Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron is facing criticism for hosting a maskless Christmas caroling event to protest California’s stay-at-home order.
KABC-TV in Los Angeles reports the actor led dozens of carolers Tuesday night outside The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, including children and senior citizens.
Cameron posted videos on his Instagram story of himself in a Santa hat and beard without a mask. The gathering took place as California nears 2 million COVID-19 cases and hospitals are running out of ICU bed space.
KABC also shared video of the gathering on Instagram.
The footage showed a large crowd not adhering to social distance guidelines as people sang. The mall is a short drive from Los Angeles — and all of Southern California is currently under strict stay-at-home orders.
Management at The Oaks released a statement on Twitter calling the gathering “irresponsible.”
“We do not condone this irresponsible — yet constitutionally protected — peaceful protest event planned. We share your concern and have notified the Sheriff’s office. As well, we have reached out to the event planner to ask that they do not use The Oaks as their venue.”
Still, some social media users blasted the mall for allowing the gathering to happen on its property.
Twitter user @DamaweVotes tweeted: “To be clear, there is no constitutional right to protest on PRIVATE PROPERTY. You can kick them out if you choose too. Threatening the public’s health is a 100% valid reason to protect your employees and mask-donning patrons.”
@PNathan4Kids responded back to The Oaks with: “You have a responsibility to keep your shoppers and our community safe. You failed miserably last night.”
KABC said the event was coincidentally held next to a COVID-19 testing site. This was at least the second caroling event that Cameron has hosted to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.