What began as a simple trip to the supermarket for Montreal resident Ken Mak ended with him being attacked by a woman going off on a racist tirade.
Mak and his girlfriend were at the checkout counter of the Nuns' Island IGA grocery store, when a woman approached him and asked if he was Chinese.
After Mak—a resident of Canada for over 20 years—responded in the affirmative, the woman proceeded to ask him multiple questions about Covid-19 and the global pandemic.
Mak was confused by this woman's actions, but as he told CBC News, it quickly became clear to him she was not interested in what he had to say.
"Before I could respond, she would cut me off and start her monologue about how Chinese people are to blame for the whole coronavirus."
In the midst of the woman’s racist tirade, Mak began to record her with his phone, later sharing the video to his Facebook page.
WARNING: NSFW language
The video captured the unnamed woman blaming Chinese people for the pandemic and the current state of the world, somewhat ironically lowering her mask to do so.
"All of these 21 months of bullsh*t"
" All of these f*cking epidemic that became a pandemic, it’s because of you Chinese people!”
When an unseen fellow customer asked the woman to leave Mak and his girlfriend alone, the woman flipped him off—claiming one of the best lawyers in Montreal was a member of her family—briefly putting her mask back on only to lower it again barely one second later.
The woman continued a heated exchange with Mak's unseen defender, who could repeatedly be heard saying "shame on you" to the woman.
By the end of the 2 minute video, a store employee eventually began to escort the woman out of the store, after which the Montreal police reportedly arrived to escort her from the premises.
Mak acknowledged in the video's caption this is only one of the many instances of anti-Asian hate, which has seen a considerable rise since the pandemic began.
"This pandemic has caused chaos in all our lives, and it is not acceptable to assault a specific minority for it."
"We all have been through the lockdowns, the curfews, and the hardships in Quebec together just like everyone else."
"All crisis ends, but until then we need to support each other, not blaming innocent people."
"I hope our society will be aware of these incidents and #stopasianshate."
"This video shall not be swept under the rug."
Viewers of Mak's video on Facebook were disgusted and horrified by the woman's actions
They joined Mak in expressing their dismay incidents like this continue to happen on an all too frequent basis, while also thanking Mak for sharing the video and exposing the woman’s appalling behavior.
A spokesperson for IGA also condemned the woman's actions in a statement.
"We are incredibly disheartened and upset by the customer’s disrespectful behavior."
"In such circumstances, we ask the customer to leave our store, as our team did in this instance."
"Local authorities were contacted to assist in this matter."
"At IGA, we denounce all forms of hate. This is never acceptable."
Valérie Plante, the mayor of Montreal, also expressed her disgust over the incident on Twitter.
“I denounce this lady’s racist remarks, which are shocking and unacceptable.”
“Anti-Asian racism has no place in Montreal, and this type of aggression should never be tolerated.”
Also taking to Twitter to condemn the woman's behavior was Benoit Charette, Quebec's Minister of Sustainable Development and Environment, who has lately made anti-racism efforts one of his main priorities.
Winston Chan, a board member of the national Coalition Against Anti-Asian Racism, also took to Twitter to express his horror at the woman's behavior, as well as his exhaustion over the Asian community constantly being blamed for the pandemic.
Mak expressed his gratitude for the customers who came to his defense during the incident to CBC News, believing these were people acting with "true Canadian values."
He also said he doesn't plan on pursuing the incident any further with the police, though he admitted his experience has only exacerbated his fears for the safety of the Asian community in Canada.
He said episodes like this must end.
"People are thinking that Asian people are responsible for the coronavirus."
"We need people to know that this is what happens to Asian people here and it's not acceptable in Canada."