A viral video of an irate, unvaccinated dad causing a scene at a New York pizzeria for not letting his family sit inside the establishment was "staged" by the individual, according to the Brooklyn restaurant.
On Tuesday, a video of the man throwing a temper tantrum and arguing with the manager as well as patrons at Brooklyn-based Juliana's Pizza after being asked to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination was widely circulated on social media.
'We Don't Have Our Vaccine Cards So Now the Kids Can't Eat'
In the video, the man claims to be "religiously exempt" and then accuses the restaurant's staff of "enforcing segregation." "I'm not leaving," the man is heard saying before turning his attention to other diners in the establishment.
"We just marched for this," he says before turning to the diners and shouting, "Everybody in here okay with that? Everybody okay with setting up segregation in society." "We don't have our vaccine cards, so now the kids can't eat," he adds. "Is this the America you want to live in?"
Finally a few customers react, saying, "Yep!" and "Yes," while another flips off the anti-vaxxer with his middle finger. "No, f*ck you," the unvaxxed man screams back. "You're not American. That's why you need to get the fuck out of here if you're not American." Watch the full video below:
Who is Ray Velez?
Not long after the video went viral, popular TikToker @thatdaneshguy swiftly traced the video to an Instagram page that goes by @savingsovereignty. The account contains dozens of anti-vaccine and anti-mask posts, which @thatdaneshguy used to identify the individual as Ray Velez. Turns out, Velez is a boxer who goes by the stage name "Sugar Ray."
Velez 'Staged' the Incident After Claiming They Had Vaccine Cards in Order to be Seated
New York City began implementing restrictions this week requiring staff and customers to be vaccinated before entering restaurants, museums, gyms, and other places of amusement.
Juliana's Pizza released a statement on Twitter saying they prioritized the health and safety of its customers and risked facing hefty fines for violating the city's laws. However, the establishment added that they do provide takeaways and outdoor seating to accommodate unvaccinated individuals.
"We take the health and safety of our customers seriously. We also face steep fines if we violate City Hall's order," the restaurant wrote. "We are permitted to and do accommodate unvaccinated individuals for outdoor, socially distanced dining & takeout. We appreciate your understanding & support."
As pointed out by another popular TikTok user @TizzyEnt,the restaurant posted a comment on the video saying the incident was "staged" by anti-vaxx protesters who were marching by the establishment. The restaurant added that they did not even come in to dine and only wanted to film the video after telling staff members that they had vaccine cards in order to be seated.