A massive brawl broke out over the weekend at a Bath & Body Works store in Arizona’s Fashion Square Mall, and while it’s easy to suggest that this may be a reflection of a society that has removed God from the public square, the pandemic puts a whole other light on events.
A video that has been seen over 10 million times captured a customer engaged in a physical encounter with a Bath & Body Works employee. Other employees quickly jumped in and took the woman to the ground, as she continued to account for herself.
As is often the case, a bad situation suddenly got a lot worse when another woman intervened on the customer’s behalf. Before you know it, blows were raining down from the second woman as an employee tried to subdue her.
The woman who took the video, identified in the media as Genevieve Winslow, said in a pair of tweets that the “white lady was standing too close to another customer,” and that she was “loud and uncooperative the whole time before the fight started.”
White lady pushed many people before hand also…. she was loud & uncooperative the whole time before the fight started
— Genevieve (@gendenslow) March 7, 2021
TMZ published a video from another angle that showed the woman arguing with a black woman, who is heard at one point calling the white woman “trailer park trash.”
The white woman was separated from the others by an employee, who appeared to be trying to reason with her. The second woman from above is seen throwing something at the black woman as other employees separated them. The first woman tried to push past the employee to approach the others, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
While there’s plenty to unpack here, the one commonality these days are people with smart phones standing around recording what’s going on — encouraging participants along the way to ramp up the excitement.
Whether race was a motivating factor here or not isn’t clear, but it would be foolhardy to rule it out in today’s racially hypersensitive age.
The video is grainy at times, but it appears that most involved were wearing masks. The white woman at the center of the brawl did not have a mask, but it’s not clear if she had one on when she entered the store.
Was the altercation driven by media-induced fear brought about by the pandemic?
One thing is certain, as the U.S. nears the one year anniversary of the initial lockdown intended to “flatten the curve,” the past year has taken a heavy toll on people. Stress and anxiety are common, with many feeling isolated and lonely. Others have lost their livelihoods through no fault of their own, being forced for the first time in their lives to depend on the government to get by. And in many areas, schools are still not open.
Of course, the Scottsdale Police Department said the incident had nothing to do with any of the above.
Spokesperson Sergeant Kevin Quon said the altercation was over someone cutting in line, and that it was “not mask nor race related,” Fox News reported.
The two females involved in the fight have been cited criminally for the incident, the network noted.
A spokesperson for L Brands, the parent company of Bath & Body Works, told Fox News the company is “currently investigating the matter in partnership with local law enforcement,” adding that they are “deeply concerned by the incident.”
Of all the reactions to the viral video, there was plenty of debate over the actions of the Bath & Body Works employees and how physical they were with the customers.
Here’s a sampling of those responses from Twitter:
Yikes. Just know posting this guarantees the employees involved are terminated. Might be anyway and maybe doesn’t matter to you (which is fine). But if you feel like that isn’t the outcome you want you should pull it.
— DewDipper (@DewDipper) March 7, 2021
They deserve to be terminated, this is awful and not something employees should do. The employees did attack her first.
— Jimmy Fantage (@JimmyFantage) March 7, 2021
bath and body works are gonna pay that lady, a lot. i’m against anti-maskers but i’m also against some peon cashiers thinking theyre gonna put their hands on someone.
— nvrqt 🔔🌹 (@nvrqt) March 7, 2021
do you think employees can never defend themselves at work and they have to accept any abuse a customer gives them? the company is obligated to protect their workers. I hope the two customers get assault charges.
— Salviador Dalí 🍄 (@Salviador_Dali) March 8, 2021
Agreed. The employee screaming in the customer’s face is not “de-escalation.” I’m a store manager and that type of behavior is not okay.
Not only did the employees put themselves at risk, but they put the other customers at risk of injury as well.
— Thomas Fisher (@tefishe1) March 8, 2021
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