A furious customer has been filmed getting kicked out of a Bristol takeaway after a row reportedly over his lack of face mask.
The man can be heard shouting at staff to “go back to their country” and declaring “I’m British, I belong in this country”, in the explosive video captured at the award-winning Henbury Fryer fish and chip shop.
Footage of the incident was posted on Reddit yesterday afternoon (Friday, April 23) on a thread with more than three million members.
It was filmed by a witness early on Thursday evening and ends with a tussle on the ground outside, during which the man appears to kick out and swing his walking stick at the staff member.
Avon and Somerset Police have confirmed that they were called to the incident at about 5.40pm and are investigating, but did not make any arrests.
Bristol Live has spoken to a staff member who said the fish and chip shop has a strict no-service policy for people who refuse to wear a face mask, even if they say they have a disability that makes them exempt.
The footage begins with the man, who speaks with a West Country accent, accusing staff of “discriminating against disabled people” and yelling “you’re a f****ng w****r”.
He is wearing a lanyard and badge which are not clearly visible, but from a distance resemble the green sunflower lanyard that people can display to show have a hidden disability and are exempt from the face mask rules.
The customer can be seen pushing what appears to be napkins and plastic cutlery across the counter before storming off, but then turns on his heel to shout: “You’re a total t****r! You cannot discriminate against disabled people.”
He then appears to reach over the counter to knock over bottles of condiments, at which point a staff member approaches him and instructs him to leave.
They exchange inaudible words and the customer seems to snap, brandishing his walking stick as the staff member grapples with the other end of it and pushes him out the door.
He appears to trip backwards over a mobility scooter on the pavement and falls to the ground, kicking towards the staff member as he leans over him.
After a second kick the staff member seems to hold on to the man’s leg to restrain him, saying “please, don’t”.
The customer then appears to hit the staff member with his walking stick, calling him a “b******d”, saying “you threw me out of the shop, you threw me on the floor” as the other man calmly holds his shoulder.
As the staff member walks away, he lashes out again and calls him a “w****r”.
The video prompted hundreds of reactions within just hours of being posted.
People must wear masks in hospitality settings except when seated, but the government does list exemptions including for people with certain medical conditions or people who would find wearing a mask distressing.
Bristol Live contacted the fish and ship shop for clarity on what happened.
A staff member, who declined to be named or confirm if he was involved in the incident, said the takeaway will not offer service if customers do not have a face covering or mask.
He said: “People have complained [about the policy] before but it’s never happened to this extent. This is the first time.
“I did a risk assessment and decided I will not be serving people without masks. We have got a sign on the window.
“People say they are exempt but exemption does not mean they are not carrying the virus.”
He said the measure was designed only to protect his staff and customers, with other precautions including only having two people in the shop at one time.
‘It was escalating’
He added: “I know that people have got the right to defend themselves.
“I warned him not to step outside the counter and he started throwing things, it was escalating, he progressed to throwing vinegar, salt and papers.
“I needed to do something to stop it – I’ve got young girls working here and they’re scared, it’s not fair.”
He claimed that the person filming the footage had also been swearing at him, after which the man started “being abusive” after that.
He added: “I don’t think he even wanted to buy anything.”
Police called out
The shop in Crow Lane in Henbury has won several awards including the National Federation of Fish Friers Fish & Chip Quality Award.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that they were called at 5.40pm and sent officers to attend.
A spokesperson said no arrests had been made but that enquiries were continuing.
Anyone who saw what happened has been asked to call 101, quoting reference 5221086523.
Government guidance states that people who work in premises where face coverings are required can question people without them, but should be “mindful and respectful” of those who are exempt.