The footage, which was reportedly captured by @Subway_DJ and shared on Twitter and Instagram, called the man’s behaviour absolutely unacceptable. The incident is said to have taken place on a Q train in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The clip begins with the man standing over the woman, who tells him that she hopes the “police will come and give him a $50 fine”, which is the penalty for not wearing a mask on the New York subway.
The man then sarcastically replies to the woman that he is “so afraid” and then starts chanting “1776”, which is the year that the United States declared itself an independent nation free from British rule.
When the woman stands up to try and get him to back off, he tells her to “take a seat” and, after being told to “respect your elders”, he tells her that he “respects freedom.”
The video then cuts as it appears that @Subway_DJ tried to intervene on the woman’s behalf. Literally every other passenger on the train was either choosing not to get involved or trying to ignore what was happening.
We need to find out who this guy is and where he works because this was absolutely unacceptable. Unhinged… https://t.co/Mca3zpGEv8
The man then reiterates that he “respects freedom” and tells the person filming the incident to ‘sit the f**k down.’ The video concludes with the man staring straight at the camera. SubwayDJ added on Instagram that the man later made a death threat after he had stopped filming.
The short clip has already been viewed hundreds of thousands of times across social media with many people appalled at the man’s behaviour and his conduct towards the woman.
@Subway_DJ @highbrow_nobrow So he respects freedom, unless it’s someone else’s freedom. 🙄
@Subway_DJ "I respect freedom, how dare you use YOUR freedom to do something I don't want to do myself"
— Roaring 20s in my 30s (@Roaring 20s in my 30s)
Everybody please note that he thinks demanding no one around him wear a mask is standing up for freedom. As per usu… https://t.co/vsYmk10VMN
— Alexandra Erin (she/her) (@Alexandra Erin (she/her))
Numerous accounts on social media have since claimed to have identified the man.
New York state has lifted many Covid restrictions with businesses being allowed to choose whether they want to implement their own restrictions. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the New York subway is still demanding that all of its riders still wear a face covering when at indoor stations or on trains, buses and trams.