Police say they’re investigating a nearly four-minute cellphone video
that appears to show a man hurling anti-Asian and anti-mask rhetoric towards T&T Supermarket employees in Mississauga, Ontario.
The video, posted to YouTube, has been viewed more than 140,000 times by Wednesday evening.
It begins with a man appearing to dump several items from a grocery bag onto the floor in protest after an employee asks him to wear a mask while shopping.
“You guys can all wear your masks and you can all die… and you can all get sick, because when you wear the mask, you get sick. It’s science,” the man can be heard saying.
The man then confronts a male employee who asks him not to yell inside the supermarket. He then starts yelling anti-Asian racist remarks.
“Where did we get our Wuhan communist virus? From China, from you guys. The communist virus,” he can be heard yelling at the employee, who responds by telling the customer that he’s Canadian.
A woman, who the man refers to as his wife, can be seen in the video trying to restrain the irate customer — who continues to yell that he has asthma and doesn’t want to wear a mask.
“Go back to China, where you came from, and take your coronavirus back to Wuhan,” the man can be seen yelling at the employee later in the video.
The employee continuously responds with, “I’m Canadian.”
The man eventually leaves the store after several other workers come to the aid of the employee.
T&T Supermarkets claims the man was arguing with another customer and store employees for several minutes before the cell phone video began recording.
“When politely asked to wear a mask, which is store policy, the man initially refused because he said it was ineffective,” said T&T Supermarkets CEO, Tina Lee, in a statement to Global News.
“He then became irate and aggressive, claiming to have allergies and then proceeded to claim he and his friend both had asthma. Due to the customer’s behaviour, we stand by the store manager’s decision to ask the customer to leave.”
Lee adds that the grocery chain’s protocol for customers with medical conditions is to inform their customer service desk, so employees can complete the shopping for them.
Peel Regional Police Const. Akhil Mooken said an incident at the Mississauga T&T Supermarket was first reported on Sunday, but the call was cancelled because the customer had already left the store.
He adds that police are now investigating since a video has appeared of the incident.
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“There are a few things this man could be investigated for,” said Mooken. “Causing a disturbance could be one, as would offences under the Trespass to Property Act.
“For example, if the business had a rule that indicated shopping was not allowed without a mask or if the person failed to leave when directed, they could face a fine for being in contravention of the Act.”
Meanwhile, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has also chimed in on the incident on the same day the city passed a bylaw to make masks mandatory in indoor spaces.
“Racist, hurtful and divisive comments like these have absolutely no place in our city and are frankly appalling,” she said.
“I want to thank all the businesses and their employees, many of whom have already implemented their own corporate policies on mandatory face coverings.”
“It is the right thing to do and demonstrates their commitment to keeping customers and employees healthy and safe.”
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