State Watch

Server who shot viral video of maskless Nebraska governor fired

Greg Nash

A server who filmed a viral video of Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) posing for a photo while not wearing a mask at a restaurant was fired this week.

Karina Montanez, a 25-year-old single mother, was fired from her job at an Omaha-based sports bar and restaurant called DJ’s Dugout after posting a video of Ricketts dining with a group of maskless patrons on Election Day, The Washington Post reported.

“Hey, Pete, where’s your mask? Where’s your mask, Pete?” Montanez said in a Snapchat video she later put on Twitter.

“What are you doing, Pete? We’re in a pandemic, Pete,” she narrated in the video as she filmed Ricketts from across the room.

After her video went live this week, many social media users shamed the governor for refusing to impose a statewide mask mandate as Nebraska sees rising COVID-19 cases.

However, Montanez saw a major blowback from superiors at her workplace, who fired her on Tuesday for violating the company’s social media and cellphone policy, according to the owner.

Montanez told the Post she felt like there was no other choice but to film Ricketts when she saw him remove his mask and flout social distancing earlier this month.

“It was a slap in the face,” she said. “You’re supposed to be taking care of us and you’re out here acting like a celebrity, while people are fighting for their lives and are in hospitals dying right now.”

A spokesman for Ricketts’s office told a local Fox affiliate KPTM he only took off his mask for photos and while eating, adding, “The state does not require people to wear masks when seated in bars or restaurants.”

The governor has maintained that a mask mandate is inappropriate for the state of Nebraska and would “breed resistance,” though he has urged people to wear face covers voluntarily.

Meanwhile, in the past week the state has recorded 90 new deaths related to COVID-19 complications and 14,000 new cases.

In Douglas County, where Omaha is located, Health Department dashboard data from Nov. 14 showed a 33 percent positivity rate, and 435 patients are seeking medical treatment for COVID-19 related issues as of Wednesday.

Tags #coronavirus #covid19 Karina Montanez Nebraska Omaha Pete Ricketts Pete Ricketts Snapchat

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