‘Karens United’ Facebook group pushes back against name stigma

Miya Ponsetto ‘Soho Karen’


Can I please speak to the manager? The Karens are uniting.

Karens from around the globe are coming together, pushing back against the stigma that comes with a name marred by viral internet videos depicting angry, rude or often racist middle-aged white women.

“I can’t say that I’ve ever been crazy about the name but it definitely doesn’t make me feel better,” Karen Feldman, Marketing and Communications Director at Florida Gulf Coast University, told NBC2.

“Nasty, thoughtless, selfish. You name it. If it’s a bad thing, that’s what a Karen is,” she said.

“I put something on the internet about it and somebody, whose name is Dick, said ‘yeah well, you should hear what they say about my name.’”

Feldman is one of nearly 2,000 Karens that have joined the private Facebook group “Karens United,” created last year where Karens from around the globe meet and talk about the name that they feel the internet has taken from them.

Miya Ponsetto — aka “Soho Karen” — falsely accused a teen of swiping her cellphone.

While the exact origins of the “Karen” caricature are debated,  “Karen” is internet shorthand for an aggressive white woman caught on video for something like calling the cops on their the neighbors, yelling at store managers, or enforcing park rules.

“I don’t wear my hair in an inverted bob, I don’t give unsolicited advice, I rarely use coupons and I have absolutely no friggin’ desire to speak to your manager,” the group’s creator, Karen, wrote on Facebook. “I’m just a mom trying to juggle my home, my job and my family.”

“I honestly want to know why my name is suddenly associated with all things middle aged and uninformed. Is there a Karen who is responsible for these faux pas? Let’s hunt her down and reeducate her, but for the love of God, stop lecturing all of us.”

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Just this week, “Anti-mask Karen” (actual name Janene Hoskovec) was fired from her job after being captured on video deliberately coughing on grocery store shoppers.

Many of the viral videos have led to real-life consequences.

Perhaps the most infamous “Karen” was Amy Cooper, a white woman who called the police on black birder Christian Cooper when the two ended up at odds in the Ramble at Central Park while she was walking her dog. She “pulled the pin on the race grenade,” according to Christian Cooper.

When Mr. Cooper asked her to leash her dog, the so-called “Central Park Karen” promptly told authorities an “African American man is threatening my life,” while appearing to accidentally strangle her dog. 

After the video quickly went viral, Amy Cooper was fired from her investment firm job, temporarily forced to surrender her dog and charged with one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. The viral clip also spawned new hate crime legislation.


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