Business reports backlash after posts about MAGA hats, masks

A South Whidbey business taking a stand against racism and police brutality wants people to know that all shoppers are welcome, regardless of political views or headwear.

In a June 1 blog post on its website, Bayview Farm & Garden condemned racism and bigotry within the community. The nursery owner established solidarity with people of color while acknowledging white privilege and mentioned the donations that would be made to the ACLU, the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We also commit to having zero tolerance for any signs or gestures of racism in our personal and business lives. We will not allow gestures of violence against people of color and that includes the wearing of MAGA hats on our business property,” the post stated.

The business’ Face-book page also had a post sharing similar sentiments and calling for racial justice.

Both the Facebook post and blog post have since been removed by the business owner, who said Bayview Farm & Garden has received threats of violence ever since the nursery required that all customers wear masks.

“We are experiencing a horrible backlash, which is very vulgar and hateful,” owner Maureen Murphy said.

She added that people not complying with mask requirements have entered the business yelling and being rude.

Online harassment because of the postings was reported to the police on June 7. According to a police report, the officer offered suggestions on how to handle situations regarding masks at the business. Advice was also given about handling the online harassment.

Murphy said the nursery has no current policy in place banning the wearing of MAGA hats.

“If people want to come in and be polite and wear their masks, they’re more than welcome to shop here, regardless of their political persuasion,” Murphy said.

“We’re not going to be knocking hats off people’s heads.”