The San Francisco hair salon owner that was accused of "setting up" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week thanked supporters for their "outpouring" of support in a letter on Tuesday. A crowdfunding effort for Erica Kious surpassed its $300,000 on Monday, just six days after it began.
"I wish I could personally thank every person who sent me their prayers, words of encouragement and support, especially at a time when so many are struggling to make ends meet in their own lives," Kious wrote in a letter posted Tuesday by the host of the GoFundMe. She thanked her daughters, their "loving dad," and her family and friends.
The GoFundMe page claims to be set up by a friend of Kious and her family. It states, "At the conclusion of this fundraiser, ALL donations will go directly to Erica to pay off any debts from the business that she is forced to shut down, expenses to relocate and reopen in a new location."
Last week, Pelosi faced criticism after surveillance video surfaced of her visit to eSalon on Union Street in San Francisco, where she was seen inside without a mask on – which violated health guidelines in the city during the coronavirus pandemic. Pelosi responded to the video, calling the visit a "setup."
Kious denied the claim, while Pelosi's hairstylist backed it. The video was widely shared on social media, where Pelosi received backlash.
Salons in San Francisco were allowed to start reopening a day after Pelosi's visit for outdoor service, according to the city's health department. Face masks are always required during approved services and more generally required citywide when social distancing can't be maintained.
After Pelosi said the salon owed her "an apology for setting [me] up," Kious said the accusation was "absolutely false," claiming she has had her surveillance cameras for five years and adding that Pelosi's stylist is an independent contractor renting space in the salon. Kious received support after saying she had been getting threats and is thinking of relocating her business.
"I am very humbled and grateful to have received such an outpouring of kindness, empathy and generosity from people I don't even know, and from all walks of life and all sides of the political spectrum," she said in the letter. "It's a powerful reminder that the common things that bind us all together as Americans are far more meaningful and lasting than political and ideological differences that get so much attention and focus."
"Today, on Labor Day, we should all focus on celebrating the efforts and achievements of hard-working people everywhere," she continued. "They deserve our respect and appreciation, and they definitely all deserve an opportunity to get back to work safely and responsibly. That is all this ever was about."