Selfish thug throws homophobic tantrum after being asked to wear a face mask in Greggs

Close-up portrait of angry man

Homophobes took aim at one of Britain’s most beloved national treasures when a man wreaked havoc in a Greggs – all because he was asked to wear a face mask.

A Southend, Essex, branch of the bakery chain witnessed what police are treating as a hate crime when a shopper hurled homophobic abuse at a member of staff.

After all, men are less likely to wear a piece of fabric on their face that protects the vulnerable from the coronavirus because it’s a “sign of weakness“, researchers have found.

According to the Southend Echo, the man swung by the Greggs on Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, on 19 January, one day after a similar near-identical incident occurred at a nearby supermarket.

The pair of incidents, which have not been linked together by Essex Police, has drawn criticism from local officials and residents, who branded the thugs as “utterly selfish”.

Two men throw tantrums after being asked to wear face masks in Greggs and Nisa Local

According to witnesses, the man erupted into a homophobic rage after a Greggs staffer asked him to put on a mask, as per government guidelines.

Incensed, the man was verbally abusive towards the employee and intimidated him.

In a separate incident, a man threw what can only be accurately described as a tantrum when asked to wear a face-covering in a Nisa Local store on Rayleigh Road, Eastwood.

Staff refused the man entry, who then began shouting at them, kicking a plastic crate across the pavement and even decimated the storefront’s flower display.

Even when staffers tried to serve him from outside, it did little to reel in his rage.

Kimberley O’Connell, sister of one of the Nisa staffers, said there was “no excuse” for the man’s aggression.

The 46-year-old said: “It is so sad, not many people put their staff before profit but this business does. I don’t think one person there has had COVID.

“My sister was actually one of the girls who pointed to the shop owner and said the man was coming back.

“She was outside holding a trolley at the time, and if that flower stand hit her it would’ve been horrible.

“They are used to the abuse. It’s awful. Especially when people come in and do stuff like this, it’s disgusting.

“These people are on the frontline, I know they’re such grafters and it’s such a nice little shop. The man was told he couldn’t enter the shop without a mask and instead of refusing to serve him entirely, they said we will serve you outside.

“So there is no excuse.”

Councillor for community safety and customer contact Martin Terry echoed this, lambasting both incidents.

“It’s dangerous enough for the staff with the virus around without this abuse,” he told the newspaper.

“People need to learn mask-wearing won’t go away, it’s likely to be around for a very long time – this is just utterly selfish behaviour.”