Deputy Chief Medical Officer slams behaviour of ‘Bunnings Karen’ in viral video

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer has hit out at ‘Bunnings Karen’, calling recent footage of a woman arguing with staff over face masks ‘disturbing’.

The video flooded social media channels over the weekend, after the woman filmed herself approaching staff at a Bunnings in southeast Melbourne.

Nick Coatsworth has this morning told the ABC it was disturbing footage, and has commended the Bunnings staff for their calm reponse.


“The vast majority of Australians will have been disturbed by that. This is a small minority.

“I would like to commend the staff member and the staff in Bunnings and I’m sorry they had to deal with that.

“There is no room for that behaviour in Australian society. It might be better placed elsewhere in the world.

“We see it happening in other countries, but not our own. We’re in this fight together against coronavirus and mandatory mask wearing is not an enormous ask.

“I don’t view it as a Human Rights or civil liberties issue. It is something that we need to do to help bend the curve and bring us down the other side,” Mr Coatsworth said.

In the Greater Melbourne area and the Mitchell Shire in Victoria, it has recently become mandatory for everyone to wear a face mask while out and about, with police given the powers to fine those caught breaking the rules.

But, in the video, ‘Karen’ tells the staff they are discriminating against her for asking her to wear a mask, sighting the 1948 Charter of Human Rights.

On arrival, a staff member asks the woman for a medical certificate because she isn’t wearing a mask, then also requests that the woman stop filming her.

“I actually don’t need a medical certificate if you refer to the — no I’m allowed to do this, and you’re discriminating against me.

When the staff member tries to assure the woman that ‘we’re all in this together, she responds “All in what together – I actually don’t”.

“And you’re not authorised by the Australian government to even question me about it,” she says.

Another staff member then lets the woman know that it is a condition of entry into the store that she wear a mask.

“Then that’s discrimination and I can have sued personally for discriminating against me as a woman,” the woman says.