FORT MYERS, Fla. — A raging mask debate during an incident at a Florida Costco was captured on video June 27 and went viral Monday night with almost 10 million views. The tirade cost a man his job.
A man wearing a red, “Running the world since 1776” T-shirt, dark shorts and flip flops was seen yelling “I feel threatened!” and “Back up! Back the (expletive) up and put your (expletive) phone down!” He glared at the camera after a female shopper had asked him to comply with Costco’s mask policy.
Another man took out his cellphone and captured the yelling.
Billy Corben, a Fort Myers native and documentary filmmaker who lives in Miami, had obtained the video from the man who filmed it Monday. The man who filmed it declined to be identified. Corben tweeted the video to his 82,000 followers. He often shares outlandish stories and videos with the hashtag #BecauseFlorida.
By Tuesday, the man yelling in the video had been identified by Ted Todd Insurance as Daniel Maples. Maples had been with the agency since 2016 and “is currently the highest-producing sales agent in the company… Likes: Hot yoga, traveling, cooking and mentoring others,” according to his biography.
By midday Tuesday, Maples’ bio had been pulled from the site and the agency released a statement: It had fired Maples.
Law enforcement was not involved in the incident.
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“Thank you to everyone for their comments and messages raising awareness about a former employee at Ted Todd Insurance,” the statement from Charley Todd said. “Their behavior in the video is in direct conflict with our company values and their employment has been terminated. 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 at TTI.”
Attempts to reach Maples on a phone number found in a public records search were not successful.
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Richard Galanti, chief financial officer for Costco, declined to comment on the incident but addressed mask-wearing in general in the 547 Costco stores across the country and the 250 international locations.
“Overall, the mask requirement has been well received,” Galanti said. “There have been some who have chosen not to shop here. But overall, the majority of the people have been supportive of it. We believe it’s to help slow the spread of the virus. If we’re right, we’re right. If we’re not right, it’s a relatively small inconvenience. We’re not trying to challenge anybody’s constitutional rights.
He added, “All of these things were not done to help our business. We were trying to be responsible. We know there are differing viewpoints, but certainly our employees appreciate it. We have over 2 million people come into Costco every day. If someone comes in without a mask, we just ask them to leave.”