A woman was forced out of a grocery store in Montreal after going on a racist tirade in which she blamed Chinese people for the spread of COVID-19.
Ken Mak and his girlfriend were waiting at the checkout at IGA on Nuns’ Island when the unidentified woman allegedly approached them and asked if he was Chinese, reported CBC News. Mak, who moved to Canada 20 years ago, said he replied “yes,” which then prompted the woman to start asking about the coronavirus.
“Before I could respond, she would cut me off and start her monologue about how Chinese people are to blame for the whole coronavirus,” Mak told CBC News.
A store employee soon intervened and Mak pulled out his phone to film the scene.
“All of these 21 months of bullsh*t… All of these f*cking epidemic that became a pandemic, it’s because of you Chinese people!” the woman yells.
The irate customer went on to claim that her family has the best lawyer in Montreal.
The video ends with the woman being escorted out of the store after Montreal police reportedly arrived to help remove her from the premises.
In a statement, IGA said they are “incredibly disheartened and upset” over the woman’s disrespectful behavior.
“In such circumstances, we ask the customer to leave our store, as our team did in this instance. Local authorities were contacted to assist in this matter,” the company said, according to CTV News. “At IGA, we denounce all forms of hate. This is never acceptable.”
Mak, who posted the footage to Facebook, used the hashtag #StopAsianHate and urged others not to blame innocent people for the pandemic. He said the video “shall not be swept under the rug.”
“This pandemic has caused chaos in all our lives, and it is not acceptable to assault a specific minority for it. We all have been through the lockdowns, the curfews and the hardships in Quebec together just like everyone else,” Mak wrote. “All crisis ends, but until then we need to support each other, not blaming innocent people.”
The woman’s comments and behavior in the video have since been condemned by community leaders throughout Canada.
“I denounce this lady’s racist remarks, which are shocking and unacceptable,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante tweeted. “Anti-Asian racism has no place in Montreal, and this type of aggression should never be tolerated.”
Benoit Charette, Quebec’s minister tasked to oversee anti-racism efforts, also tweeted: “Saddening, shocking and condemnable! Behavior of this sort simply has no place in Quebec.”
“I denounce the woman verbal aggression towards #Asian Montrealers,” wrote Winston Chan, board member of National Coalition Against Anti-Asian Racism. “Asians should not be the blame of the pandemic.”
Montreal police documented 30 anti-Asian incidents between March and December 2020, eight of which were hate crimes, according to Global News.