When is a Karen Not a Karen? The Cruelty and Lies of Karlos Dillard

Karlos Dillard — a 27-year-old Postmates driver and self-published author in Seattle — was cut off by a 1996 Geo Metro during a routine food delivery. The car was driven by a white woman. Dillard is black. Dillard said that he was on his way to a restaurant he refers to as “Dick’s Dine-In” to pick up a food delivery for a Postmates gig. (There are five franchises of Dick’s Drive-In operating in Seattle. I have confirmed that all five restaurants do indeed offer Postmates delivery.)

Dillard claimed — in a series of Instagram stories — that he had the right of way to merge onto a street from Melrose Avenue in “Capitol Hill. Fucking Capitol Hill.” Dillard says that he was in the right lane. As the two lanes of the unspecified street were about to merge, Dillard says that the woman “freaked out and swung around me and got in front of me and slammed on her brakes and did a brake check.” He further claims that he nearly collided into the back of her car.

At this point, we can confine the details of this incident to, at worst, an act of minor road rage — a common act that anyone, irrespective of race or background, engages in when they are facing significant anxiety — an anxiety that the present pandemic and economic uncertainty has instilled in anyone. But Dillard wished to escalate this — without a shred of video evidence — into a flimsy claim that the unidentified Geo Woman had instigated an act of racism. He decided to take advantage of the present moment, in which the Karen meme of white women using their privilege to engage in repugnant acts of racism has proven to be quite popular.

Dillard, a Trump supporter whose online record shows a clear angling for attention and online fame, saw an opportunity to go viral. So he chased the Geo Woman down in his car and confronted her, releasing the below video excerpt onto Twitter, which, as I write this, has been seen more than four million times.

In addition, the full video can be found here:

UPDATE: In an attempt to hide his evidence, Dillard removed the above Instagram post. The full video can be found below:

Karlos Dillard acted with great cruelty in his video.

The woman is clearly terrified. Her hands are shaking. She desperately covers her face and her license plate. Anyone who drives a Geo Metro built in another century is clearly not rolling in riches. So why go after her like this?

The Geo Woman feels attacked by the camera. We have no idea if she’s suffered any kind of past trauma or abuse. What a normal person with any shred of empathy would do here is put the camera down and give her the opportunity to apologize. But that’s not what Dillard does. He continues to call her a Karen, sticking his knife into the woman’s vulnerability and inflating his claim. He pans his phone to the woman’s car and gleefully announces, “Guys, this is her license plate number. She lives here. This is her address.” The woman shrieks at the top of her lungs, “No! No! Please! This is not true.”

“You cut me off!” bellows Dillard.

“No, I didn’t!” says the Geo Woman.

The woman begs for Dillard to leave her alone and to let her offer an apology for whatever happened. But what does Dillard do? He backs away from the woman and shouts into the Seattle streets for attention, “Guys! She flipped me off and then she tried to come home.” It’s vital to note that Dillard does not mention any act of racism in the early period of this unsettling video. Then he shrieks, “She did apologize for calling me a n**** and flipping me off” to anyone who will listen. And yet we don’t actually hear the woman acknowledging that she did any of this. Dillard is the person in the position of power here. And he knows it.

“Ma’am, what have I done to you?” barks Dillard.

“You’re going to ruin my life and you don’t even know me.”

Throughout the video, the Geo Woman repeatedly denies flipping Dillard off. “No, I didn’t! I swear to God!” she shrieks as she cowers with fear, desperately hiding the license plate and wailing with unbearable pain. She claims repeatedly, “I didn’t even see you!” in the full video.

Various onlookers look terribly confused as she cries, “He won’t listen to me!” An unspecified white man claims that he “saw her do it.” But what precisely did this man see?

Dillard eventually drives off and pulls across the street as various people try to comfort the Geo Woman. Then he returns to the scene, his camera off, and there is this exchange:

DILLARD: You literally cut me off. You flipped me off, correct?
GEO WOMAN: I did. But it wasn’t the way..
GEO WOMAN: …you won’t let me finish.

[Is the Geo Woman confessing to accidentally cutting Dillard off? Or flipping him off? Or is she overwhelmed by the rapid fire nature of Dillard’s relentless questions?]

GEO WOMAN: I didn’t mean to. ‘Cause I was trying to…
DILLARD: Then what did I do illegally?
GEO WOMAN: Can I — can I…
DILLARD: I had to merge.
GEO WOMAN: I — Can I talk?
DILLARD: Yeah. Go ahead.
GEO WOMAN: I feel sorry…
DILLARD: I have to…
GEO WOMAN: (crying) My arm! My heart.
DILLARD: Ma’am, you can’t just be going down flipping people off.
GEO WOMAN: I didn’t know you were — I wanted to touch you because I wanted you to — I know. I understand. You are a stranger. We — look me in the eyes.
DILLARD: You’re not going to be on Instagram. That’s not my deal here.

But going viral is most certainly Dillard’s “deal.”

The Geo Woman never once confesses specifically to flipping Dillard off. If anything, she extends empathy to him for accidentally cutting him off. Moreover, Dillard explicitly tells the Geo Woman — who is now a subject of ridicule — that she will not be on Instagram, betraying his pledge to clear up the misunderstanding privately.

In other words, Dillard’s video is not an act of social justice or even a noble fight for justice. It is an act of pure and unadulterated sadism, conducted by Dillard without a shred of compassion.

The other aspect of Dillard’s video that went viral was the Geo Woman announcing that she has a black husband. Here is the transcript:

DILLARD: You flipped me off! You flipped me off!
DILLARD: Don’t touch me! Do not touch me.
GEO WOMAN: I’m trying to…
DILLARD: You flipped me off!
GEO WOMAN: I have a black husband!
DILLARD: I don’t care. Why did you flip me off?
GEO WOMAN: You were totally calling me something that I’m not.

There are several important aspects to note here that reveal both the truth of what happened and Dillard’s questionable motivations.

1. At no point does the Geo Woman say that she flipped Dillard off or committed racism.
2. The Geo Woman is still processing some shouting guy with a camera confronting her. And instead of giving the Geo Woman the opportunity to process what’s going on, he instead bullies her with the question, “Why did you flip me off?”

* * *

What is the basis for Dillard’s claims of racism from this woman? In an effort to understand why, I have downloaded and reviewed the eighty photos and videos that Dillard uploaded to his Instagram stories feed on June 22, 2020 for this story. You can download the collected files here. After careful study, it’s pretty clear that there are too many contradictions and constant additions to Dillard’s story for it to be accepted in any court of law. Of the professed brake check and racism, Dillard doesn’t possess any evidence other than his own word, which constantly shifts over the course of his Instagram feed. He also takes many opportunities throughout these Instagram stories to promote his book and his merchandise.

There is a short video of the woman’s Geo facing Dillard, the Geo pulling back with its driver’s side open, and the woman’s Geo then driving off. Dillard has not posted any video demonstrating that the Geo Woman acted with any form of racism. In fact, when he shouts at the Geo Woman, he doesn’t make any mention of her professed racism, which would seem to be the underlying source of his beef. He merely bemoans that she was “driving crazy in Seattle.” He merely shouts, “Karen, learn how to drive!”

As Dillard revisits the incident, the details of his story keep changing. He initially says that the woman “sticks her fingers out of the window and starts flipping me off and saying all of this fucking racial shit.” Dillard also claims that the woman followed him for three blocks. And yet he has no video to back up any of this.

In another bit of testimony from Instagram Stories, Dillard then says that the Geo Woman “purposely brake checked me” and then adds the new detail of the Geo Woman smiling — “the smile and the words that came out of her mouth and her flicking me off.” But the source video of the Geo doesn’t show the woman doing any of these things. Has Dillard conveniently omitted the details?

Dillard takes the opportunity to mock the Geo Woman for having a black husband, stating with hyperbole:

“I have a black husband” will forever be the defense of racist people….and clearly your husband can’t really be about the movement. Because he would have had a conversation with you. Like, if you really had a black husband, you would know what you did was inappropriate. You would also what you’re doing now is inappropriate. If you had a black husband, you would have been apologetic.

But wait a minute. Dillard claimed at the scene of the incident that the Geo Woman did apologize “for calling me a n*****,” even going to the trouble of shouting this at the top of his lungs to anyone who would listen. Moreover, what could the Geo Woman be doing “right now” given that Dillard is removed from her?

To add additional credibility and framing to his claim, Dillard also includes a video on his Instagram Stories feed having a conversation with his husband, completely discounting the road rage as the motivating factor behind the incident. Karlos’s husband Kristopher (who, it is worth noting, was attacked on a bus in 2016) claims that, if Dillard had hit the Geo Woman, then he would “owe her a new car.” And this leap in logic is used to further suggest that the Geo Woman acted with unmitigated racism. Dillard responds:

So issue isn’t the road rage. It’s the…the “Why it happened?” And that’s why I wanted — that’s really — I didn’t give a fuck about her calling me out on my name or flipping me off. I really got pissed off.

Despite remaining cool as a cucumber throughout all of his Instagram Stories, Dillard also paints himself as a suffering victim, suggesting that he will suffer from “hypertension, blood pressure, insomnia, back problems, [and] chiropractic problems.” It is worth pointing out that none of the many legitimate victims of Karens have ever felt compelled to list a series of physical ailments after being subjected to unacceptable racism.

Dillard, a Detroit native, has his own troubled past. He was abandoned at the age of fifteen and worked three jobs while homeless to survive through high school and college. [UPDATE: TrueAnonPod has uncovered a post by Dillard’s adopted mother that disputes his claims. It is worth noting that Karlos Dillard’s original name was Carlos Gum.]

Dillard had gained some Internet attention in the early days of the Seattle protest when he was videotaped blowing bubbles in front of the police. And this is indeed a pleasant and peaceful counterpoint to the relentless police abuse in that area.

But the lion’s share of his online activities appear to have involved harassing people and leveling spurious claims of racism.

The incident with the Geo isn’t the first time that Dillard has claimed that others were racist during the course of a Postmates delivery. On May 28, 2020, Dillard claimed that the proprietors of A Burger Place demanded to see his ID when picking up an order and that this was an act of racism. Much like the Geo incident, Dillard doesn’t have any video evidence of the alleged remarks that the “racist Asian lady” said to him. Much like the Geo incident, Dillard’s subjects are clearly uncomfortable with his accusations. Additionally — and this is another troubling aspect to Dillard’s approach — his confrontational antics appear to target women. In one of his Instagram stories, he calls the Geo Woman “that bitch.” If Dillard claims to be fighting systemic racism, then can he look inward and confront what appears to be a strain of systemic misogyny?

There’s also the question of whether Dillard’s political motivations are entirely sound. He voiced support for Trump as recently as last month. In a July 11, 2017 episode of The Black Guy Conservative Athesist, Dillard states, “I did vote for Donald Trump.” He later says of Trump: “He might help me with my business taxes. I might get a business loan, which I can’t seem to do.” In a followup interview in May, Dillard claimed that Trump “hasn’t done anything directly to black people, but his antics over the last three years have ignited so much ignorance.” He later said in the followup podcast, “I still think with my thing. I don’t think he has hurt small business and I don’t think he has directly affected black folks.”

In examining Dillard’s Instagram stories, there is an undeniably cruel, attention-seeking, and truth-bending thrust to his grievances — such as the way in which he spliced together the audio from a video depicting a legitimate act of racism from an unquestionable Karen onto his own video. Dillard also leaves in the “You’re an asshole” comment from the original Karen video to suggest that the Geo Woman said these remarks to him.

Perhaps Dillard’s motivation for attention by any means necessary has to do with “financial problems” that he alludes to on one of his Instagram Stories videos.

The epidemic of Karens is certainly one that needs to be exposed and addressed. Racism in any form absolutely needs to be called out and denounced — especially at this pivotal moment in American affairs when so many white people are having difficulty coming to terms with their privilege and truly must do so in order for this nation to come closer to racial equality. But when there is no video evidence of racism — as is the case with the Geo Woman — and the alleged victim — in this case, Karlos Dillard — appears more motivated by cruelty and vengeance and malice and ridicule, to say nothing of an overwhelmingly narcissistic need for attention, one does need to ask whether the cold and compassionless act of revealing the personal details and doxxing a terrified woman for a minor road rage offense is the act of a bona-fide Karen. One must also ask of Dillard why he felt the need to be so cruel and why he wished to gain fame and profit from the suffering of an innocent woman.

Moreover, Dillard’s wanton cruelty is a setback to the impressive progress of the courageous Black Lives Matter movement. When the evidential details are manufactured or outright erroneous, as they clearly are here with Dillard, then it dissuades someone who is on the fence about joining a vital and necessary struggle that will lead to a better tomorrow.

And then there’s the Geo Woman. At this point, the video has now spread so far and wide that it can no longer be pulled. What repercussions and trauma will she face? Are we to offer her no empathy because one opportunistic huckster says that it must be so?

6/23/2020 7:30 PM UPDATE: The TrueAnn Pod Twitter account has excavated a restraining order filed against Dillard for harassing a woman, further buttressing Dillard’s misogyny. Additionally, this Pastebin file links to numerous criminal charges, including driving without a license, numerous offers to commit prostitution, use of a weapon, and harassment.

6/23/2020 9:45 PM UPDATE: There’s another inconsistency to Dillard’s story. In the “brake incident” video posted above, Dillard is clearly blocks away from the Melrose Avenue area where he says that the Geo Woman cut him off. As I point out in the below tweet, there are a number of fishy details: (1) Why is the Geo Woman’s door open? (2) Why is there no mention of either flipping the bird or the smile or the racist language that was to come later in Dillard’s claims? (3) Is it possible that Dillard singled out the Geo Woman and pursued her?

6/24/2020 7:45 AM UPDATE: Twitter has temporarily suspended Dillard’s account.

6/24/2020 3:15 PM UPDATE: Karlos Dillard has broken his silence and spoken with Insider‘s Rachel E. Greenspan. Dillard’s very own testimony, when corroborated against Google Maps, suggests that he completely invented the merging/cutoff incident. Because, as I documented in the two tweets below, much of the geography of that neighborhood doesn’t allow for two lane streets. We know from the brake chase video that he started pursuing the Geo Woman on Summit Street. He has claimed in another video that Melrose Avenue was where the two lanes merged into one. But I’ve run Google Street View along that sector and it’s one lane in both directions across every stretch of the way. Additionally, the only place he could have merged from when he alleges that he and the Geo Woman circled was along East Olive Street or East Pine Street. And I don’t see a place where there were two lanes. It now occurs to me that the fact that Dillard has been sketchy and nebulous about the location where the cutoff happened leads further credence that it was completely invented.

6/2/2020 1:00 PM UPDATE: I am very much indebted to two readers for pointing me to a number of new developments. First off, the original version of the article slightly mangled the precise transcript wording in the longer video. I have corrected it. Additionally, in an attempt to avoid scrutiny, Dillard has also removed the longer version of his video on Instagram from public view. But it is still accessible if you have the link — as it is through this article.

Second, a video that Dillard uploaded on June 15, 2020 has Dillard and his husband confessing to a con in which they harass people with false charges, suggesting further that Dillard have made it a habit to target people with charges of racism to get what they want. The pertinent conversation is at the 35:00 mark in the above video:

KARLOS: We wouldn’t go to another store. But this other store doesn’t have wood tip wine. And that’s what I smoke. And, and I don’t smoke plastic. I don’t smoke Jazz. I smoke wood tip wine. If it’s not wood tip wine, I’m very unhappy. So this place has both. So we went back and we also — okay, to be fair, we went back to start problems. But…
KRISTOPHER: I went back to start a problem. I don’t give a fuck. I went back to get my…
KARLOS: I went back to see if you’ve learned anything!
KARLOS: From our last encounter.
KRISTOPHER: Let’s find out.

Then Kristopher plays a video of the two men in a store, suggesting that the owners were racist because a person had walked out with a six pack of beer and the store didn’t have beer and they felt entitled to it.

KRISTOPHER: You were lying.
KARLOS: That was a true lie.
KRISTOPHER: (laughs) That was a complete lie. We ain’t seen nobody.
KARLOS: That was…when I tell you, when I tell you…
KRISTOPHER: That was a lie.
KARLOS: That was a lie I made up on the spot. Because when I…I was caused for this. So what you do is: It’s called Lay a Trap. You lay a trap of racism.
KARLOS: Because really, really, if you really did do that, he would have been like, “I haven’t served anyone alcohol.”
KARLOS: And then I would shut my mouth!
KARLOS: And went to another store.
KARLOS: What did he say?

They then play an additional part of the clip in which the “lay a trap” game is played down. Karlos is then very enthusiastic about his lie.

KARLOS: I just made up an imaginary person who I…. [he falls on the couch, laughing]
KRISTOPHER: An imaginary person who is white.

What we have with this video is Dillard completely incriminating himself and pointing to his systemic lies less than two weeks before the Geo Woman video. His “Lay a Trap” game, applied both to the woman at A Burger Place and to the Geo Woman, is a game that Dillard and his husband delight in playing.

I have downloaded a local copy of the video. Should Dillard make any efforts to remove this evidence, I will upload it and ensure that this is available for public scrutiny.