Black Hairdresser Calls Out Texas Govt. Agency For Hypocrisy After They Cause Her To Be Cyber Harassed
A hairdresser in Texas got dozens of nasty messages for a mistake while white hairdressers got visits from senators.
One Black hairdresser in Fort Worth, Texas, is calling out the massive discrepancies in how Black businesses are being treated compared to their white competitors.
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Texas, similarly to other states, shut down businesses to protect people from the spread of COVID-19.
In an interview with WFAA, Britanny Brown explained her particular situation, highlighting how a simple mistake caused her inbox to be filled with hateful messages after the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) publicly shamed her on Facebook.
Brown told WFAA that before the pandemic hit, she set up automatic advertisements on Facebook for her hair salon. Despite Brown temporarily shutting her business down because of the coronavirus and her pregnancy, the ads continued to run.
Brown said she received dozens of angry messages after the government agency saw one of the old Facebook ads for her business and posted about it on April 6.
"Please be advised that in addition to the criminal penalties under the executive order, there are potential TDLR violations that could subject you to administrative fines and sanctions," the agency wrote on Facebook.
Despite being publically bashed by the agency, Brown said white businesses had defied government orders and started to reopen.
"I started getting like all these nasty comments and inboxes basically saying that I was, you know, doing services when I really wasn't,” she told WFAA this month.
“I didn’t hear anything from them prior to that tag — no email, no phone call, no anything. I got inboxes saying I’m spreading the virus, I’m putting people at risk, I should be ashamed of myself,” Brown said in an interview with CBS DFW.
One review on Brown’s page said, “Selfishly providing services during a pandemic,” and another said, “No one will die if they don’t get their hair braided.”
Brown noted that after defying state orders and reopening, white Texas hairdresser Shelley Luther received press coverage, adoration from Gov. Greg Abbott and even a visit from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, according to the Texas Tribune.
Luther was aware she was operating her business against state orders and had torn up a cease-and-desist letter. Yet, the governor's office reached out to her asking how salons could reopen and what safety measures did she recommend.
CBS DFW noted that Brown was the only business targeted openly on Facebook despite TDLR spokeswoman Tela Mange telling the news outlet they received hundreds of calls about businesses violating state orders at the time.
“We’re sorry this caused a lot of comments toward her, it’s caused a lot of comments toward us, as well,” Mange said.
TDLR has since removed the post but hasn't apologized to Brown. The agency has only defended its actions.
"We have untagged the business in question, but the sentiment remains the same: Anyone who is offering to provide barbering, cosmetology (including hair, nails, skincare or hair removal) or massage therapy services at this time is potentially putting themselves and others in danger," the post read.
“I was put through this for an assumption, basically,” she said. "It's definitely unfair. I definitely think it would have played out differently for me. I definitely think so,” Brown noted.