Woman caught on video making anti-Asian rant in Montreal-area grocery store

Mark A. Carlson

“I felt threatened,” says Ken Mak, who was at a Nuns’ Island IGA when another customer pulled down her mask and launched into a tirade against Chinese people regarding the pandemic.

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A Montreal man is speaking out after being the victim of an anti-Asian rant while grocery shopping this week.


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Ken Mak was at a checkout counter when a female customer pulled down her mask and launched into a tirade against Chinese people regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been 21 months that we have been dealing with this f—ing bulls—,” the unidentified woman said, while claiming that Chinese people were responsible for the pandemic.

Mak began recording the woman’s rant while another customer at the IGA on Nuns’ Island intervened, telling the woman to “leave these poor people alone.”

“What’s wrong with you?” the customer asked the irate woman. “That’s enough. Take your s— and go.”

But the woman continued her tirade, boasting that a family member is one of Montreal’s best lawyers.

She cursed and gave the middle finger to the customer who had called her out.


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“She attacked anyone who stood up to her,” Mak recalled in an interview on Thursday.

Mak, 33, said he was standing in front of the woman when she asked him whether he is Chinese. She also wanted to know his opinion about how the novel coronavirus came to Canada.

Mak began to respond, but said the woman repeatedly cut him off before he had a chance to speak, so he ended the discussion.

The woman became increasingly agitated, took off her mask and began insulting Mak.

“I felt threatened for myself and the Asian community in Canada,” Mak said.

He said the woman is a victim of misinformation, and added there’s no reason to “blame Asian people in your community or in your local grocery store.”

Mak posted a video of the incident on his Facebook page and it has made the rounds on various online platforms.


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He said it’s important for the public to be aware that anti-Asian racism exists in Canada .

“A lot of Asian people are not confrontational,” said Mak, who immigrated to Canada from China 20 years ago.

“Many incidents don’t get reported because the victims didn’t have the reflex to pull their phone out and collect evidence. It ends up that they go home and accept that this is life in Canada.”

Mak said Monday’s attack was the first time he has been a victim of racism, but he has heard stories of other anti-Asian attacks from family and friends.

He said the incident would not deter him from shopping at his local grocery store.

“I’m not going to change the way I live in Canada,” he said. “These incidents could happen anywhere to anyone. It’s not location specific.”


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Although racist attacks on Asians increased at the beginning of the pandemic, incidents have been decreasing since the fall, said Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.

“Some people still have stupid biases and stereotypes directed at Asians,” he said.

Niemi encouraged businesses to take a hard line with racist customers, suggesting that they be  banned from a store for a period of time.

“That would send a strong message of social disapproval,” he said.

A woman who answered the phone at the grocery store said employees are not permitted to talk to the media.

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