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VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Jordy McKen
These Karens have nobody to blame but themselves. For this list, we'll be looking at rude, obnoxious, and entitled people who caused mayhem with their terrible actions, only to be dealt the sparkling hand of karma. Our countdown of Karens who ruined their own lives includes SoHo Karen, BBQ Becky, Plane Karen, Texas Karen, Smoothie Karen, and more!

#20: Collier Karen

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Apparently, even walking down a street is enough to get the wrath of a Karen. In 2021, a mother walking down a road in Collier County, Florida experienced exactly that. They were on a public sidewalk when Patricia Schmidt stopped her car and blared the horn at the two, apparently believing that they were trespassing in the neighborhood. Schmidt then rolled down the window and yelled at them for walking there, before escalating the situation by going on a racist and ableist rant at the child. Unbelievably, this terrible Karen is an Exceptional Student Education Specialist, a teacher who specializes in special needs children, at Lely Elementary School. Or we should say “was.” Schmidt was thankfully fired from her job due to her disgusting behavior.

#19: SoHo Karen

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Losing a cell phone can be a frightening experience that causes people to panic. Even in the panic, any decent person wouldn’t go around racial profiling. In 2020, however, while at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan, New York, a woman named Miya Ponsetto lost her device and accused teenager Keyon Harrold Jr., the son of musician Keyon Harrold, of stealing it. Not believing his rejections of the baseless claims, Ponsetto attacked him in the lobby before she was dragged away. Her phone was ultimately found in the hotel. In 2022, Ponsetto pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the form of a hate crime. For this, she was given a two-year probation sentence and ordered to attend counseling.

#18: Cabin Karen

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Having already been fired by Norwegian Air for allegedly spitting in a passenger’s cup of coffee, Joanne Wickenden decided to go even further in 2017. Before work one day, the cabin staff employee for British Airways filmed herself via Snapchat. Wickenden felt it was appropriate to slate her job and go on a racist rant against Nigerians. After the video went out, she claimed she was set up and spurred on by co-workers, an excuse that doesn’t really doesn’t make any of it better. Her employers weren’t happy and quickly called in Wickenden for a meeting. However, Wickenden says she resigned from British Airways before she was shown the door.

#17: BBQ Becky

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On a warm day at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, in 2019, a Black family was trying to enjoy a barbecue in a dedicated grilling area, only to be interrupted by Jennifer Schulte, a white woman, who called 9-1-1 on them twice. She harassed them over having a charcoal grill, long enough for a bystander to confront her. The video went viral and details a grand 25 minutes of the altercation in which we get to see exactly how Schulte tries to manipulate the situation and play the victim. She was quickly dubbed “BBQ Becky” online, and plenty of memes began to circulate. Even her alma mater, Stanford University, commented on Schulte. We’d say that’s karma well served.

#16: SoCal Karen

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Folk in Torrance, California, just wanted to go about their business. But if they had Asian heritage, Lena Hernandez wouldn’t make the day easy for them. She was known to approach people and spit racist tirades at them. While she escaped punishment for a time, justice eventually came crashing down for Hernandez. In 2019, after verbally abusing a mall employee, a woman named Kayceelyn Salminao stepped in. Hernandez didn’t like this and physically attacked her. It took a while for the police to do anything; but, by 2020, Hernandez found herself in court. She pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor battery. As such, the retired social worker got 45 days in jail, anger management classes, and three years of probation.

#15: Plane Karen

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Babies on planes can be a recipe for discomfort. But there are ways to go about potentially asking to move seats and this isn’t it. After realizing she was seated next to an infant, the woman in this video, Susan Peirez, threw a fit rather reminiscent of that of an infant. She then threatened one of the members of the cabin staff with her job… only to learn very swiftly that she was not at liberty to do that sort of thing. Peirez’s attitude took a complete one-eighty, but it was not enough to save her from consequences. When the video went viral online, Peirez was suspended from her employment at the New York State Council on the Arts.

#14: Soup Skirmish

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Working in the service industry can be a thankless job. And being a manager, you have to deal with customer complaints, adding more stress to tense employment. In 2021, we all witnessed just how brutal it can be when a customer threw a bowl of spicy soup at a restaurant worker. Reportedly, Amanda Martinez had called to complain about her takeaway soup being so hot that it apparently melted the plastic lid, but it didn’t go anywhere. So, she went into the restaurant, Sol de Jalisco in Temple, Texas, and argued with manager Jannelle Browland. The act of violence caused Browland injuries and, in 2023, Martinez would plead no contest to assault. She received a 15-month deferred adjudication, 6 days of jail work release, and was fined $800 plus court costs.

#13: Albany Karen

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It might be spelled slightly differently, but we actually have a Karen named Karen for this entry! (Love it when this happens!) In 2021, a group of Black women, including local community activist Jammella Anderson, were having a nice time at a restaurant in Albany, New York. Then, Caryn Burton got abusive and went on a racist rant. Even when the cops arrived to sort out the problem, Burton could be heard yelling racial slurs at customers and the staff. After the grim video spread online, Burton’s employer Humana, a medical insurance company, fired her and slated her for her hate speech. Plus, Burton was also banned from other establishments in the area.

#12: Commissioner Caren

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Hitting the jackpot! Another Karen named Karen! In 2018, the police pulled over an unregistered car and impounded it in Tenafly, New Jersey. The car, as it transpired, was being driven by the daughter of Caren Turner. Turner was on the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and tried to use her power to intimidate the cops who stopped her daughter. The car’s registration was two years out of date and an insurance card couldn’t be produced at the time of the traffic stop. Turner, upon arriving at the scene where the vehicle was to be impounded, displayed aggressive behavior, requested that officers refer to her as “commissioner,” and mentioned she was friends with the mayor. Turner eventually released an apology, resigned from the board, and was fined $1500.

#11: Starbucks Karen

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During the pandemic, many businesses globally had a simple rule for customers: wear a face mask. It was government-mandated for one thing. But, it proved to be too much for some, including one Amber Lynn Gilles. After being refused service at a Starbucks in San Diego, she photographed Lenin Gutierrez and tried to publicly shame the barista on social media. Only, it backfired magically. A GoFundMe was created on Gutierrez’s behalf that brought in over $105,000! In interviews, Gutierrez stated he planned to put it toward his prospective dance career. With that very public embarrassment, Giles then issued a lawsuit against the fundraiser’s creator, Matt Cowen, for various reasons, in part with the hopes of attaining some of the money from the GoFundMe.

#10: Key Fob Kelly

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In 2018, D’Arreion Toles attempted to go inside his apartment building in St. Louis, Missouri. However, Hilary Brooke Mueller wasn’t keen on that idea. She stood in his way and blocked his path. As they spoke, Mueller acted as though she owned the building – she didn't – and kept asking which unit Toles lived in, demanding to see his key fob. Even though he had a key to get in, she continued harassing him inside after Tole had to force his way past her. Once the video was released, many accused Mueller of being racist. However, she claimed it was because she didn’t recognize Tole. Regardless, Mueller’s employer Tribeca STL fired her for her dodgy behavior.

#9: Texas Karen

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In 2022, a group of four Indian-American women was walking to their cars after dinner in Plano, Texas. Instead of going home after a nice night, they had to endure the racist tirade of Mexican-American Esmeralda Upton. Using a flurry of slurs and insults, the unhinged Upton also struck the women several times and threatened them. Feeling in danger from the abuse and attacks, they called the cops, who arrived shortly after. Later on, Upton was arrested for assault and making threats. But that’s not all! At the time of writing, two of the four women, Bidisha Rudra and Indrani Banerjee, have issued lawsuits against Upton for the traumatizing incident.

#8: Permit Patty

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Have you ever seen a child harmlessly selling something on the street to raise money for something and thought, “yeah, I’m gonna ruin their life?” If so, you and Alison Ettel could be besties. In 2018, in San Francisco, eight-year-old Jordan Rodgers was selling bottled water on the street to help her mom financially and go to Disneyland. Ettel, infuriated by the constant noise as she worked from home, called the cops about Rodgers’ lack of a permit. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well with the internet, which pointed out the racist overtones. With all that pressure and dispensaries refusing to stock products from Ettel’s employer, she was forced to resign as CEO of the cannabis company TreatWell Health.

#7: Victoria’s Secret Karen

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In 2021, something strange happened at a Victoria’s Secret store in Millburn, New Jersey, while Ijeoma Ukenta was doing some shopping. Ukenta reportedly claimed she asked Abigail Elphick to step back as she was too close when they browsed. So, she went to the staff and told them Ukenta threatened her. When Ukenta began filming, Elphick attempted to hit her before she sobbed on the floor. Later, Elphick stated her reaction was due to a panic attack from being filmed. In the aftermath, Ukenta created a GoFundMe page for legal costs against Elphick. Within the page, she also criticized the handling of the situation by the security and police. At the time of writing, over $104,000 has been donated.

#6: Coughing Karen

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As most people came together during the global events to support each other, some did their best to do the opposite. In 2021, masked shoppers in a Super Saver store in Lincoln, Nebraska, attempted to get their groceries calmly. However, Janene Hoskovec had other ideas. With a smirk on her unmasked face, she dramatically coughed at people, pretending it was allergies. When folk protested Hoskovec’s grotesque actions, she patronizingly called them “cute” and “sheep” before descending into a rant about other people’s health. After a very quick investigation, her employer, the software company SAP, fired Hoskovec.

#5: Smoothie Thrower

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In 2022, employees at Robeks in Fairfield, Connecticut, were trying to get through the day. Well, not on James Iannazzo’s watch! After buying a smoothie there, he gave it to his son at home, who had an allergic reaction. After medical attention, Iannazzo arrived at the store and launched into a tirade of insults, slurs, and threats. However, the employees claimed he never mentioned the peanut allergy to them. He finished it off by throwing the smoothie at the staff. Well, it all went wrong for Iannazzo. Firstly, he was arrested and received one year of probation. Then, Iannazzo was fired by Merrill Lynch. Finally, he faced a lawsuit from one of the employees, but in September, the case was settled for $7,500.

#4: San Fran Karen

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Looking like a mix between a character from “Smile” and “Get Out,” James Juanillo was probably pretty startled in 2020 when he turned around and saw Lisa Alexander staring at him. At the time, he had just finished writing “Black Lives Matter” with chalk on a property in San Francisco. Well, Alexander and her husband Robert apparently knew the person who lived there. This is odd since Juanillo actually resided there for years. The couple then called the cops on the activist. Once the video was released, Alexander had to put the website of her company, LaFace Skincare, offline temporarily, and she publicly apologized to Juanillo. While Robert was fired from the financial firm Raymond James.

#3: Radio Karen

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It’s not every day a Karen films her own terrible behavior for the world to see and judge. But Dianna Ploss is on another level considering she had a little bit of fame. In 2020, through Facebook Live, the conservative radio host recorded herself berating landscapers in Nashua, New Hampshire, as they were working on the street. Ploss seemingly had an issue with the workers speaking Spanish. She repeatedly told them to speak in English before asking if any of them were “illegal” and saying their work was “communism.” Geez. Afterward, the radio station WSMN cut ties with Ploss and the show she had hosted there for the past couple of years.

#2: Family of Karens

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In 2021, Johnny Martinez was doing his job by checking cars for permits in the car park of a residential building in Nashville, Tennessee. However, he realized he was being followed by a Karen family duo, Bitsy Brennan and her son, Edward. The two demanded to know what he was doing there, ignoring the ID badge around Martinez’s neck. Things quickly escalated when Edward attempted to attack Martinez in response to him filming the confrontation. In response, Bitsy called the cops to come and sort this out. However, the duo apparently left before the police arrived. Once the video went viral, Bitsy was reportedly fired from her job at UBS, while Edward was charged with assault.

#1: Central Park Karen

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If this incident hadn’t been filmed, it could have ended poorly for the victim. In 2020, Christian Cooper was in Central Park in New York City, enjoying some bird watching. But he spotted Amy Cooper, no relation, with her dog that was off its lead, against the park’s rules. When Christian asked her to leash the dog and then offered it a treat, Amy exploded. While strangling the poor pup as she held its collar tightly, she called the police, put on an act, and claimed: “an African-American man” threatened her. Wow. After the backlash, Amy temporarily gave up her dog to a shelter and was fired by her employer Franklin Templeton. She later took them to court for illegal dismissal, only to lose.

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