Actor Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains fame is brushing off criticism from fans and others after hosting a crowded holiday caroling protest in Southern California despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 restrictions against large gatherings.
Earlier this month Cameron, 50, held what he described as a “Christmas caroling peaceful protest” which drew a sizable crowd that did not engage in social distancing, to sing traditional songs celebrating the holiday.
The star coordinated the event with Sing It Louder USA as a means of protesting Newsom’s stay-at-home order as coronavirus hospitalizations rose in portions of the Golden State.
Cameron posted a video on Instagram where he said “over 500 people gathered” for the first protest, which took place on Dec. 6. An “encore protest” in Thousand Oaks was held a week later, Dec. 13.
“People had such a great time. It lifted our spirits. Over 500 people gathered,” he said.
“If you love God, if you love Christmas and you love liberty, you’re not going to want to miss this,” Cameron, who is also well-known for his Christian beliefs, added.
In addition, the Growing Pains alum posted footage from Sunday’s protest showing the large crowd, most not wearing masks and many huddled together, on his Instagram page.
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A number of people posted criticisms on his page.
“Unbelievable,” wrote one.
“This is one of the most irresponsible things I’ve seen lately. To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin,” another wrote.
“No social distancing and only a couple of people wearing masks? This is so disrespectful and disappointing,” said another critic. “This isn’t about your right to do it, this is about a country currently crippled by death from Covid-19 and the unwillingness to do what’s right. It’s a slap in the face to the health workers who are trying to treat everyone and the ones who are at risk of this and doing the right thing.”
“This is so selfish. Looks like a super spreader party to me. Hopefully no one dies from it,” another person commented.
Local elected officials also criticized the gatherings.
“Liberty and freedom are very fragile and they come with great responsibility,” said Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Pena, KABC reported. “Continuing to hold large gatherings and ignoring all guidelines, I feel, is unchristian.”
But Cameron, who played Mike Seaver on the hit series that ran from 1985 to 1992, pushed back in an interview with Fox News @ Night Wednesday.
“All I can tell you is that I’m looking around in my community and I’m seeing the devastation and the suffering of people whose businesses have been bankrupted, people dealing with anxiety, depression, suicide is spiking, the abused being quarantined with their abusers, and I can’t just ignore that,” said Cameron.
“I love my neighbors and so I want to give them hope,” he continued, saying he will “absolutely” have more protests.
“People are just clamoring to come and be a part of [the events]. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave and there are thousands and thousands of people in our community who would rather not suffer in isolation and come out to sing and express their gratitude because we believe that there is immunity in community, but there is desolation in isolation.”
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