Viral ‘Bunnings Karen’ calls cops on ACA
The woman at the centre of an anti-mask video at Bunnings that went viral on the weekend has been unmasked and phoned the police when visited by A Current Affair on Monday.
Melbourne woman Kerry Nash has been revealed as the woman behind the video where she refuses to put on a mask in the Bunnings.
She worked as a senior sales consultant at iSelect, with her former employer putting out a statement today in response to several Twitter posts outing her.
"Kerry Nash has not worked for iSelect since Dec '18," the company wrote in a tweet today.
"We are appalled by #BunningsKaren's refusal to wear a mask without a legitimate reason. We fully comply with COVID restrictions any staff unable to WFH must wear a mask in our office, in accordance with guidelines."
On Monday, Ms Nash was visited at home by A Current Affair but called the police.
"Obviously everything that's happened yesterday and today, she's quite upset herself and she feels like she's being attacked," one officer said.
They're being called #COVIDIOTS, and they're risking lives.— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) July 27, 2020
Some don't believe the virus exists, others threaten law suits over being asked to wear a mask.
Tonight we check in on one, now famous, unhappy Bunnings customer to get her side of the story. #9ACA pic.twitter.com/iiv4BCjfAg
On Monday night, Bunnings posted "a note from our Managing Director, Mike Schneider", which read: "Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put the welfare and care of our team and customers at the core of what we do.
"As the community has seen from a couple of disappointing incidents over the weekend, our team are doing everything they can to help keep everyone safe in sometimes challenging circumstances."
On her LinkedIn profile, Ms Nash describes herself as a "strong sales professional" with a "demonstrated history of working in the consumer services industry".
Ms Nash, who filmed herself berating staff at a Bunnings in Narre Warren on Saturday after they asked her to wear a face mask, also filmed herself telling off an Australia Post worker and ordering them to stamp her package.
Her Facebook posts also reveal she got into a heated argument with a security guard at her local chemist over masks on Thursday.
Ms Nash posts frequently online under a fake name, which news.com.au have chosen not to share.
On Thursday, she posted in an Australian anti-vaxxer, 5G, conspiracy theorist group that she'd begun the argument at her local chemist after being asked to wear a face mask.
"How dare you! I have a medical exemption and you cannot discriminate against me!" Ms Nash wrote in the long post. She also says she tried to film herself fighting with the guard, but in her own words, she "forgot to push the record".
It was Ms Nash's first of three posts over the next two days, when she would confront police and retail workers around Melbourne after they asked her to wear a mask while inside their shops.
The former iSelect worker appears to believe in a number of different conspiracy theories, including that there is a mass global conspiracy to manipulate the population into wearing face masks and social distance - and that these measures aren't being used to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Ms Nash also has shared content claiming that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is trying to microchip the global population, and she says his face is untrustworthy.
Ms Nash has also argued online that being asked to wear a mask is personally degrading, and tantamount to "being treated like a leper in a public area ins humiliting (sic) and is only adding further truama (sic) to you and that they are personally liable for this...."
She also shared photos of herself unsuccessfully challenging a parking fine in the Supreme Court, where she called the magistrate "clearly illiterate!"
In Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, it is mandatory to wear a face mask unless you've been granted an exemption - most exemptions are given for medical reasons.
Children under the age of 12 also don't have to wear masks.
In a post on Thursday, Ms Nash said her exemption from wearing a mask was granted to her by a specialist she sees and is a "voluntary" exemption.
It's not clear if this is an exemption given because she has a medical condition, or because she is voluntarily objecting to wearing a mask.
Ms Nash did not respond to news.com.au's questions.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, exemptions for wearing masks in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire can only be granted to people in certain circumstances, including "problems with their medical conditions, breathing, a serious face condition, a disability or a mental health condition".
SUPPORT FOR BUNNINGS STAND
And while Ms Nash's actions have caused widespread outrage and criticism, she's also received praise and encouragement from within her conspiracy theorist circles.
"Go hard lov, you are well within your rights. As bunnings has now been made fully aware of the real law (sic)," commenter John Porter encouraged her. "Sue the sh*t out of them next time."
Another woman called her "amazing" and "inspiring".
Ms Nash regularly posts in conspiracy theory group The Conscious Truth Network, which promotes beliefs including: "we have all been born into slavery, through the use of birth certificate fraud and the social conditioning structure to imprison us in our own minds" and "chemtrails are real".
One of the group's administrators did suggest that yelling at Bunnings workers was not the best approach.
"I really think we should be approaching this in a delicate polite matter", one of the group's administrators commented on one of the Bunnings videos.
"Frustrating I know, but they are doing what they believe to be right.
"I think we should be cool calm and collective (sic) when speaking to retail workers."
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews commented on the conspiracy theorists today, calling their behaviour "appalling" and saying their views "have no basis in science or fact or law".
"The thing with conspiracy theorists, the more you engage in an argument with them, the more oxygen are giving them," Mr Andrews said.
"Ultimately, I think people can judge for themselves the efficacy, the credibility of people who are running those sort of keyboard warrior campaigns. Seriously, one more comment about human rights - honestly.
"It is about human life. If we continue with this stuff, standing in the car park of Bunnings reading whatever nonsense you have pulled up from some obscure website.
"Having said that, now that will run in the news tonight. That is not what I was wanting to achieve … Don't focus on them."
Originally published as Viral 'Bunnings Karen' calls cops on ACA