In a Crisis, Please Don’t Be the Red Robin Girl
Spreading a pandemic to own the libs.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, great social distancing!), then you’re aware that we are currently in the midst of a pandemic. The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has spread to nearly every country, and over 6,000 people have died. Schools and businesses have closed down, people who can are working remotely, and governments across the globe are urging people to stay at home.
But none of that mattered to Katie Williams. The former Miss Nevada State and current candidate for Clark County School Board District B posted a tweet that went viral, where she defiantly bragged about eating a hamburger at restaurant chain Red Robin. Williams’ tweet was in response to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plea for people to stay safe and practice social distancing.
I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I'm 30.
It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I'll do what I want.
— Katie Williams (@realkatiejow) March 14, 2020
Many took to social media to criticize Williams’ self-aggrandizing behavior:
Virologist here. You don't know if you are carrying a virus if you haven't been tested. You can expose others by being close to them or touching shared surfaces, such as by eating a gross Red Robin burger with your hands in a crowded restaurant bc you are ignorant and selfish. https://t.co/gTXsvbJrUf
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) March 15, 2020
Why are Americans like this? When it’s not #RedRobin woman, it’s the FUCKING GOVERNOR OF OKLAHOMA.#COVID19 is not a terrorist attack. You’re not showing us how “brave” you are. You’re showing us how selfish you are. pic.twitter.com/vzPVk3fdU4
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) March 15, 2020
In truth, people are going to do what they want because this is a threat you can’t see or smell or taste or touch. It doesn’t feel real except, of course for the grim news coming out of the rest of the world.
— roxane gay (@rgay) March 15, 2020
red robin chick wants to be tomato lamborghini so badly
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) March 15, 2020
Imagine being this selfish and putting other peoples' lives at risk all for… Red Robin. https://t.co/BLBrxW7u2g
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) March 15, 2020
"How will you respond to #coronavirus?"
"I'm gonna go to Red Robin, eat a burger, not wash my hands, cough in someone's face & lick a doorknob, cuz I'm American & I'm not afraid of anything. F you for trying to take away my freedom and liberties. I'm gonna do – "
— drops dead
— Wajahat "Please Stay Home If You Can" Ali (@WajahatAli) March 15, 2020
if you all make that red robin girl into the new gun girl and i have to spend the next 2 years hearing taunts about bottomless fries while she gets a fox news show i swear to god i'll learn witchcraft just to put a personal hex on every last one of you
— maura quint (@behindyourback) March 15, 2020
Being 30 and eating at Red Robin may be the saddest flex of all time, but it’s indicative of a larger issue among conservatives in this country. Because for folks like Williams, “I do what I want” carries the same weight and importance as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
Chalk it up to our country’s sense of “rugged individualism”, where the wants and desires of one person should be elevated above all government and authority, because the rules don’t apply to them. Blame propaganda machines like Fox News, which spew out misinformation that denies science and validates our worst impulses. This thinking culminated in the election of Donald Trump, a racist reality television show host who has no business running the country, and has made this pandemic exponentially worse by pretending it didn’t exist.
These people are cut from the same cloth. Trump, Williams, the Kent State gun girl, all share a belief that they are exceptional, that their wants matter more than the needs of society. Florida Representative Matt Gaetz wore a gas mask to mock fears of the virus. Days later, one of his constituents died from it.
Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt tweeted a defiant post about eating at a crowded restaurant with his children. The tweet was roundly mocked, and he eventually deleted it.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is firmly pro-life. How many lives did he just endanger, including in his own beloved family? pic.twitter.com/ysWFMnFbUn
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 15, 2020
Texas Senator Jon Cornyn tweeted a coronavirus joke as he was on his way home for a weekend recess. His fellow senator, Ted Cruz, is currently self isolating after coming into contact with an infected person at CPAC.
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) March 14, 2020
There’s standing up for what you believe in, and then there’s spreading a global pandemic to own the libs. Here’s the thing: COVID-19 exists whether you believe in it or not. People are dying and everyone is vulnerable. So stay inside, wash your hands, and don’t be an entitled asshat.
It’s not that hard, people. And for the love of God, don’t vote for Katie Williams for Nevada school board.
Still boggled by the people I know who are going out to bars saying “we can defeat this if we’re not afraid” and I’m like “this isn’t Pennywise it’s a PANDEMIC”
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) March 14, 2020
(image: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
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