Hair salon at centre of Nancy Pelosi controversy shuts down after GoFundMe raises $300,000 for owner

Business hit headlines after sharing footage of house speaker on premises without mask 

Louise Hall
Thursday 10 September 2020 16:38 BST
Pelosi salon shuts down after 300k raised in Gofundme for owner

A San Fransisco hair salon at the centre of a controversy involving house speaker Nancy Pelosi is closing down after the owner said she feels she can no longer safely operate the business.

“I am actually done in San Francisco and closing my doors, unfortunately,” Erica Kious, the salon’s owner, told Fox News on Wednesday night.

Esalon made headlines after it provided footage to Fox News showing Ms Pelosi not wearing a face mask as she walked through the property, despite San Francisco salons only being allowed to operate outdoors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Kious said that she has received so much negative attention from the controversy that she has been forced to close her business down.

"I started to just get a ton of phone calls, text messages, emails," she said. "All my Yelp reviews... you know, saying that I'm, they hope I go under and that I fail. So, um, just a lot of negativity towards my business."

A fundraising campaign set up for Ms Kious in light of the controversy raised over $300,000 (£226,990) after being set up by former Nevada State GOP chairman Amy Tarkanian last week.

“All donations will go directly to Erica to pay off any debts from the business that she is forced to shut down, expenses to relocate and reopen in a new location,” the fundraiser detailed.

Ms Pelosi previously addressed the incident accusing Ms Kious of setting her up. “I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighbourhood salon that I’ve been to many times," she told The San Francisco Chronicle.

“It was a set up, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup,” she added. “I think that this salon owes me an apology, for setting me up.”

Ms Pelosi’s stylist, Jonathan DeNardo came out in support of the house speaker, saying Ms Kious “authorised” him to “proceed with speaker Pelosi’s appointment.” He has since resigned from the salon, along with other employees, according to FoxNews.

The house speaker has been a large advocate of mask wearing and has criticised president Donald Trump for not doing more to promote the wearing of face coverings to the general public.

When asked why she walked through the salon without a face mask covering her mouth and nose, Ms Pelosi replied: “I just had my hair washed. I don’t wear a mask when I’m washing my hair.

“Do you wear a mask when you’re washing your hair? I always wear a mask ... and that picture is when I just came out of the bowl.”

Ms Kious denied setting up the House Speaker, and said “the appointment was already booked so there was no way I could have set that up."

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