coronavirus update indiaas on : 20 September 2020 06:25 GMT+5:30
Walmart Bans Couple For Wearing Nazi Swastika Face Covering After Viral Clash
Disgraceful, plain and simple," Walz tweeted Sunday, sharing a news article about the clash.
Walmart Bans Couple For Wearing Nazi Swastika Face Covering After Viral Clash'
New Delhi: On Saturday morning Raphaela Mueller when a brief glimpse of two other shoppers in the Marshall, Minn, stopped her dead in her tracks.
Mueller fighting through disbelief that nearly rendered her speechless, was born and raised in Germany, turned to her partner, and asked out a single question: "Wait, are those people wearing swastikas on their masks?"
Again when the young couple encountered the man and the woman, who was indeed sporting bright red facial mask that shows the Nazi flag, Mueller had no trouble finding her voice.
Benjamin Ruesch, together with her partner, Mueller confronted them, capturing the tense exchanges in a now-viral video that has drawn widespread condemnation, including from the prominent politicians such as Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.
Meanwhile, the older pair, who were not formally identified have been since banned from all the Walmart stores for at least a year, reported the Associated Press.
"Disgraceful, plain and simple," Walz tweeted Sunday, sharing a news article about the clash. "Thank you to the bystanders who stood up to this unacceptable, hate-fueled behavior."
Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., similarly denounced the pair for flaunting the hate symbol associated with the Nazis, tweeting, "This isn't us. This isn't the Minnesota I love."
Minnesota as of early Monday had more than 51,000 reported coronavirus cases and 1,574 deaths as per The Washington Post's tracker.
"That this couple made it in [the Walmart] is appalling," Ruesch, 29, told The Post late Sunday. "I identify as Christian, but if I were Jewish and I saw someone wearing a swastika, I can only surmise that I might feel that my life was in danger."
In Marshall when Ruesch and Mueller headed to Walmart, a city of 13,500 in southwestern Minnesota the last thing they expected to see was the man and woman shopping with large swastikas covering the lower half of their face.
Mueller after recovering from the initial surprise told The Post she and Ruesch swiftly abandoned their search for sparkling water and made a beeline for the store's customer service desk hoping to find a manager.
"I was really agitated," said Mueller, a vicar of a local parish.
In the roughly two-minute-long video which was shared by Mueller to Facebook,a woman in the brown T-shirt raises both middle fingers at MuellerRuesch and another customer, who had joined the confrontation.
"You can't be American and wear that mask," Ruesch says in the background of the clip, calling the woman "sick."
"You cannot," he adds. "We literally had a war about this."
"I'm trying to tell people what's going to happen in America," the woman says. The man chimed in, "We're living under a socialist state."
"If you vote for Biden, you're going to be living in Nazi Germany," the woman continues, referring to former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. "That's what it's going to be like."
The woman keeps arguing, ignoring exclamations from Mueller and Ruesch the woman keeps arguing, telling them that "socialism is going to happen here in America."
"We don't want you in our neighborhood," the third customer tells the woman.
Raising her voice, the woman shouts back, "You're not getting it, I'm not a Nazi."
As the woman stalks away, Ruesch calls out, "It's so incredibly offensive. You're not an American if you wear that mask."
Soon the police arrived at the Walmart and served the couple with trespass notices, reported the Star Tribune reported. Delia Garcia a spokeswoman for Walmart in a statement said the event was 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," Garcia 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."
Despite some concern that the man and woman wearing the swastika masks may have been looking to provoke reaction, Mueller and Ruesch said they stand by their decision to confront the couple.
"It's the job and the responsibility and the moral obligation of those who are able to speak up, to speak up when they see these types of flagrant displays of disrespect going on," Ruesch said. "If we don't speak up, who will?"