A San Diego woman who was denied service at a Starbucks coffee shop for refusing to wear a mask says she’s received death threats after publicly shaming the barista who refused her on social media.
A GoFundMe page established on behalf of the barista has raised almost $25,000 in four days. On Saturday, donations totaled over $68,000.
“I never threatened him, I just called him out on his actions. I never threatened him and I’ve received death threats, thousands, it’s very upsetting. It’s very scary,” said Amber Lynn Gilles.
Shortly after being refused service, Gilles posted a photograph of barista Lenin Gutierrez on her Facebook page.
The post reads: “Meet Lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”
Face coverings are mandatory inside businesses in San Diego County. Public Health officials said businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not complying with the public health order. Medical conditions that would be inhibited by face masks are one of the few exemptions to wearing face masks.
Gilles, 35, has three children and considers herself an anti-vaxxer. She says face masks are ineffective.
“It starts with coffee but it ends with digital certificates and forced vaccinations,” Gilles said.
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Gilles also claims she purchased coffee two days earlier at the Starbucks without wearing a mask.
“I never threatened him, I just called him out on his actions,” Gilles said.
Gilles said she has received thousands of messages reacting to her Facebook posts, including threats.
Barista Gutierrez is not making any public comments but has posted a video on his Facebook page explaining what happened.
In it, he says he asked Gilles if she had a facemask to which the customer responded that she didn’t need one.
“Before I could say anything she flipped me off and said I don’t need one and she started cursing up a storm. She started calling people sheep and she left and within a few minutes came back and she asked for my name and took a photo,” said Gutierrez on the video.
He also thanked donors and says he’ll use the money to fulfill a dream of becoming a dancer.
Listen to the full story on our podcast 'Into San Diego' below.
For her part, Gilles, who started the incident with her post, said she wants some of the money and is threatening to sue the page creator for defamation and slander.
An analysis of 172 studies across the world found that using a mask or respirator might reduce the risk of getting infected to 3.1%, compared to 17.4% without a face covering. N95 respirators appear to offer the best protection from infection but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stressed the use of cloth coverings to protect others and preserve N95s for health care workers on the front lines.