A woman dubbed “California Karen” is being ripped online after hurling racial abuse at a DJ who filmed her berating staff at a Santa Barbara restaurant.
A now-viral video of her bizarre remarks to a man she declared “one of four black people in Santa Barbara” — originally uploaded by the recipient of her rant — has amassed more than 10s of thousands of views and international headlines as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Sooo this just happened @sb_boathouse, Santa Barbra needs to do better. Almost lost my s – – t,” wrote Ian Soleimani, a 39-year-old African-American man who works as a DJ, in the clip’s caption.
In the footage of the incident, which took place in the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, the unnamed woman can first be seen laying into a restaurant manager over an unpaid check.
The altercation was sparked after the unidentified woman allegedly tried to pay her bill with PayPal after her credit card was declined, according to a thread on Reddit, where the video first went viral. The restaurant subsequently confiscated her ID and told her to come back the next day with a viable payment method, causing the customer to fly off the handle.
“It was paid, though, ma’am, and you rejected the payment,” the sunglasses-sporting woman spluttered in the clip. Things heated up after she noticed Soleimani filming her, and proceeded to bombard him with racial comments.
“Excuse me, sir. Hi, one of four black people in Santa Barbara,” fumed the incensed restaurant customer. “Oh, now I’m a racist, terrible person, sorry, just because you’re an obnoxious guy. It’s not your fault that you’re black, of course. Just obnoxious.”
The fourth-wall breaker continued, “I’m against obnoxious people to be clear, not against the black people.”
Elsewhere in the clip, she asked Soleimani what he’s doing, to which he responded, “Taking a video of this. This is absolutely ridiculous.”
“Are you sending it to the FBI after this?” snarked the woman in response. “I might go psychotic pretty soon. I’m probably going to, I’m probably going to get very violent pretty soon, I’m glad you’re here.”
Soleimani, impressively maintaining a level head, replied, “Cool, keep going.”
That’s when the outspoken gal fired off yet another offensive salvo: “Don’t you have some fish to catch, African-American man?” she raged. “Don’t you want to go on the boat and do some African-American fishing?”
After going back and forth with the manager for a while, the displeased patron then resumed her attack on the cameraman, saying: “And this man, who thinks he’s Mother Teresa for Santa Barbarans everywhere who want a pretentious breakfast, now he’s here.
“Thank god he’s doing his three black people in Santa Barbara part — for Oprah apparently,” she added. (BTW: Oprah Winfrey is a resident of the upscale Montecito neighborhood in Santa Barbara, along with A-listers such as expat royals Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and comic Larry David.)
The clip concluded with the manager giving the ID back to the woman, and barring her from ever returning to the restaurant.
Needless to say, the woman’s racially charged meltdown sparked a fierce backlash on Instagram with one commenter, writing: “This is so infuriating on so many levels! Wtf. You handled this so well, Ian!” Meanwhile, one commenter on Reddit wrote, “WTF is African American fishing.”
“Insane but unfortunately not surprising,” lamented one Instagram commenter, while another advised Soleimani to find “this Karen & send this video to her work place.” Interestingly, while the bozo’s identity has yet to be confirmed, a Reddit user claimed that the restaurant manager’s husband told them she was actually named Karen and hails from Florida.
Many were shocked that such a racist incident could occur in progressive Santa Barbara. “What the hell?! NOT SB… no way,” said one flabbergasted poster.
However, Soleimani claims this is not an isolated incident.
“People have been kicked out of boathouse a few times for [racially] motivated comments towards myself, unfortunately,” the DJ told the Daily Dot. “Lived here since 2003 and this happens all the time. This person just got caught. People think this doesn’t exist let alone here and it certainly does.”
In a similar racial incident closer to home, an irate New York City man was caught on camera going on a racist tirade against an Asian NYPD officer during protests in Washington Square Park in 2021.