Video of Kirk Cameron maskless caroling event in Thousand Oaks

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- Wearing a red hat and white Santa beard - but no mask - actor Kirk Cameron and dozens of maskless singers performed Christmas carols at a Thousand Oaks mall even as mall management said the "irresponsible" event was not authorized.

The event, pitched as a "peaceful protest," was held even as health officials throughout the region issued urgent pleas for the public to not gather in groups and to wear masks at all times while outside the home.

About 100 people gathered in the parking lot at The Oaks mall, few if any wearing masks or practicing social distancing. In fact, there was even a table set up claiming people could obtain "mask exempt badges here."

Immunologists have noted that singing is a very efficient way to spread aerosolized particles that can carry the coronavirus. One of the nation's first "super spreader" events was a church choir practice in Washington state in early March. More than 50 at that event became infected with the virus and two died.

Ironically, Cameron's event was held next to a COVID-19 testing site.

There wasn't only singing at the event. There was some shouting too. At least one protester, wearing a mask, loudly expressed his displeasure with the maskless group saying they were putting others at risk.

Cameron, the "Growing Pains" actor-turned-evangelist, attended the event after returning from a trip to South Florida with his son James. The actor posted pictures indicating they had attended an event at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Officials with The Oaks said the "irresponsible" event was not authorized by the mall and they requested it be moved.

"The event occurring at The Oaks at this moment is a non-sanctioned event," mall officials said.

"We continue to share our community's concerns over these irresponsible - yet constitutionally protected - events and have law enforcement on property. We reached out to the organizer to ask that the event be moved."

This is at least the second event hosted by Cameron. One of his earlier events was subject to criticism for contributing to the spread of coronavirus.

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Actor Kirk Cameron is facing criticism after hosting a gathering of carolers in Ventura County with few people wearing masks in the middle of a massive COVID-19 surge.


After that first event was held, Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Pena commented: "Liberty and freedom are very fragile and they come with great responsibility. Continuing to hold large gatherings and ignoring all guidelines, I feel, is un-Christian."

In an invitation to Tuesday's event, Cameron referred to it as a "peaceful protest."

"Let your voice be heard at this peaceful protest praising the Prince of Peace," Cameron wrote on social media.

Ventura County has recorded more than 200 deaths since the start of the pandemic and more than 31,000 total cases. The county reported 2,049 new cases on Monday alone.

There are more than 300 patients now hospitalized for COVID-19 in Ventura County, with 68 in the ICU.

Ventura County health officials, like their counterparts across the state, have been urging the public to not gather with groups outside their own household and to wear masks at all times when outside the home.

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"Our heroes wear masks! Shout out to the first responders in the ICU working 24/7 to serve our community," county officials said in a COVID-19 update sent out this week.

"Thank you, Ventura County, for helping them out by masking up, social distancing and not gathering during this critical time. Let's save lives and save businesses by bringing down the numbers."
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