Pelosi’s stylist disputes salon owner’s claims it was not a 'setup'
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Nancy Pelosi's stylist is now weighing in on the controversy surrounding the Speaker of the House's visit to a San Francisco hair salon on Monday. In a lengthy statement, an attorney representing Jonathan DeNardo, claims: "The fact that Ms. Kious (the owner) is now objecting to Speaker Pelosi's presence at eSalon, and from a simple surface-level review of Ms. Kious' political leanings, it appears Ms. Kious is furthering a setup of Speaker Pelosi for her own vain aspirations."
Security footage, reported on FOX News, showed Pelosi with wet hair and with a mask pulled down to her neck, appearing to skirt the city's COVID-19 restrictions.
The lawyer claims Mr. DeNardo received approval from the salon's owner, Erica Kious, the day prior to the haircut. The statement says "Ms. Kious took special interest in the appointment during this telephone call, wherein she made several vitriolic and incendiary comments about Speaker Pelosi."
Kious released the video and in an interview with KTVU, explained why. “This is not about politics at all," said Kious. "This is about small businesses and people that have worked hard to build a life.”
Kious said she felt sick to her stomach after seeing the video. Pelosi said the business allowed her to come in and said she only took her mask off while her hair was getting washed. Kious says the salon has been closed since March.
DeNardo's attorney claims the salon has been operating illegally during the stay-at-home orders, as far back as April 2020. The lawyer claims to have video and photographs of Kious allegedly styling clients hair, ignoring social distancing guidelines and not wearing protective equipment. Also writing, "Ms. Kious has been actively encouraging and almost forcing stylists who operate at eSalon to violate such orders for her own financial benefit in the form of receiving lease payments."
Speaker Pelosi on Wednesday addressed the controversy surrounding the video of her recent visit to a San Francisco salon.
"I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I've been to over the years many times, and that when they said that we're able to accommodate people one person at a time and that we could set up that time, I trusted that," said Pelosi at an event focused on the pandemic's impact on education.
"As it turns out, it was a set up. So I take responsibility for falling for the set up," Pelosi said at a press conference in San Francisco.
"This salon owes me an apology," she added.
In San Francisco, face coverings are mandatory in most public settings. Salons may only cut hair outdoors under new rules that took effect on Tuesday.
Kious said Pelosi has been a client at the salon for seven years. “My stylists are self-employed, so they have a code at the door, so they can come and go as they please," said Kious. "I don’t really have authority over when they can and can’t go in.”
Kious emphatically denied this a was a setup. She said she decided to release the video, because she's frustrated the restrictions will likely force her to close for good, and feels like small businesses, especially salons have been abandoned by elected officials. “Look at your people, in your neighborhood, in your city, that have worked their lives to build what they have," an emotional Kious said in a plea to those leaders.
Pelosi didn't place any blame on the hairstylist and said the ordeal speaks to a larger issue.
"I have been inundated by people who are in the hair service industry saying 'thank you for calling attention to this. We need to get back to work,'" Pelosi said. "Many of them annoyed at the setup that was there for a purpose that has nothing to do with ending the [COVID-19] crisis."
Kious and other salon owners have argued they should be allowed to open because they're sanitary and safe, saying the speaker's actions prove that. “If she’s able to go in there and do that, why am I not able to have clients come in?" she asked.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed addressed the controversy and defended Pelosi during a video conference about a new face-covering initiative Wednesday afternoon. Breed said it's unfortunate the conversation gained so much traction and distracted people from the lack of federal leadership in the country.
"We have bigger issues as it relates to this country," the mayor said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for the hard work Nancy Pelosi does every single day to take care of this city and this county. That's what we should be focused on."