A video has gone viral on social media showing a confrontation between two women at a bagel shop in New York. According to the person who posted the video on Facebook, Ally Goodbaum, the incident occurred at New York City Bagel Coffee House on Broadway and 30th Street in New York City.
Goodbaum said she noticed that a woman, later identified as Lauren Balsamo, was coughing in the shop and not wearing a mask. When she asked an employee to enforce a mask-wearing policy for patrons, Goodbaum said, Balsamo reacted poorly and coughed on her. A short clip of the video was uploaded to Twitter and has been viewed over a million times:
KAREN CAUGHT ON CAMERA PURPOSELY COUGHING ON PEOPLE! 🤦🏽♂️
BECAUSE SHE WAS ASKED TO WEAR A MASK. pic.twitter.com/Yc9nEl96oi
— THE NEWEST CO-SIGNER (@DjTARZAN) June 12, 2020
The Incident Escalated After Balsamo Heard Goodbaum Asking Staff About a Mask Policy for Patrons, Goodbaum Said
Goodbaum’s post said the events began when she noticed the unmasked woman coughing. Goodbaum then said she “politely pointed this out to the woman working at the store and told her that the store should enforce masks to worn by patrons while inside the store.” Goodbaum said Balsamo heard her request and became upset, yelling at her before walking over and intentionally coughing on her several times.
In the video, Balsamo can be heard yelling at Goodbaum, “You’re a p***y,” before walking over to cough on her. Later in the video, she says that she has antibodies so she doesn’t have to wear a mask in public and tells Goodbaum to mind her business.
According to the CDC, there is still not enough information on antibodies for COVID-19 and whether they can prevent someone from getting reinfected. It still recommends that people with a positive antibody test follow recommendations for protecting themselves and others.
The Woman Was Identified on Twitter as Lauren Balsamo & This Was Confirmed by Her Former Employer
Shortly after the video went viral, many people on Twitter identified the woman as Lauren Balsamo, and screenshots of her LinkedIn account indicated that she worked at Weill Cornell Medicine as an assistant research coordinator. Weill Cornell later issued a statement indicating that Balsamo was a former employee and hadn’t worked for them since January 2020.
They wrote on Twitter: “Lauren Balsamo has not been an employee of WCM since Jan. 2020. As an institution on the COVID-19 frontlines, this behavior is shocking & abhorrent to us. Since WCM’s mission is to protect the health & wellbeing of all NYers, we condemn this flagrant disregard of public safety.” WCM also added a statement on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
Weill Cornell Medicine condemns the actions recently exhibited by a former employee in a video circulating on social media. This person has not been an employee of WCM since January of this year. Given our commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers and fighting on the frontlines of treating COVID patients, we are steadfast in our public health commitment to further prevention and spread through social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand-washing and other health precautions.
They wrote in the caption: “Weill Cornell Medicine condemns the actions recently exhibited by a former employee in a video circulating on social media. This person has not been an employee of WCM since January of this year.”
Balsamo’s social media accounts have since been deleted.
A Florida Man Was Arrested in April After Coughing on a Store Worker
Deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida arrested Christopher Canfora, a 20-year medical professional, on April 7, saying he intentionally coughed on a store worker after saying he thought the social distancing measures to combat coronavirus were “getting out of hand.” Canfora was charged with felony assault.