An anti-mask protest planned in front of the Target shopping center on Highway 378 in Lexington for Monday was cancelled. The organizer, who wishes to remain anonymous, posted the event on social media and received immediate backlash.
The organizer is a professional in the greater Columbia area who strongly believes in freedom. Her idea was to create a visible protest in front of Target on Highway 378 during the heavily travelled afternoon commute time between 5:00pm and 6:00pm. The extent of the protest was to stand on the sidewalk and hold signs protesting the mask ordinance and the requirements of masks for students in schools.
The Town of Lexington’s police department reached out to the organizer for more information on the structure of the protest. However, she had already decided to cancel the event due to fears for her personal safety, as well as that of her family.
The vitriolic comments targeted her business, encouraging people to boycott her professionally. The erosion of America’s constitutional right to freedom of expression is making it difficult for many to have their voices heard in the marketplace of ideas.
The organizer posted the following comment on social media. “Morning all, I need to let you all know what has been happening to me. With much regret, I had to cancel Monday's attempt at a successful strike against the masks. After creating a public event on FB, sharing to every outlet I know, I have become under extreme personal attack, bullying, and harassment.
“The "other side" is stopping at nothing to attack my family personally, financially, and psychologically, and have threatened financial and even physical death to our business and our family. I started by trying to delete negative comments, but they kept coming, and in force!
“The "other side" is relentless, heartless, degrading, and have no regard to what "free speech" is. They don't understand it's ok to disagree and they do not need to come to an event if they are not interested, but what I don't understand is when this world started thinking it was ok to start harassing the other side so badly for believing something different than them. If maskers want to wear a mask for the rest of their lives I am ok with that, but my family and I are being severely targeted by those who don't want us to have the freedom to choose! This is a huge problem! I hope we can find other ways to make a difference.”