“Only part of the snitches in Arlington County,” Loposser wrote. “If y’all want to try to destroy businesses via the health department, we will make sure your name, email, phone numbers and addresses are well known to activists who want to peacefully protest you.”
In response to other commenters who supported the effort to report violations to the health department, he added: “The board and any Nazis who want to support this can pound sand.”
Conflicts between those who believe masks and physical distancing are necessary to battle the coronavirus, and those who consider them an unneeded government intrusion, have sprung up throughout the nation as Americans tire of the pandemic.
The heavily Democratic community of Arlington reacted angrily to Loposser’s messages, with the founder of the Facebook group, Kellen MacBeth, saying Loposser had ignored rules of respect and civility that are required for membership.
“Andrew was removed from the group and blocked and his comments were deleted for violating every rule that we have in the group,” MacBeth said.
Loposser, who runs a political consulting business, also works as a legislative assistant to Del. Michael J. Webert (R-Fauquier). He said complaining about lack of enforcement could be harmful both to struggling restaurants and retail shops and their low-paid employees.
“The small businesses have a hard enough time recovering” from the prolonged coronavirus shutdown, he said. “Having a minimum-wage guy trying to enforce a mask rule is just too much. . . . We’re putting them in danger.”
More than 23,000 complaints from across the state have been logged by the Virginia Department of Health’s online complaint portal since it opened June 14; all the information there is accessible to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
The moderator of the Arlington neighbors’ Facebook group, Joshua Farrar, said that shortly after he deleted Loposser’s posts and banned him, someone uploaded the same information about people who had made complaints to an Arlington Reddit thread.
The information was soon removed, and the account that posted them was deleted, Farrar said.
That Reddit post was titled “The Karens of Virginia exposed,” and the anonymous writer accused complainants of “filing abusive complaints against struggling businesses.” The term “Karen” is a pejorative term that refers to privileged white women who demand their own way.
Loposser said he did not post the item on Reddit. He was indifferent to being ousted from the Facebook group. “Facebook doesn’t really run my life,” he said.
This story has been updated with a new headline.