Today show hosts Alison Langdon and Karl Stefanovic cut short an interview with a woman known as ‘Bunnings Karen’ after she defended her criticism of mandatory masks in Victoria.
Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Rose’ appeared on the program on Tuesday to discuss her COVID-19 views, but the duo were uninterested in promoting her scientifically disproven opinions.
After just a few minutes, Langdon cut Ms Rose off as she argued people had a right to make their own choices regarding their health – even if it put the lives of other, more vulnerable Australians at risk.
‘Sorry, what was your medical degree?’ Langdon asked.
Ms Rose claims to have had experience as a medic, but hasn’t worked in the field for about four years.
‘I am not a doctor,’ she clarified on air. ‘I am not a scientist but I worked as a medic. Obviously quite a while ago, not when COVID was around.’
She now advertises her services as a psychic, and claims to have been practising since she was just nine years old.
In the segment, Ms Rose, who has been colloquially labelled a ‘Bunnings Karen’ after sharing footage of herself whinging at staff members in store, admitted she had no issues wearing a mask in the past
Lizzy Rose hams it up while dressed as a Viking Queen. She had been trying to get items for a Viking fire pit when she ran into trouble at her local Bunnings
She is self proclaimed high priestess witch who performs exorcisms for a living when not disrupting shopping aisles.
Ms Rose has emerged as one of the leaders of a group of Melburnians that have come to police attention since mandatory mask wearing laws were implemented last Thursday.
After cutting the interview short, Stefanovic apologised to viewers for giving her any air time, while Langdon admitted they’d grappled over the decision prior to the segment.
‘We had this discussion last night whether we would give her air time. It is important. Bunnings staff members doing the right thing faced with this kind of activity and we felt it was important to hear from her point of view. I back you 100% calling quits on that,’ Langdon said.
‘Apologies if you are offended,’ Stefanovic added.
In the segment, Ms Rose, who has been colloquially labelled a ‘Bunnings Karen’ after sharing footage of herself whinging at staff members in store, admitted she had no issues wearing a mask in the past.
Today hosts Alison Langdon and Karl Stefanovic cut short an interview with ‘Bunnings Karen’ after she defended her criticism of mandatory masks in Victoria
‘It is about personal choice,’ she said. ‘It is about choice. If you want a mask that is up to you.’
Ms Rose said about four months ago she wore a mask while attending an eyelash appointment, but told the program she took issue with Premier Daniel Andrews making them mandatory.
The admission only appeared to frustrate Stefanovic more, who reminded her that vulnerable Australians were dying at rapid rates as a result of the virus, particularly in Victoria.
‘Did you Lizzie know the elderly and aged care homes… now 700 of them affected with COVID, do they have a choice? The answer is no,’ he said.
‘You deliberately went into that place to antagonise workers who are literally just trying to do their bit for the country right now, to protect other people from this killer virus, which it is.
‘I can’t listen to you anymore,’ he said as he instructed producers to cut the segment short.
‘It’s wrong, I’m sorry. I thought that we would in some way shape or form get to a reasonable excuse as to why she was doing that. Otherwise we wouldn’t have got her on.’
Exorcist Lizzie Rose has a medical certificate that exempts her from wearing a mask. She has filmed herself shopping at Bunnings
Lizzy Rose is a pagan witch and hates wearing masks. She has filmed herself burning them in a fire pit
The spat come as figures on Monday showed Victorians had suffered a record 532 new cases of coronavirus.
Six more Victorians died overnight to Monday, including five residents in aged care and a man in his 50s.
Some 245 people are in hospital with 44 in intensive care.
The group of troublemakers linked to Ms Rose are all believed to be members of ‘The Illuminating Army’ – a group of like-minded conspiracy theorists that believe COVID-19 is a scam and 5G networks are the work of the devil.
Ms Rose, who has been contacted by Daily Mail Australia, claims to be the leader of the army.
In videos of the exorcist posted on both her own Facebook page and that of the ‘army’, Ms Rose declares she will continue to travel through up to five Melbourne suburbs a day without wearing a mask.
Other videos show her burning face masks in a fire pit.
‘I will be walking the streets with no mask,’ she brags. ‘And I will be telling anyone who is interested to not consent. To not comply. To not put your life and your health at risk.’
In a long winded rant posted on the day the bans kicked in, Ms Rose filmed herself walking down a street in Tullamarine – northwest of Melbourne – while not wearing a mask.
In it, she claims the government actually hopes to kill Victorians by forcing them to wear masks.
‘This is about control, this is about submission, this is about compliance, this is about you doing what you’re told not about a killer virus,’ she said.
‘Don’t walk around with a mask on your face, it’s really, really quite dangerous for you … you’ll see a whole heap of people die now. That’s the agenda – depopulation. And it’ll be through wearing a mask.’
The witch goes onto explain that she does not need to obey the draconian laws.
Ms Rose signed off from the video with a smile.
Ordained pagan minister Lizzy Rose (left) has been getting about Melbourne without a mask and proudly filming it
Lizzy Rose sent a message of praise to health workers in April while wearing a mask. She now films herself getting about town without one
Lizzy Rose has started an ‘army’ of like-minded people opposed to COVID-19 restrictions and laws
‘That’s not a Mask This is a Mask’: a post from Lizzy Rose on her Facebook page
‘See you in another suburb really, really soon. No mask,’ she said.
Days later, Ms Rose was seen taking her cause into a Bunnings Warehouse in Maribyrnong – just west of Melbourne – where she planned to buy plant pots and items for her ‘viking fire pit’.
Armed with a medical certificate exempting her from wearing the mandatory masks, she fronted confused staff members.
‘I went shopping in my local Bunnings where I’ve spent thousands of dollars over nearly 18 years and was rudely illegally denied customer service due to not wearing a facial mask, despite the fact that I produced a legal medical certificate of exemption,’ she posted after the stunt.
‘Management called the police, stating to police that my exemption was ‘bogus’ which is completely untrue.
‘This is absolutely disgusting treatment of a customer and a direct contradiction to Mr Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria’s, instructions stating that no person with a medical exemption is to be refused service, goods or products.’
The video showed Ms Rose referring to masked customers as ‘zombies’ as she walked without a mask through the aisles.
‘People are so very silly,’ she said. ‘And they’re so silly and it’s so very sad that they’re not evolved enough to see.’
Ms Rose was seen arguing with a checkout operator before she turned the video off.
Lizzy Rose has been travelling about Melbourne filming herself shopping without wearing a mask
A post on social media by Lizzy Rose. In it, she encourages people not to wear masks
This graph shows how the state’s second wave has not been kept under control even with lockdown
She later stated that she did not get to purchase the items and had complained directly with Bunnings.
On Monday, Ms Rose said she had plans to conduct the ‘Ritual of Justice’ on the ‘Australian Government Freemason De Molay associates, who run this country and implement draconian inhumane laws upon its people.’
Ms Rose’s stance came amid similar protests by another ‘Bunnings Karen’ who filmed herself in a store in the Melbourne suburb of Narre Warren on Friday.
In a viral video, the woman accused staff at the store of abusing her human rights by politely asking her to wear a mask, and was briefly arrested after clashing with police outside.
New footage emerged on Sunday of the same woman ranting at a mask-wearing Australia Post worker.
‘I do not need a mask. If you could stamp that, it would be wonderful,’ the woman says as she approaches the Australia Post counter, her mobile phone camera already recording the startled employee.
The anti-mask ‘Karen’ berated the Australia Post worker (pictured) as he quietly served her
What is a ‘Karen’?
A ‘Karen’ is a newly-emerged term for a self-righteous woman, usually middle-aged, who tells people how to do their jobs, asserts their rights and complains to the manager.
The origins of the term are unclear, however it quickly became popular in meme culture on internet forums such as Reddit to describe problematic women.
A Karen meme is often combined with the quote: ‘Can I speak to the manager?’
It is also associated with anti-vaccination activists who favour unproven essential oils to medical science.
The ‘Karen’ was also associated with a side-swept bob haircut that is long at the front and short at the back.
The woman then berates the staff member, telling him he has no authority to ask her to wear a face mask while he quietly serves her.
‘I suggest you update yourself on what the Department of Human Services have put on with regards to masks and who needs to wear them,’ she says sternly.
‘And who also has the authorisation to actually ask for that evidence? Because it’s not you. Thank you.’
Video of the woman’s extraordinary rant inside a Bunnings store was posted to Facebook on Sunday as Victoria recorded 459 new coronavirus cases and ten deaths.
‘It’s a breach of the charter of human rights,’ she said as she aggressively filmed the staff on her mobile phone and threatened to sue them for discrimination.
The woman filmed staff during the dispute and refused to stop despite the calm requests of a male employee.
Other videos posted on Facebook show the woman later being arrested by two police officers outside in the Lauderdale Road car park.
She eventually revealed she had a medical exemption for not wearing a mask after a drawn-out standoff with police.
When more officers arrived at the scene, the woman had her handcuffs taken off but launched into a debate with officers as to why her arrest was unlawful.
Australia Post Karen is believed to be the same woman who berated Bunnings Narre Warren staff (pictured) after being asked to wear a face mask
Until June (when this advice was pictured), Australia’s Health Department only recommended face mask use for people who knew they were sick or had symptoms