A confrontation between a bar owner in Philadelphia and another man has become the latest heated interaction spawned over the issue of face masks. While health officials have repeatedly urged the public to wear them in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus, the issue has largely devolved into a political argument.
On Sunday, Infusion Lounge owner Jamie Atlig claimed that he pulled his gun on a man amid a heated confrontation after he thought a gun was being pulled on him, Fox 29 reports. According to witnesses, the man was standing on the sidewalk and yelling at customers for not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. At some point, Atlig himself got involved, and the man told him, "You can have your MAGA privilege." Atlig then replied with "Trump 2020" and pulled out his gun. The bar owner also explained to the outlet that he felt threatened because he saw the man reaching for "a black, metal object" that looked like a gun. The object was later reported to be a bike lock.
"He came across and came to attack me," Atlig told the outlet. "I'm the actual victim in this situation." Atlig's lawyer also agreed with his assessment. "He owns a business. He was being threatened as well as his patrons. He pulled out his duly licensed firearm. He diffused the situation. He put the firearm away."
Atlig has also claimed that he's been on the receiving end of numerous death threats since the video went viral. "I don't like bullies," he continued. "These guys can try to bully me all they want. They have the wrong person." Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Police Department has opened an investigation into the incident.
In response to the ongoing quarrel about mask-wearing, Tom Hanks has even entered the fray, saying that he has "no respect" for people who didn't cover their faces when leaving the house. The actor, along with wife Rita Wilson, contracted coronavirus back in March, making them the first to U.S. celebrities stricken with the disease.
"I simply do not get it. It is, literally, the least you can do," Hanks said. "If anybody wants to build up an argument about doing the least they could do, I wouldn't trust them with a driver's license. I mean, when you drive a car you gotta obey speed limits, you gotta use your turn signal, [and] you gotta avoid hitting pedestrians. If you can't do those three things, then I get it, you shouldn't be driving a car. If you can't wear a mask and wash your hands and social distance, I don't understand. I got no respect for you. I don't buy your argument."