Yoga Enterprise

Pacifica yoga studio owner touts ‘#NoMasks’ as Yelp fury grows

A Pacifica yoga studio owner, angry about public health contracts that had to close his business since at least May, is now promoting mask-free indoor yoga classes on social media with hashtags like “#fearfree”, “#cowardfree” and “# Trump2020.”

It’s lonely to be Republican or Trump supporter in the Bay Area, of course, but Pacifica Beach Yoga owner Tommy Antoon makes no secret of his political passions on his studio’s social media accounts. And like a tragically large number of Trump supporters – despite the President’s recent fight against COVID-19, which was most likely due to his not wearing a mask and coming into close contact with an infected person – Antoon’s policies infected his ideas on the science behind the precautions for COVID-19. After a frequent pre-pandemic customer of the studio posted a Yelp review last week warning others that the rules for wearing masks had been broken during Pacifica Beach Yoga, Antoon appears to have responded by speaking confirmed his stance, claiming the studio remained open to Spring Shelter-at-Home orders despite everything.

Below is a screenshot of the exchange.

Screenshot via Yelp

Beginning Sunday night, a post-promotional Monday class at Pacifica Beach Yoga included the above hashtags – another indication that the studio was not complying with public health guidelines. A representative from the studio could not be reached to confirm whether some or all of the courses offered are mask-free.

Screenshot via Facebook

Pacifica Beach Yoga has an Instagram account full of pro-Trump memes and posts spread across class time posts. And Antoon is offering free classes to anyone who arrives with a Trump 2020 hat or t-shirt, like the customer shown below on September 20th.

On September 18, the report republished a Washington Examiner story alleging the CDC had withdrawn its own guide to wearing face masks. And if you turn back, you see months of anti-biden and anti-mask posts of various kinds – which, let’s just say, paints a bizarre picture of a yoga business, especially in the Bay Area.

Screenshot via Facebook

The complaint to Yelp, to which Antoon appeared to have responded directly and defiantly, came on October 7th. As of Monday, October 12, a screenshot of this exchange appeared on Reddit and immediately received over 100 comments – and that led directly to a torrent of 1-star Yelp reviews denouncing the business.

A website called The Center Square, owned by one-year conservative news organization The Franklin Foundation, reported last week that among 30 lawsuits filed against Governor Gavin Newsom over pandemic business closings, Antoon was May 27. In the lawsuit, Antoon allegedly alleged that the closure of his business “resulted in his being unable to purchase drugs and” caused “signs of deterioration in mental health.”

His biography on the Pacifica Beach Yoga website describes how Antoon took his first Bikram yoga class in late 2011 after suffering a heart attack and numerous health problems. This eventually led him to become a yoga teacher. In addition to traditional yoga and heated Pilates, his studio also offers hot vinyasa and bikram courses.

The San Mateo County Health Department offices were closed on Monday for the Columbus Day holiday, so Hoodline was unable to confirm whether complaints about the studio were made on official channels. Effective immediately, San Mateo County’s gyms and gyms can be opened 10 percent with masks that are worn at all times.

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