Lauren Ashley Balsamo of New York, United States is one of the white women Americans labelled as a Karen during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The term is given to women who display entitled behavior due to their privilege.
On June 6, 2020, Balsamo went to the New York City Bagel Coffee House at Broadway and 30th Street in Astoria, New York. Unlike the employees and other customers there that day, she was not wearing a mask.
One of the masked customers was Ally Goodbaum. While standing in line, she suggested that the store should require all customers to wear a face mask.
Balsamo overheard the suggestion and did not appreciate it. She told Goodbaum, “You’re a pussy, such a pussy.”
“Say that to my face,” Balsamo told Goodbaum. The former then walked straight up to the latter and coughed in her face.
“What the f*** is wrong with you?” Goodbaum was shocked. “You, a**hole!”
The incident, which was caught on tape, ended with Balsamo being served by the employees and leaving the store with her food and drinks. Here are 13 more facts about her:
- She lived in different parts of New York including Astoria and Chester.
- She went to Chester Academy in Chester.
- In March 2011, she was one of the high school students who were recognized along with their parents with certificates and a breakfast for achieving the principal’s honor roll, according to The Photo News.
- When she was in the 12th grade at Chester Academy, she was in the honor roll, according to The Chronicle.
- When she graduated from Chester Academy in 2011, she and Zachary Neuschaefer were the recipients of the Chester Teachers Association Awards.
- She studied psychology and sociology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.
- While studying at Stony Brook University, she and her fellow student Noelani Rodriguez encouraged other students and teachers from their school to participate in the “What I Be” project by journalist and photographer Steve Rosenfield in 2014.
- According to her, she and Rodriguez “reached out to everyone on campus, faculty included” and “sent them the flyer for the program electronically, printed flyers and posted them at every residence hall and bus stop, made a Facebook page for the event and advertised in classes by word of mouth.”
- She earned her master’s degree in public health with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences from the New York University School of Global Public Health in New York City, New York.
- From September 2017 to May 2018, she worked as a Boys and Girls Club research associate.
- From February 2018 to August 2018, she was an operations specialist at RCS Professional Services in New York City.
- From August 2018 to January 2020, she was an assistant research coordinator at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.
- She was 27 years old when she encountered Goodbaum on June 6, 2020.