The Today show has been slammed for interviewing a women dubbed ‘Bunnings Karen’ over her refusal to wear a face mask amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections in Victoria.
Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Rose, a self proclaimed high priestess witch who performs exorcisms for a living, appeared on the program on Tuesday after filming herself without a face mask at the Bunnings store in Maribyrnong, just west of Melbourne.
Ms Rose, who claimed the coronavirus pandemic was ‘orchestrated’ and ‘the statistics aren’t real’, was dumped by hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon as she tried to defend her scientifically debunked opinions.
After cutting the interview short, Stefanovic apologised to viewers for giving her any air time, while Allison Langdon admitted they’d grappled over the decision to interview her prior to the segment.
Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Rose, a self proclaimed high priestess witch who performs exorcisms for a living, appeared on Today on Tuesday
‘We had this discussion last night whether we would give her air time. It is important. Bunnings staff members doing the right thing [are] faced with this kind of activity and we felt it was important to hear from her point of view,’ Langdon said.
‘I back you 100 per cent calling quits on that.’
Stefanovic added: ‘Apologies if you are offended.’
But disappointed viewers lambasted the Today show for bringing Ms Rose on the show for the sake of ‘click bait’ and ratings.
‘There is no place in Australian media for her. You just had her on for click bait and it’s not helping our doctors and nurses who are fighting to keep people alive,’ one tweet read.
‘Don’t give that dragon any oxygen. She should be forced to volunteer for the COVID patients at a nursing home,’ another said.
Disappointed viewers lambasted the Today show for bringing Ms Rose on the show for the sake of ‘click bait’ and ratings
A third said: ‘Yep… Now they’re giving the cranks a platform to get the viewers and ratings up, then dissing the cranks when they’ve served their ‘on-air’ purpose.’
‘This helps maintain the illusion of having a high moral ground!’
A fourth tweet read: ‘So you decide to get this lady on, whose own videos already prove her illogical position, then shut her down (in the most staged way) to make yourself look like you actually care.
‘How about getting Pete Evans on and do the same with him?’
Other critics suggested the Today show should instead air medical experts who can refute dangerous conspiracy theories.
Other critics suggested the Today show should instead air medical experts who can refute dangerous conspiracy theories
Ms Rose (pictured) claimed the coronavirus pandemic was ‘orchestrated’ and ‘the statistics aren’t real’ on the Today show on Tuesday
‘Don’t interview #CovIdiots who spread germs and dangerous ideas. That’s just a ratings grab. Instead, interview medical experts or the poor souls at Bunnings who bravely put up with this woman’s c**p,’ one twitter user wrote.
‘Could you, perhaps, interview some doctors, nurses etc instead of this scourge of society?’ another asked.
During the interview, Langdon cut Ms Rose off as she argued people had a right to make their own choices about their health during Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreak.
‘Sorry, what was your medical degree?’ Langdon asked.
Ms Rose claimed to have had experience as a medic, but admitted she 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.
Today hosts Allison Langdon and Karl Stefanovic cut short an interview with ‘Bunnings Karen’ Lizzy Rose after she defended her criticism of mandatory masks in Victoria
Ms Rose has emerged as one of the leaders of a group of Melburnians that has come to police attention since mandatory mask laws came into force on Thursday July 23.
In the segment, Ms Rose – who has been labelled a ‘Bunnings Karen’ after sharing footage of herself berating staff members who told her to wear a mask – admitted she had no issues covering her face in the past.
‘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 further frustrate Stefanovic, who reminded her that vulnerable Australians were dying at rapid rates as a result of the virus, particularly in Victoria.
‘Did you, Lizzy, 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 Lizzy Rose said she has a medical certificate that exempts her from wearing a mask. She has filmed herself shopping without a face mask at Bunnings
Lizzy Rose is a pagan witch who has filmed herself burning face masks in a fire pit
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 who 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.’
Ordained pagan minister Lizzy Rose (left) has been getting about Melbourne without a mask and proudly filming herself as she breaks the law
In a long-winded rant posted on the day the bans kicked in, Ms Rose filmed herself walking down a street in Tullamarine in Melbourne’s outer north-west while refusing to wear 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.’
Ms Rose explains that she does not need to obey the draconian laws before signing off with a smile.
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
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.
‘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 at Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s west, 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.
A post on social media by Lizzy Rose, encouraging people to refuse to wear masks
Lizzy Rose has been travelling about Melbourne filming herself shopping without wearing a 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