An unmasked man filmed yelling in the face of an elderly woman on a busy New York City subway train has been identified as 27-year-old Ryan Bartels.
The video sparked a massive search across social media to try and find the man recorded verbally abusing a woman wearing a mask.
Bartels’ identity was first uncovered on TikTok after user @auntkaren0 issued an appeal for information.
That request was happily taken up by another TikTok user, @rx0rcist, who revealed Bartels name and other background details along with the fact he was recently employed by CarMax.
That video can be viewed here.
Rx0rcist also confirmed she had been in touch with CarMax to tell them about the contents of the video and had also contacted Bartels’ mother and sister.
Filmmaker Michael McWhorter then took up the mantle on Twitter with a short video detailing all of the information gleaned about Bartels, including his employment at CarMax.
That video prompted CarMax to issue a statement, via Twitter, on the matter.
According to Bartels’ LinkedIn page, which has since been taken down, Bartels worked as a product manager for CarMax based out of Richmond, Virginia.
In the wake of the discovery, CarMax posted a series of tweets appearing to confirm Bartels was the man in the video, while also noting he no longer worked for the company.
“We’ve been made aware of a concerning video,” they said
“This individual has not worked for our company since May 2021.
“At CarMax, we value treating everyone with respect and this behavior does not represent our values.”
The video begins with Bartels standing over the woman, smiling at her, as she tells him: “I wish the police would give you a $50 fine.”
Under New York City mandates, anyone found on the subway riding without a mask faces a $50 fine.
Unperturbed, Bartels leans further forward telling her in a sarcastic high-pitched voice: “I’m so afraid,” while a bearded unmasked man in a red T-shirt and backwards baseball cap watches on.
At one point Bartels appears to shoot a glance at the other man in the hat, suggesting they may be traveling together.
Despite the intimidating circumstances, the woman stands her ground, responding to his remarks with a polite request of “please get away from me sir.”
That request falls on deaf ears, however, with Bartels instead opting to begin loudly chanting “1776” and pumping his fist in the air.
At this point, the second man in the hat takes a seat on the subway, while Bartels continues his chanting.
Eventually the elderly woman stands up and, pointing at the man, tells him to “respect your elders.”
Undaunted, Bartels orders her to “take a seat.”
“Respect your elders,” she repeats.
“I respect freedom,” is his response.
Seemingly desperate for some sort of support from the otherwise silent bystanders in the subway carriage, the woman pleads: “He’s disrespecting an elderly.”
The man filming the incident is the only one who appears to come forward—and it’s not long before Bartels is directing his ire at him.
“You know what I respect? I respect freedom,” he tells the man filming.
“What do you respect? Take a seat, sit down, sit the f*** down.”
The video concludes with Bartels glaring at the man behind the camera, who continues to film even after he has sat down.
According to the original poster, @Subway_DJ, the incident occurred on the Q train in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Despite Bartels’ aggressive behavior, the man who filmed the video says no one else intervened in the incident, which shocked many on social media.
“The apathy of the passengers who sit by and watch an elderly woman be bullied is a clear example of why America is losing it’s democracy,” SissyRox wrote on Twitter.
Brian71640515 agreed: “Someone could have stood up and pressed the emergency button in the car, if they are scared of confrontation.”
SailorSiri added: “I mean the camera person tried to confront him but there’s only so much one person can do, other people really should have stepped up to help her.”
Others highlighted the hypocrisy of Bartels in calling for his freedom to be respected while being filmed disrespecting someone else’s.
Ninjettenine commented: “Guy who ‘respects freedom’ giving orders like an authority. Weird. It’s like he doesn’t know what freedom actually means.”
Theshiralee agreed: “So he respects freedom, unless it’s someone else’s freedom.”
Bartels’ identity was uncovered after several notable figures on Twitter took up the cause to try and track him down.
They include actor and filmmaker Michael Rapaport, singer Richard Marx and Mary L. Trump who all shared the video.
Newsweek has reached out to @Subway_DJ for further comment on his post.