- A San Diego woman named Amber Gilles posted a photo to Facebook last month in an effort to shame a Starbucks barista, Lenin Gutierrez, for refusing to serve her because she wasn’t wearing a mask.
- However, many supported the barista, raising over $105,000 for him through a GoFundMe campaign.
- Now Gilles says she wants to sue for half, claiming she was discriminated against and can’t wear a mask for medical reasons.
- As proof, she provided a local TV station with results from a 2015 pelvic exam and a chiropractor’s note saying she had “underlying breath conditions.”
- She also added, “I get shortness of breath, dizziness and it messes with the heartbeat. And I do have asthma as well, and I do get maskne (mask-acne). So there’s several things going on and not only that, but it doesn’t even work.”
Barista Earns Support After Viral Post
A California woman says she wants to sue for half of the $100,000 raised for a Starbuck barista in San Diego who refused to serve her unless she put on a mask.
Last month, Amber Gilles went viral after she tried to shame the barista on Facebook. In a now-deleted post, she shared a photo of the employee and wrote, “Meet Lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”
The post definitely caught people’s attention but didn’t really bring in the reactions she was hoping for. In fact, internet users all over the world praised the employee, Lenin Gutierrez. Eventually, a man by the name of Matt Cowan even started a GoFundMe campaign to raise tips for him.
Gutierrez was overwhelmed by the support he received following the incident and posted a video on Facebook last month thanking people for their kindness. In that video, he also talked a little more about how Gilles behaved on the day of their interaction.
He said he asked Gilles if she had a mask, and she told him no, she didn’t need one. Then, he said he was about to show her a paper that employees had been provided announcing the mask requirement, but she didn’t give him the chance to.
“Before I can say anything, she flipped me off. She said, ‘no, I don’t need one’ and she started cursing up a storm.”
“She started calling people sheep and then she left, and then within a few minutes, she came back and she asked for my name…She took a photo of me and said ‘I’m calling corporate and started cursing some more at everyone and just left. And this time for good,” he added.
Support continued to pour in as his story spread online and by the time the GoFundMe campaign closed, it had raised over $105,000.
Cowan personally delivered the money to Gutierrez earlier this month, loading all the cash into a briefcase. Cowan and his friend, Will Collette, actually documented that moment and uploaded it to YouTube. When speaking with them, Gutierrez said he wants to use the funds to help him study Kinesiology at Cal State Fullerton and pursue his dream of becoming a dancer. He said he also wants to donate some of the money to charity.
Woman Wants Half of the Funds Raised
Now, that would’ve been a positive way to close this whole ordeal, but of course, the story doesn’t end there. That’s because Gilles spoke to a local ABC affiliate station this week to say that she was the one actually wronged.
“It was discrimination and everybody is okay with it and enabling and rewarding that behavior,” she told 10News.
She also claimed she was going to take legal action for half of the GoFundMe money raised for Gutierrez, saying “I don’t care if he gave it to Lenin, I’m going to sue him for half of it.”
She told the station she had spoken to a few lawyers about taking her case, but because they’re so expensive she’s also started her own GoFundMe campaign.
As far as her stance on masks, she told the station she believes they are not effective but also gave some details about the medical issues that prevent her from wearing one.
“One of them I get shortness of breath, dizziness and it messes with the heartbeat. And I do have asthma as well, and I do get maskne (mask-acne). So there’s several things going on and not only that but it doesn’t even work.”
To prove that she is exempt from wearing a mask, she provided the station with two documents. One was a 2015 pelvic exam report that shows an analysis of her uterus and an ovarian cyst. The second was a handwritten note with a letterhead from a San Diego chiropractor that Gillies asked the station not to show.
That note says she “has underlying breath conditions that prevent her from wearing a mask or any type of facial covering whatsoever.”
The station reached out to the chiropractor, but he declined to speak about Gilles. When asked why a chiropractor had given her a medical note for a breathing issue, Gilles said it was “because they are dedicated to providing non-invasive personalized care and treatment. They are real doctors.”
Finally, when asked if she had an apology of message for the public, she said, “Uh, pfffttt. No, absolutely not. I feel like I need the apology. I’ve been discriminated against. I’m the one who’s sick.”
See what others are saying: (10News) (Insider) (Fox Business)
FDA Authorizes Moderna and J&J COVID Vaccine Boosters, Approves Mix-and-Match Doses
The approval will allow at-risk Americans who received Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to get any booster six months after their initial series and all Johnson & Johnson recipients 18 and older to do the same two months after their single-shot dose.
New FDA Authorization
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday authorized boosters shots of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines and approved a mix-and-match strategy that will allow people who got one company’s shot to get a booster from a different maker.
The decision paves the way for millions of more at-risk Americans to get extra protection, and not just certain Pfizer recipients as previously approved by the FDA.
Under the authorization, people who received Moderna or Pfizer can get any one of the three booster shots six months after completing their initial series if they are 65 and older, at high risk of severe COVID, or face increased exposure because of their work.
Meanwhile, all J&J recipients 18 and older can get any of the approved vaccines two months after they received the one-shot jab.
Hazy Recommendations, For Now
Notably, the FDA did not recommend a certain combination of vaccines, nor did the agency say whether or not it would be more effective for people to stick with their original vaccine maker for their booster.
The new authorizations draw on a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which found that there are no safety concerns with mixing boosters and that vaccine combinations were at least as effective in stimulating antibodies as matched vaccines.
In the case of J&J recipients, the NIH found that people actually had a higher boost from mixing either Moderna or Pfizer boosters.
However, some of the scientists who worked on the study said it should not be used to recommend one combination over another because the research was limited.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which determines vaccine recommendations, could issue more guidance on when and whether people should switch vaccine makers for their booster shots.
An advisory panel for the agency is meeting Thursday to discuss the new FDA authorizations and recommendations.
Once the panel makes its decision, the CDC director has the final say on the guidelines. If the agency agrees with the FDA’s decisions, the booster shots could be rolled out as soon as this weekend.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (The Washington Post)
Paris Hilton Urges Lawmakers To Crack Down on Abusive Teen Treatment Facilities
The heiress alleges that she was a victim of abuse in these types of centers for two years and wants to ensure that no child suffers through the same experience.
Paris Hilton Details Abuse Within “Troubled Teen Industry”
Socialite and entrepreneur Paris Hilton spoke outside of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to support the Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which is set to be introduced in the near future.
Hilton joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to advocate for the legislation, which aims to create a “bill of rights” for children in treatment and behavioral centers.
The heiress has alleged that she spent two of her teenage years in these types of facilities and was subject to rampant abuse. She is far from alone.
During a press conference, Hilton said that one night when she was 16, she woke up to two large men in her bedroom forcing her out of her house. She said she screamed for help because she thought she was being kidnapped, but her parents watched as she was taken away to a “troubled teen” program.
“Like countless other parents of teens, my parents had searched for solutions to my rebellious behavior,” she explained in an op-ed for The Washington Post this week. “Unfortunately, they fell for the misleading marketing of the ‘troubled teen industry’ — therapeutic boarding schools, military-style boot camps, juvenile justice facilities, behavior modification programs and other facilities that generate roughly $50 billion annually in part by pitching ‘tough love’ as the answer to problematic behavior.”
Hilton said she was sent to four different facilities where she was “physically and psychologically abused.”
“I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a diagnosis, not given a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood and so much more,” she explained during the press conference.
“At Provo Canyon School in Utah, I was given clothes with a number on the tag. I was no longer me, I was only number 127,” she continued. “I was forced to stay indoors for 11 months straight, no sunlight, no fresh air. These were considered privileges.”
Goals of the Accountability for Congregate Care Act
Hilton claims that a lack of transparency and accountability has allowed this structure of abuse to thrive for decades. In some cases, she said it has taken children’s lives. Now, she wants Congress and President Joe Biden to act.
“This bill creates an urgently needed bill of rights to ensure that every child placed into congregate care facilities is provided a safe and humane environment,” Hilton said of the Accountability for Congregate Care Act.
“This bill of rights provides protections that I wasn’t afforded, like access to education, to the outdoors, freedom from abusive treatment, and even the basic right to move and speak freely. If I had these rights and could have exercised them, I would have been saved from over 20 years of trauma and severe PTSD.”
Foster children, children being treated for mental disorders, and other children in youth programs would be impacted by the bill.
Hilton was one of several survivors and advocates who fought for the legislation on Wednesday. Rep. Khanna thanked them for using their stories to fight for change.
“No child should be subjected to solitary confinement, forced labor, or any form of institutional abuse,” he wrote. “Thanks to Paris Hilton, my colleagues & the survivors & advocates who joined us today to discuss how we can hold the congregate care industry accountable.”
While only Democratic legislators are currently sponsoring the bill, Hilton called for a bipartisan effort to fight for the rights of children.
“Ensuring that children are safe from institutional abuse isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue,” Hilton said. “It’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate attention.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Hill) (NBC News)
Surgeons Successfully Test Pig Kidney Transplant on a Human
The procedure has been hailed as a major scientific breakthrough that could eventually open the door to a renewable source of desperately needed organs.
Surgeons at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute revealed Tuesday that they temporarily attached a kidney from a genetically modified pig to a human patient and found that it worked normally.
The operation was the first of its kind and could one day lead to a vast supply of organs for those who are in severe need. According to the Associated Press, more than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for a kidney transplant. Each day, an average of 12 die while waiting.
With the family’s consent, the groundbreaking procedure was performed on a brain-dead patient who was kept alive on a ventilator.
According to the surgeons, the pig used was genetically engineered to grow an organ that wouldn’t produce a sugar that the human immune system attacks, which would then trigger the body to reject the kidney.
The organ was connected to blood vessels on the patient’s upper leg, outside the abdomen, and it was observed for over 54 hours, with doctors finding no signs of rejection.
Concerns and Hurdles Ahead
While the procedure was successful, this doesn’t mean it’ll be available to patients anytime soon. Several questions about long-term functionality remain, and it will still have to go through significant medical and regulatory hurdles.
Details of the procedure haven’t even been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal yet, though there are plans for this.
Experts are also considering the ethical implications of this type of animal-to-human transplant. For some, raising pigs to harvest their organs raises concerns about animal welfare and exploitation. Such medical procedures have already earned criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.
“Pigs aren’t spare parts and should never be used as such just because humans are too self-centered to donate their bodies to patients desperate for organ transplants,” PETA said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
On the other side of the debate are people like Dr. Robert Montgomery, the director of the N.Y.U. Langone Transplant Institute who performed the breakthrough procedure in September.
“I certainly understand the concern and what I would say is that currently about 40% of patients who are waiting for a transplant die before they receive one,” he told BBC.
“We use pigs as a source of food, we use pigs for medicinal uses – for valves, for medication. I think it’s not that different.”