Kelowna barber receives positive attention following video confrontation with anti-maskers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna barber receives positive attention following video confrontation with anti-maskers

Warren Vanderhoek (right) argues with an anti-mask protestor on Lawrence Avenue, June 16, 2021.
Image Credit: REDDIT/atlas1892
June 20, 2021 - 12:01 PM

A Kelowna barber has garnered some positive and unintended social media attention after an argument with anti-maskers in the city’s downtown last week.

Protests near a downtown media outlet have been a regular occurrence throughout the pandemic and Warren Vanderhoek, a barber at Man Made Barbershop, finally had enough when he saw protestors arguing with a hairstylist on Lawrence Avenue.

A video titled “We care about small business! You should be kind! (Hypocrisy at work)” posted to Reddit shows Vanderhoek arguing with protestors. The incident occurred June 16 at around 11 a.m., he said.

CONTENT ADVISORY

In the video, Vanderhoek asked them “What freedoms have you lost?”

“The freedom of choice, straight off the bat,” a protestor replied.

"What do you mean? I can go to the mall, I can go to the movie, I can go swimming," Vanderhoek said.

Vanderhoek continues to argue with the group of anti-maskers.

“You’re wearing a chin diaper,” a man, wearing a Molson Canadian flag cape, said.

“You’re wearing our flag as a cape, as a piece of clothing,” Vanderhoek said.

Vanderhoek then asks the protestors to define what communism means when they compare Romania to Canada.

The video has gathered 100 comments on the social media platform, mostly in support of Vanderhoek, since it was posted on June 17.

Vanderhoek said he's tired and frustrated to see anti-maskers arguing with businesses and employees, especially as a barber who has burned through his savings to stay afloat amid the pandemic.

“I’m just trying to work, I’m just trying to pay my bills, I’m trying to get myself back to where I was before the pandemic, I’m trying to put my savings back together, that’s all I’m trying to do. I want to cut people’s hair, I love my clients, I love my job, if you don’t agree with me, having to wear a mask, you can come back and get a haircut after this is over, but just leave us alone,” he said.

“They’re really messing with all of our businesses and they’re turning on us and saying ‘they love their country.’ They’re hurting the small businesses the most.”

As an example, he said at the barbershop, people will book appointments who know the mask mandate and come in and refuse to wear a mask. Barbers are the one losing the money because they don’t get paid for the appointment.

“They’re booking these appointments so they can grandstand,” he said.

Vanderhoek hopes this incident will inspire people to also stand up to the anti-maskers.

“We’re all coming out of this thing empty shells that we once were. It’s hard enough to work right now… you cost us money by your cause and if you oppose the anti-maskers, you’re automatically their enemy too,” he said.

At first, he was worried because he didn’t want the video, which was obviously being filmed by a protestor, to be put up on a website only to have him be torn apart online. He was “pleasantly surprised” to find a majority of the comments on the Reddit video were positive.

Since the video was posted, he’s also had customers coming into the store to thank him and asking for haircuts.

“It’s one of my outbursts that got positive feedback so I’m happy with that,” he said.

 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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