Karen's Caped Crusade? Texas Salon Owner Jailed for Violating Quarantine Takes Her Protest to Michigan

Hairstylist Shelley Luther
Hairstylist Shelley Luther
Screenshot: CBS News

Arguably, one of the qualities that constitute a “Karen” is their inability to know when or where to quit—their entitlement simply renders such discernment impossible. Take, for instance, Dallas hairstylist Shelley Luther, who was sentenced to seven days in jail earlier this month after defying her county’s stay-at-home order by reopening her salon for a week in late April. During her court appearance, in which Judge Eric Moyé told Luther outright that she was behaving selfishly, the salon owner refused his generous offer to simply apologize, forcing him to sentence her as punishment.


Apparently, Luther was undeterred by her time in prison. Or perhaps she was emboldened by the fact that Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott subsequently dropped jail as a punishment option for quarantine violations, setting the salon owner free after only 48 hours—after which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was one of her first customers. But instead of taking the “L” and hunkering down like many of the rest of us have been forced to, Luther has continued to be loud, wrong and potentially contagious. On Monday, she took her crusade out of state to lend her ill-advised support to Michigan barber Karl Manke, whose license was suspended by state regulators for cutting hair for more than a week during stay-at-home orders.


As CBS News reports, Luther also took the opportunity to verbally attack Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“Why does your governor think that it’s OK to open up for marijuana, liquor sales?” said Luther of the Democratic governor as she stood alongside Manke in the small Michigan town of Owosso. “Can’t you get an abortion? But you cannot get your hair cut. What is wrong?

“Stop being a tyrant,” Luther added, speaking directly to the already beleaguered Whitmer. “Open up. You don’t get this control. We control you. We have the power.”

“Gretchen, the state of Michigan will vote you out,” Luther—again, a Texan—added.


As CBS reminds us, Gov. Whitmer has been easing restrictions, not only releasing a plan to safely “re-engage” the state’s economy but announcing on Monday that she’ll allow the reopening of bars and restaurants as early as this Friday in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, which are among lesser-impacted areas of the state. Nevertheless, as of Tuesday, there are over 51,000 COVID diagnoses in Michigan with a death toll approaching 4,900, making it one of the most impacted states in the nation (as is Texas, with well over 47,000 known COVID-19 cases).

These basic yet crucial facts haven’t stopped protests in Michigan, as CBS notes: “Protesters, some bearing guns, have repeatedly traveled to the Capitol to demand the governor loosen a one-size-fits-all strategy. Republican lawmakers are suing Whitmer over her emergency declarations.”


Troublingly, Luther, in her newfound and ill-advised activism, was seemingly using Michigan’s turmoil to leverage her own position, telling an assembled crowd that she’d reopened to “pay bills, support her employees and offer much-needed services in a clean salon,” according to CBS. Meanwhile, she likely could’ve been doing all of the above in her home state; Gov. Abbott reopened most businesses on Monday.

Have we reminded everyone that you can be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19? (And by “everyone,” we mean you, Karen Shelley.)


“I’m sure she thought she was Rosa Parks, but really she’s Typhoid Mary.” —Genetta Adams, managing editor of The Root.

Updated: Tuesday, 5/19/20 at 7:15 p.m., ET: Thanks to our intrepid readers for reminding us exactly why Shelley Luther has the financial bandwidth to campaign for freedom in other states, instead of leading her so-called jeopardized salon: A GoFundMe she launched before choosing to violate Texas’ stay-at-home order garnered her over $500,000, and as of the publishing of this post, a second seemingly launched by a supporter already has over $2,000 in donations. We won’t be linking to either campaign here, but potentially and recklessly spreading COVID-19? Priceless.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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Like most conservatives, until it happens to them, they don’t care.


A Florida man who thought the coronavirus was “a fake crisis” has changed his mind after he and his wife contracted COVID-19.

Brian Hitchens, a rideshare driver who lives in Jupiter, downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus in Facebook posts in March and April.

Brian Hitchens.WPTV

“I’m honoring what our government says to do during this epidemic but I do not fear this virus because I know that my God is bigger than this Virus will ever be,” he wrote in a post on April 2. “Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

In mid-April, Hitchens, 46, began documenting his and his wife’s health on Facebook.

“Been home sick for over a week. Both my wife and I home sick,” he wrote in a post on April 18. “I’ve got no energy and all I want to do is sleep.”

A day later, Hitchens and his wife, Erin, were admitted to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Hitchens said in a Facebook post.