was a medical exemption,” Bearpaw interjected, referencing her alleged panic and anxiety attacks. 

“Uh huh, yes, medical exemption, too,” she said. 

The Karen then gave the operator the store’s address, as well as her full name and phone number, which viewers were shocked to see, given that Bearpaw was clearly recording the exchange. 

Unrecorded

A “part 2” TikTok showed that the 911 call wasn’t going how the Karen probably thought it would. That clip boasts more than 1 million views as of Friday.

“So you’re one of the first people that I have called 911 who actually doesn’t seem to understand that in the end, I’m actually the one with the right,” the Karen said on the phone. “Even though it’s mandated, it’s not actually a law. It’s based off a state of emergency that we are no longer in.” 

The operator tried explaining that businesses have the right to refuse service to people, but Karen cut her off, assuring the operator that she knew she had the right to not wear a mask and could win a lawsuit against the store employee if she wanted to.

In the end, the Karen told the operator she was leaving the store because a police officer wouldn’t be able to get there before the employee closed the store at its closing time. And even if they did get there before, the officer likely wouldn’t side with Karen, given what the operator said on the phone. 

“I don’t want you to come out because all I really want is for you to support me for me to be able to purchase a few items,” she said. 

As the Karen discussed the situation with the operator once again, the store employee interrupted, “Ma’am. You hear them, you hear me. I’m just doing my job. Can you step outside?” 

The Karen then demanded that the employee give his name, which he willingly did. Then when she finally realized he was recording her, she decided to film him too. 

Viewers were shocked at not just how the Karen treated Bearpaw but also how she treated 911 like a customer service line for anti-maskers. 

“She’s treating 911 like a customer service line for every store that doesn’t allow her to shop without a mask,” one viewer commented on the video. 

“‘you’re one of the first people on 911 that doesn’t understand’ HOW MANY TIMES HAS SHE CALLED THEM?????” another viewer asked. 

Another user said, “They should charge her for using 911 as a damn hotline.” 

“Who does she think 911 dispatchers are, playground mediators?” a different user asked.

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Maskless Karen stories became a national phenomenon news-wise in 2020 as the looming presidential election made mask mandates fiercely partisan issues. Recently, these viral incidents have been less frequently logged on social media; amid the rise of the omicron variant in the U.S. however, which has seen a significant spike in domestic coronavirus cases, the viral videos of mask-fueled confrontations are once again resurfacing.

TikTok user @avrodiite did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment. 

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*First Published: Dec 31, 2021, 1:57 pm CST