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Colorado store receives threats after video of woman refusing to wear mask goes viral

Woman at centre of viral video calls other customers Nazis, claims state governor should be tried for hate crimes

Graig Graziosi
Friday 17 July 2020 22:17 BST
Walmart CEO discusses mandatory masks nationwide

A liquor store in Colorado received threatening phone calls after a woman that refused to wear a face mask inside the store filmed her ejection from the business.

Ruby Musso, the woman who shot the video and refused to wear a mask, was shopping in a liquor store when other customers began shaming her for not wearing a mask and putting them at risk of catching the coronavirus. At one point, a woman shoves her shopping cart towards Ms Musso.

"Please leave the f****** store, Jesus," the woman said.

"Ok that's harassment I'm filing charges," Ms Musso replies.

Ms Musso argued her case for not wearing a mask — which became mandatory across the state on Thursday — but was eventually asked by the liquor store's staff to leave. The workers tell her she isn't welcome in their business.

"You aren't going to have a business soon," Ms Musso replied.

A manager tells Ms Musso that her being in the store without a mask is "like being naked in my business."

Eventually, Ms Musso leaves the store — but not before calling everyone inside a Nazi — and the video cuts as she goes to speak with a nearby police officer.

Ms Musso claims she has a medical condition that causes her extreme panic and anxiety when she wears a mask, and said that is why she refused. She said she went to the store to buy beer when the encounter occurred.

The video of the encounter appears below and contains explicit language.

"I just really tried to stand my ground with that because I feel like it's really important," Ms Musso said. "There are so many reasons why someone is not wearing a mask."

Doctors have shared videos on social media recently in which they measure their oxygen while wearing a mask to prove the masks do not impede oxygen flow. There are very few medical conditions that would preclude someone from wearing a mask.

Fox8 News reported that the liquor store has received threatening calls since the video went viral.

"People calling us telling us we're Nazis and destroying the American dream or something like that," Rufus Nagel, the liquor store's owner, said. "Honestly we're just trying to do the best we can."

The store has since cut off its phone service.

Mr Nagel said it wasn't his place to determine the laws, but that it was his responsibility to provide a safe and peaceful environment for his customers.

"It's not my place to determine what is and is not a health risk. For me, it's an issue of an out-of-control customer creating a scene in my store," he said.

Mr Nagel said he offered to bring Ms Russo her items if she waited outside the store, but said she refused the offer.

Since the incident, Ms Russo has been critical of the state's governor, Jared Polis.

In her original video — posted to Facebook but now deleted — Ms Musso accused the state's governor of encouraging her harassment by calling those who choose not to wear masks "selfish bastards."

In a later post, she claimed that Mr Polis should be charged with a hate crime, suggesting his criticism of people who don't wear masks incited violence against her, and was therefore a violation of the First Amendment's hate speech exemption.

Ms Russo shared screenshots of her personal Facebook page that showed numerous people making fun of her and calling her names in response to the video.

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