A woman who unleashed anti-mask tirades at Bunnings and an Australia Post shop in Melbourne over the weekend has been identified as Kerry Nash.
Social media users angered by her actions have posted her LinkedIn profile online, forcing her former employer iSelect, where she worked as a senior sales consultant, to address the incidents on Twitter on Monday.
“Kerry Nash has not worked for iSelect since Dec ‘18,” the company wrote.
“We are appalled by #BunningsKaren’s refusal to wear a mask without a legitimate reason. We fully comply with COVID restrictions, any staff unable to WFH must wear a mask in our office, in accordance with guidelines.”
Footage of Nash, since dubbed “BunningsKaren”, berating workers at the Bunnings store on Saturday has been heavily criticised online.
“It is unlawful, and it is discriminatory, and it is illegal. And I’m going to continue going in here and getting what I need because it is unlawful for you to do that,” she told workers.
At the post office, she stormed up to a bemused-looking worker processing her request.
“I do not need a mask. If you could stamp that, it would be wonderful,” she told the man behind a perspex screen.
On Thursday, it became compulsory under the public health act that anyone in the Melbourne and Mitchell Shire regions must wear a face mask or covering in public settings.
Without an exemption, failure to do so can result in a $200 fine.
Discussion online suggest both clips were filmed in the suburb of Narre Warren in southeast Melbourne.
Second ‘Bunnings Karen’ emerges
Another woman, a professional psychic named Lizzy Rose, has attracted backlash after launching into a similar tirade at Bunnings Warehouse in Maribyrnong.
She claimed staff called the police to remove her from the store after she told them she was medically exempt from wearing a mask to protect from the “alleged killer virus”.
She did not say what medical condition the certificate is for.
“I have a medical exemption for being here and shopping here. And yet, they’re threatening to call the police on me, and asked me to leave,” she said.
“Because as far as they’re concerned, my medical exemption is irrelevant. And it’s actually not. As we know, I have every legal right to protect my health and myself, and I am exempt and I have all the documents to prove it. So let’s see what happens.”
As she places pots into her basket, a Bunnings staff member wearing a mask can be seen and heard walking behind her, telling someone on the phone Rose has a “bogus piece of paper”.
After reaching the check-out, the employee requests to see her certificate and asks her to stop filming because it is private property.
The two debate back and forth before she cuts the video.
The few reasons for people not to wear a mask include a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe, a serious skin condition, or a disability or mental health condition.
There are also exceptions if you are communicating with a person with a hearing impairment, where they need to be able to see your mouth for communication; and if you are involved in strenuous exercise such as jogging, running or cycling.
Mask order ‘doesn’t breach human rights’
Conspiracy theorists need to stop claiming Victoria's mask orders breach human rights, authorities say.
Multiple videos have gone viral online of people challenging orders to wear masks in public during the state's deadly second coronavirus wave.
"Seriously, one more comment about human rights - honestly. It is about human life," Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.
"The message that will save lives is not focusing on people whose, frankly, their behaviour is appalling. Their views have no basis in science or fact or law."
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said the mask orders and associated $200 fine were not a breach of any human rights.
"The requirement for residents to wear a face mask or covering when leaving the house is a lawful directive that does not violate any rights set out under Victoria's charter of human rights and responsibilities or any international human rights instruments," she said in a statement.
"Shops, businesses and workplaces are able to refuse entry to a person not wearing a mask in order to protect the health of their staff and other customers."
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.