Story at a glance

  • A viral video of an “anti-mask flash mob” shows demonstrators in a Target yelling at other customers to take off their masks.
  • Despite public health officials recommending face masks in public, wearing a face covering has become politicized.
  • Research shows that face coverings or masks help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Flash mobs, the viral dance trend of the early 2000s and 2010s, were intended for entertainment — but in the middle of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a crowd of people in an anti-mask flash mob in a Target could have put other customers at risk of infection. 


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A viral video shows a group of demonstrators, some donning red MAGA shirts or hats, without masks in a "Flash mob" at a Target in Florida, yelling at customers to take off their face masks. 

 

The video was posted on Youtube by Chris Nelson, who has 156 subscribers and has posted several videos falsely claiming the coronavirus pandemic is not real. 

“In celebration of Burn Your Mask Day we decided to spread some freedom dust over the shoppers and employees of Target! #burnyourmask #freeyourface #nomask,” Nelson wrote in the video caption.


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“If an infant doesn’t wear a mask, then no one should wear a mask,” said Cristina Gomez in a livestream on Facebook. Gomez shared the event, called an “anti-mask flash mob,” on her account. “People looking at us like, ‘What’s going on?’ Isn’t it crazy how people now look at me like we crazy because we don’t have a mask on? I think y’all crazy for having a mask.”

A Twitter user who shared a video of the incident posted another video of people in a Walmart without masks yelling at customers for recording them. Similar videos have gone viral since public health officials began recommending face masks in public to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Face coverings and masks have been proven to reduce the spread of coronavirus, but mandating them in public has become a politicized issue. 

“It’s your right to do what you want, like it’s my right to do what I want,” Nathan Babcock told HuffPost. “If you want to wear a mask and think [it] makes you safer ... That’s absolutely your right, 100%. Just don’t force me to wear a mask ... Because it’s my right not to wear one.”


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Published on Sep 16, 2020