'Feeding My Kids is Not Selfish': Salon Owner Sentenced to Jail After Opening Amid Shutdown

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Posted: May 05, 2020 8:40 PM
'Feeding My Kids is Not Selfish': Salon Owner Sentenced to Jail After Opening Amid Shutdown

Source: JANIFEST/iStock/Getty Images Plus

A hair salon owner in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday received a week-long jail sentence and a $7,000 fine for defying county orders and opening her salon for business. Salon a la Mode owner Shelley Luther was given the option in court to avoid her jail sentence by apologizing for the "selfish" behavior displayed by opening her doors and putting her employees back to work. She declined. 

Judge Eric Moye asked Luther to apologize and vow to close her salon "today," in order to avoid the seven-day sentence that he just handed down to her. Her apology, he said, would include a statement that Luther understands "that the society cannot function where one's own belief in the concept of liberty permits you flaunt your disdain for the rulings of duly elected officials."

"You owe an apology to the elected officials whom you disrespected by flagrantly ignoring and, in one case, defiling, their orders, which you now know obviously applied to you," Moye continued. He detailed her disrespect in choosing to open her business and called her actions "selfish," as she ignored multiple public and individual mandates to cease business at her salon. 

"I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish," Luther said. "I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they'd rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I'm not going to shut the salon." After Luther's refusal to parrot the judge's suggestion for a groveling apology and refusal to, once again, put her employees out of work, the court bailiff took Luther away. 

The sentence for Luther was handed down just days after Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that hair and salons can reopen for business on Friday as long as workers and patrons follow socially distancing guidelines and wear masks. Luther said her salon always followed strict cleanliness guidelines and mask-wearing following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas.

Luther's current $7,000 fine consists of two $500 fees per day of defiance from the last order she received to close her salon. The judge ruled on Tuesday that she will continue to pay $1,000 per day until May 8, when salons across the state will be permitted to open once again. 

"I’m not closing,” she said last month after being told she was acting in defiance of the court. “Because all of the small business owners need to have some sort of voice, and we need to stand up for what’s right or we’ll continue to get our freedom taken away." By the end of April, Luther had already missed a mortgage payment and had nearly two dozen employees out of work. 

A petition to have Gov. Abbott (R) pardon Shelley Luther from her jail sentence was already circulating by Tuesday evening. A Go Fund Me fundraiser was also set up to help Luther with the legal costs and fines associated with her ordeal. 

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