Story Corps
Patisserie Angelica
photo credit: (Credit: Marc Albert/KRCB)
By now, the genre's familiar. jerky camera, unsteady frame. An ask, a refusal then rising voices, and a crescendo with certain key words: masks, rights, freedom and arrest. Although mask confrontation videos are practically their own genre on social media, one shot this week in Sonoma County stands out.
The :55 second video is purportedly shot by Christina Kelso, a southern California anti-mask activist. It starts ordinarily enough.
 <sound of door opening, talking>
She enters Patissierie Angelica, a Sebastopol bakery mask-less, and when asked to be masked, announces she doesn't wear one. Instead, she says, unless she is served it's discrimination and threatens, but doesn't call... law enforcement.
"I wasn't expecting that level of kind of happened," the words of a clerk, who requested her name not be used. But it was Kelso's next charge, that left the clerk, the bakery's owner and some in the community, stunned.
<sound from video resumes> "So in Nazi Germany, when your manager told you to like, shove people in the ovens, you would do that, I guess. I'm asking a real question. You have ovens don't you?"
Reached Wednesday, the clerk, said she was initially flabbergasted. "My mind just went blank. I feel like I didn't even know what to do. I was like in shock. I just tried to stay as quiet as possible, because I knew if I said something it was not going to go in a good direction."
And it continued beyond where Kelso ends the clip she posted on social media. "She kept filming me, another customer came in and she filmed that customer. She called us devils, she called us Satan worshippers," the clerk said.
The clerk said she was threatened with citizen's arrest, as Kelso demanded her name and said she'd be held accountable. An interview request sent to Kelso through Facebook was not returned.
"She stayed for a while and eventually I just helped the other customer, I let her kind of stand there and do her thing and breathe and be angry, and then she grabbed a business card and left, and that was kind of the end of it."
Sergeant Juan Valencia, with the Sonoma County Sheriff's office says this isn't the first such incident in the county. He said, private businesses have a right to refuse service, as in the old saw: no shirt, no shoes, no service. He said a customer asked to leave, must do so and refusal might result in trespassing charges from the district attorney.
Just Wednesday a woman in Southern California was sentenced to community service, probation and a fine after refusing to mask up or leave a grocery store in Costa Mesa in August.
Store owner Gergana Karavelov, who bought the bakery three years ago, wasn't on-site when the local incident occurred. She said the bakery, which specializes in cakes for special occasions and celebrations, reflects that. Negative interactions are more than out of the ordinary. "Never! we have the most wonderful customers here." She says the business has weathered some challenges, but Tuesday stood out. "There was a flood, two fires and then the pandemic, but nothing like that, ever."
She says, the Sebastopol community, and regular customers, have rushed to lend support. As to the analogy and words chosen during the confrontation, Karavelov, originally from Bulgaria, called the episode disturbing.
"Really bad feelings. I am sorry to say but this is not right. Nobody can do that. There is nothing funny about what happened to the people back then"
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