A Florida man has been fired from his job as an insurance agent after his videotaped tirade when asked to wear a face mask at a Costco Wholesale store drew a massive audience on social media.
The video posted Monday on Twitter shows a man wearing flip-flops and a red T-shirt emblazoned with “Running the world since 1776” shouting in the store after reportedly being asked why he was not wearing a face covering, as required at all Costco locations.
Screaming “I feel threatened,” “back off,” and worse, the man lurched in a menacing manner towards an employee who came to the aid of an elderly woman who had asked about his lack of a face covering.
The incident at a Fort Myers Costco occurred June 26, and involved a man later identified by multiple news outlets as Daniel Maples, an insurance agent for Ted Todd Insurance.
Billy Corben, a Miami film maker who posted the video, said one of the customers who drew Maples’s wrath credited Costco for escorting Maples out of the store and ensuring he’d left before helping the elderly customer to her car.
The insurance company soon posted its own tweet, disavowing the behavior shown in the videotape and saying the “former employee” had been fired.
In a separate post, Charley Todd, CEO of the insurance company, wrote that “threatening behavior and intimidation go against our core mission to be trusted advisors in our community. We are also committed to immediately reviewing our internal existing culture.”
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Costco in early May mandated all its employees and member customers wear facial coverings.
“We know some [Costco] members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others, too,” Costco President and CEO Craig Jelinek said in a statement to warehouse members at that time.
Costco on Wednesday declined comment on the incident, one in a series of public standoffs over wearing masks as the U.S. contends with a pandemic that has killed more than 131,000 Americans, including more than 3,800 people in Florida, according to the latest data from John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
BY KATE GIBSON