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A man went on a racist rant inside an Asian grocery store in Canada after he was asked to wear a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The man, who claims to have asthma and is an anti-mask supporter, can be seen in a YouTube post on Tuesday going on a racist rant at T&T Supermarket in Mississauga, Canada on July 5, according to Global News.
The unidentified man was reportedly shopping at the grocery store with his wife, who is of Asian descent, when the xenophobic verbal assault happened. He was filmed talking to an employee of the store regarding the mandatory mask policy, which requires employees and customers to wear one at all times while shopping.
In the clip, posted by YouTube user Firenze Yeung, the man can be heard arguing with the staff and claiming masks make people sick.
“You guys can all wear your masks and you can all die,” the man said. “When you wear the masks you get sick, it’s science.”
He also went on to spew anti-Asian remarks at the staff.
“Where did we get our Wuhan communist virus? From China, from you guys. The communist virus,” he said.
However, he kept coming back to his previous claim and seemed to “lecture” the male employee about the effectiveness of face masks.
“You get sick with the mask,” he claimed again, “Use your common sense. When you wear a mask, you’re breathing in old air.”
The man also repeatedly asked the employee where he was from and why he wasn’t standing two meters (about 6 feet) away while approaching him.
The employee kept replying, “I’m Canadian.”
As he was being escorted outside the store, the man once again blamed China for the pandemic while constantly saying “I’m asthmatic” and “I’m Chinese.”
T&T Supermarket CEO, Tina Lee, revealed in a statement that the man was already arguing with the staff even before the filming of the incident.
“The customer was arguing with another customer and store colleagues for several minutes prior to the video footage,” Lee said. “When politely asked to wear a mask, which is store policy, the man initially refused because he said it was ineffective. He then became irate and aggressive, claiming to have allergies and then proceeded to claim he and his friend both had asthma.”
As for medical conditions, such as asthma, Lee said the supermarket has protocols set in place and other options for such an event.
“Our protocol for customers with medical conditions is to encourage them to approach our customer service desk so we can complete their shopping for them,” she said in the statement. “We also offer online shopping services.”
The Peel Police are now investigating the case as a “hate-motivated incident” after the video became viral on social media, said Peel Constable Akhil Mooken on Twitter.
Hi Jennifer. Once we were aware of the video, an officer attended to proactively take a report. This is being investigated as a hate-motivated incident. Anyone with information, such as the identity of the man, is asked to call 905-453-3311 ext. 1133 or Crime Stoppers.
— Cst. Akhil Mooken (@AkhilMooken) July 9, 2020
He added that private property and business owners can impose their own rules regarding the use of face masks inside their establishment even if the government did not pass a law for such rules.
“If a business decides to say that any customers or employees must have a mask, that is the right of that business to be able to create those rules and those rules are set as part of the Trespass of Property Act and there can be enforcement that’s taken,” he said. “If a customer comes into a private business and refuses to follow the rules that have been clearly defined, then they can be asked to leave the premise.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, in a statement on Wednesday, described the incident as appalling, Toronto City News reported.
“Racist, hurtful and divisive comments like these have absolutely no place in our City and are frankly appalling,” the mayor said. “We pride ourselves on our diversity; it is what makes our City one of the best places to live in the world. To those who seek to divide us, I send a strong message that you are not welcome in Mississauga.”
Feature Image Screenshot via Firenze Yeung