White Man, Enraged Over Mask Requirement, Uses N-Word in Viral Video

A white man who refused to wear a mask while approaching the outdoor ordering counter at a restaurant was recorded cursing at a restaurant employee and hurling the N-word at someone standing nearby.

The video began going viral after it was posted on Reddit Tuesday. The person who shared the video said in the comments on the post that the incident took place at a Dick's Burger joint in Kent, Washington.

"It's worth arguing about a mask right here. Look at this guy," the person recording the incident can be heard saying while approaching the man. The man was pointing and gesturing at an employee on the other side of the ordering counter's window.

"I don't need one," the man can be heard saying. "I'm within six feet of you, dumba**."

"The guy's just trying to do his job, man," the person recording the incident called out. The man continued cursing at the employee and started walking away before the person behind the camera yelled, "Hey, Trump 2020, am I right?" The man then approached the person who was catching the incident on video, cursing at him, pointing his middle finger and using the N-word before the video ended.

Face mask
A used face mask is seen in Midtown as New York City moves into Phase 3 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on July 14, 2020. Face coverings have grown increasingly political over the past few months as some governors introduced statewide mask mandates and others said they did not plan to take that step. Noam Galai/Getty

A flood of Reddit users mocked the reference to the president's re-election bid in comments posted within the feed. Trump's own refusal to wear face coverings in most public appearances set a political tone for the debate about where and when to use masks, despite the fact that many state and federal health officials—including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—recommend them whenever individuals are unable to observe six feet of social distancing.

According to Jasmine Donovan, the president and chief financial officer of the restaurant chain, the company has encouraged its employees and customers to wear face coverings for months.

"Since the COVID crisis began in Washington we've been making modifications to our operations for the safety of our crew, our customers and our communities," Donovan told Newsweek. "All of our employees have been wearing masks since the end of April and have been encouraging our customers to do so as well. The vast majority of our customers have been patient, understanding and supportive of the changes we've made for everyone's safety."

The CDC recommended Americans wear masks in early April, but several states began mandating their use in public spaces last month in response to surges in new COVID-19 cases. In Washington, where one of the country's first COVID-19 outbreaks took place, Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order that required all residents to wear face coverings in both indoor and outdoor public settings. The order went into effect June 26.

Although Inslee and several other governors ordered their constituents to wear masks while in public, others have not issued statewide declarations, instead allowing local government leaders to dictate rules regarding masks and other pandemic restrictions. While the CDC still recommends Americans wear face coverings, the federal government has not taken steps to tighten the guidelines further. The changes in requirements from one county to the next has caused confusion among many Americans about what the rules are and when they apply.

There has also been confusion about what qualifies as a face covering. Shortly after Inslee's mandate went into effect last month, an argument over face coverings broke out at a Cold Stone in a town about 130 miles away. In that instance, the Cold Stone employee was fired after a customer accused her of discriminating against children in connection to the store's own policy, which the employee said was stricter than Inslee's broad face-covering definition.

Update, July 15, 2020, 5:59 p.m.: This article has been updated with a statement from Jasmine Donovan, the restaurant chain's president and CFO.