A Southern California woman with a penchant for believing conspiracy theories ill-advisedly video-recorded an argument she had with a grocery store manager about her inalienable right to shop without a face mask.
The incident happened at a Gelson's supermarket in Dana Point, in Orange County, and the woman in question — widely referred to as "Karen" on social media now — is named Shelley Lewis. The video was posted Sunday on Lewis's own Facebook account — since removed — and went viral on Twitter and elsewhere. You can watch below, and hear her indignation and staunch argument that she suffers a medical condition that prevents her from wearing a mask, and that she needs to purchase private items that she doesn't want others picking out for her.
"Can we shop for you?" offers the manager. But oh no, Lewis claims that she's being discriminated against, and she also refuses to let any stranger handle her credit card. Gelson's, she shouted, is "going to get a lawsuit." She remains, standing outside, refusing to let anyone see her "private credit card information," and telling an innocent employee, "I'm glad you guys think it's okay to be infringing on people's rights here."
Karen gets upset that a store won't let her shop without a protective facemask. She then tried to pretend like she's the victim, despite the store giving her options. This is pure arrogance. https://t.co/qgFLhKjgxd #COVIDIDIOTS #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/OXV4EQLOgD— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) May 17, 2020
Heavy.com catalogued the Twitter backrgound checks that began popping up Sunday about Lewis, who seems from her Facebook presence to be a real prize.
Among the topics of conversation are some conspiracy crazy greatest hits, including 5G towers, 9/11, fake moon landings, and the Earth is flat. And, as Twitter quickly found, Lewis is loud and proud in her belief system, having appeared on this Jubilee Media discussion on YouTube, arguing with scientists about whether Earth is flat.
"I live in Dana Point," she says at one point in this video. "We see too far... I can see San Clemente Island, which is 60 miles away." She also contends that as ships disappear she can still see them with a zoom lens.
Perhaps we should all be sensitive to how crises like the COVID-19 pandemic tend to bring out people's mental illnesses, but unfortunately conspiracy beliefs aren't always categorized as such.
Now that indignation like this puts other people's health potentially at risk, however, it is a valid cause for public shaming.
Shelley Lewis is a real winner 🙄 purposely setting out to be be defiant and noticed....typical Karen mentality pic.twitter.com/C6vdFKuzkJ— YupYup (@Mommyof2beboys) May 17, 2020
Lewis was a speaker at the Flat Earth International Conference last year, and in her bio it states, "She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she entertained hopes of becoming an AstroNOT." It further says she was discharged from the military after being diagnosed with lupus, and she now treats the condition with a vegan lifestyle and alternative medicine. In the video above, she mentions that her husband "was killed in 2010," and it was only after that she began embracing conspiracy theories, and questioning the moon landing.
Orange County has not mandated that all citizens wear face masks in public, however individual businesses like Gelson's have opted to require this on their premises. Employees at essential businesses are, however, required to wear masks in Orange County.
Still via Jubilee Media/Youtube