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Face Mask Exemption Cards are fraudulent licenses created by the “Freedom to Breathe Agency” Facebook group. The group designed these cards to prevent businesses from denying service to people who refuse to wear a mask, which can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The masks began spreading online in June 2020. The group that produced them the “Freedom to Breath Agency” closed shortly after the cards went viral on June 24th, 2020. That day, former *Nsync member Lance Bass tweeted, “HEADS UP fellow businesses…. This is not a thing. This is what happens when Arts and Crafts Karens have too much time on their hands. We will throw it in the trash and send them on their way.” The tweet received more than 81,000 likes and 50,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
Throughout the day, people continued to share the image. Twitter user @HoarseWisperer, for example, tweeted, “This reminds me of when my friend and I got fake IDs in Times Square that just said ‘ID Card’ and looked like someone had made them with a home laminator.” The tweet received more than 2,900 likes and 400 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
That day, the Department of Justice commented on the cards, stating that they were not issued by the DOJ nor endorsed by the department.