The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a worldwide sensation with video clips of white women claiming to be people of color. These encounters often go viral due to their compelling visuals and captivating narratives.
These incidents have earned the moniker “Karen.” Karen-ing has become a way for white women to express their disdain for mask mandates and people of color they encounter on the street.
1. Stacy Talbert
Recently, social media has seen an explosion of Karen Public Freakouts — videos filmed by women and shared on Twitter which depict various forms of racism, discrimination and mistreatment. Unfortunately, these videos often lack context which leaves those involved vulnerable to doxxing and harassment.
Stacy Talbert, a sheriff’s deputy in McIntosh County, Georgia, has become one of the most acclaimed “Karens.” Her video of herself trying to order an Egg McMuffin at McDonald’s went viral over the weekend and has since been affectionately known online as “Officer Karen,” with many hailing her for speaking out against racial bias and advocating for social change.
Since Monday, the video has amassed millions of views. This trend can be seen in the impact that George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks’ deaths in Georgia sparked national demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice.
Talbert’s video went viral over the weekend, initially shared on Facebook Live and then reshared on Twitter with more than 16 million views. In it, Talbert laments that she didn’t receive her order correctly from McDonald’s employee and fears it may have been altered. Eventually, she says a worker brings her the coffee but no food.
Twitter users criticized Talbert’s response, with some accusing her of acting entitled and disregarding the fact that she’s a police officer dealing with people who don’t trust them. Others, however, were supportive and said Talbert was simply venting her frustration with lack of faith in law enforcement.
Social media outrage also sparked an investigation into her background. Although she had not worked at the restaurant where she was allegedly caught in the video for over 15 years, she is known to visit it regularly.
Talbert has expressed her dissatisfaction with the treatment she received at McDonald’s, yet she does not intend to gain sympathy or attention with the video she posted. Rather, she wanted to share her experience and demonstrate that video editing allows for expression.
2. Lena Hernandez
Lena Hernandez, 56 years old from Long Beach, is one to watch out for when it comes to viral white women causing anger. Her actions in Wilson Park have caught the attention of city officials and those she has offended; now they are on the hunt for this unattractive woman.
At least twice this year, she was captured on camera delivering insulting speeches at Torrance parks directed at Asian-Americans, and investigators connected her to another incident that took place in October at Del Amo Fashion Center, according to police. Social media users captured and shared footage of her, but she remains at large and authorities don’t know where she may have gone. If you want to learn more about this feisty woman, contact police immediately. The department’s crisis intervention team and local prosecutors are actively searching for Lena. If you can help in their hunt, call 888-Torrance-Task (888-868-8725). As of early Thursday morning, prosecutors had yet to make a decision regarding whether or not to bring charges against her.
3. Abigail Elphick
Abigail Elphick, a New Jersey teacher, has become the latest white woman to be recorded performing a Karen Public Freakout video. She filmed herself chasing another Black woman at Victoria’s Secret store in Millburn, NJ and became hysterical upon realizing she was being recorded.
On Sunday, Abigail Elphick, identified as Abigail Elphick, posted her first YouTube video to YouTube where she can be seen charging at Ijeoma Ukenta with an open hand as if she were going to strike her. At this point she becomes hysterical and begins screaming throughout the clip.
This incident has gone viral on TikTok and other social media platforms. In one video, Ukenta claims she’s trying to film a free panty deal at Victoria’s Secret when Elphick charges in front of her.
While being recorded, Ukenta screamed and complained to Ukenta of having a mental breakdown. A police report she filed stated her heart was racing and that she felt fear for her job. Additionally, after realizing they were recording, she experienced a panic attack and worried about losing it.
She later called the Millburn police, who arrived at the scene but left without escorting Elphick out of the mall or issuing any formal reprimands. This appears to be a clear double standard on behalf of law enforcement, leading many social media users to criticize Elphick’s response.
This incident illustrates the persistence of white privilege and racial differences in our society, contributing to why acts of rage are becoming more frequent. With today’s connected world, these incidents may go viral quickly, potentially costing white people their jobs or reputation if caught on camera.
Abigail knew she needed to perform in order to gain support from those around her, and knew crying and screaming would be easy if anyone saw what she was going through. Because Abigail understood her antics would be recorded, those watching might perceive a mental breakdown – exactly the image she wanted to project.