Minnesota couple banned from Walmart after wearing Nazi flags as face coverings

Two people that were seen over the weekend wearing Nazi flags as face coverings at a Walmart in Marshall, Minn., are temporarily banned from visiting Walmart facilities, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to local media.

The representative told local NBC station KARE 11 on Saturday that the ban will apply for one year at least after the two customers were reportedly issued trespass notices from the local police department over the Saturday incident. 

In footage that emerged on social media Saturday and prompted viral backlash online, a man and woman could be seen wearing the swastikas over their faces while going through a checkout line at the local Walmart. 

The couple could then be seen gesturing at people off-screen who told them they were “sick” for the display, with the woman in the video flipping her middle finger at the other customers. 

“You’re sick. You have an illness. You can’t be American and wear that mask. You cannot. We literally had a war about this,” a man, identified by the Minnesota Reformer as Benjamin Ruesch, could be heard telling the couple off-camera. 

“If you vote for Biden, you’re going to be in Nazi Germany. That’s what it’s going to be like,” the woman wearing the Nazi flag says back at one point. 

“You’re literally wearing a Nazi flag right now,” a woman off-screen tells her. 

“Yeah, ‘cause socialism’s gonna happen here, right now, in America,” the woman donning the swastika responds.

Ruesch’s partner, Raphaela Mueller, reportedly captured the moment on video shortly after speaking to a manager at the store about the couple. 

Mueller, who told the outlet her ancestor was a Nazi resister, said she was “crying when I was taking the video.” 

“This is really traumatic to see something like this because we all know what happened during the Holocaust. To be so blatantly disrespectful is so hurtful,” she continued.

According to the Reformer, the move by the couple came in protest of an order issued by Minn. Gov. Tim Walz (D) this past week requiring people in the state to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and businesses in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In its statement to KARE 11 on late Saturday, Walmart, which began requiring shoppers to wear face coverings in its stores last week, called the incident “unacceptable.”

“We strive to provide a safe and comfortable shopping environment for all our customers and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment in any aspect of our business,” the company said. 

“We are asking everyone to wear face coverings when they enter our stores for their safety and the safety of others and it’s unfortunate that some individuals have taken this pandemic as an opportunity to create a distressing situation for customers and associates in our store,” it added.

Tags Coronavirus Tim Walz Walmart

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