The private lab in Aspen, Colorado that denied political commentator Candace Owens a COVID-19 test earlier this week due to her conservative politics, has reportedly been inundated with angry phone calls, and is now in “crisis management” mode.
The controversy erupted Wednesday, after Owens posted on Twitter and Instagram the hostile letter she received from Suzanna Lee, the co-owner of Aspen COVID Testing, telling her that her appointment had been canceled.
Just finished my live on Instagram here: https://t.co/lPjhqVYaGO
As promised— here is the email from the rabid activist declining to give me a test, plus my response to her. She clearly isn’t stable enough to work in health and is a danger to the Aspen community. pic.twitter.com/nV7xMGqVN3
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) September 2, 2021
“We cannot support anyone who has pro-actively worked to make this pandemic worse by spreading misinformation, politicizing and DISCOURAGING the wearing of masks and actively dissuading people from receiving life-saving vaccinations,” Lee wrote.
The owner of Aspen COVID Testing went on to spitefully inform the pro-life Owens that her only other option in town would be an unsuitable “back alley” situation.
“The only other testing option is the free kiosk by city hall. They mail their tests to Texas, and have inconsistent result times, do not take appointments so it’s walk-in only midday weekly in their back alleys,” Lee said.
She concluded: My team has worked overtime, to exhaustion, unpaid, and underpaid, this past year, spending our own capital to ensure that our community remains protected. It would be unfair to them, and to the sacrifices we have all made this year to serve you.”
“So she was willing to let me wander in her community unvaxxed, untested, and without a means to test—why?” Owens wrote. Because she isn’t afraid. None of you are.”
Owens wrote in her response: “I wanted to let you know that this might objectively be the most hilarious email I have ever received in my life. Truly, I’ve never laughed harder.”
Nothing screams ‘this virus isn’t political’ quite like Googling the names of the people who book tests with you and determining on a case-by-case basis whether or not you will let them comply with your community Covid measures,” Owens snapped back.
Nothing screams ‘I love my local community’ quite like refusing to test people who are going to a local event and wish to ensure they are negative and therefore do not spread the virus.
That nobody stopped you from hitting ‘send’ on such an emotionally unstable and hysterical email leads me to believe that the people who work for you must love me, and therefore never deny me this entrainment,” Owens said.
It’s hard to pick just one, but I think the best part of your virtue-signaling rant is the arrogant assumption that you’re the only person who can administer a Covid test from here to Texas. LOL.
Owens stressed on Twitter that she didn’t have a problem with a private business owner denying her service.
“I actually love that she did it. It proves to the world that the Left is not afraid of Covid or people that are walking around their neighborhoods unvaxxed,” she tweeted. “It’s all a political farce.”
In a subsequent tweet, Owens blasted what she called the “circular stupidity” of the totalitarian left.
“They Left wants to MANDATE that the unvaccinated keep getting tests. Then when we comply with their MANDATES, they want the right to decline us, she wrote. “I cannot comprehend this level of circular stupidity. WE DONT WANT TO TEST. WE ARE BEING FORCED TO IN ORDER TO TRAVEL, WORK, ETC.”
Lee told the Aspen Times that she stood by her decision to deny Owens a test, claiming the political commentator was a risk to her staff because she had sought the test through the company’s concierge service.
“We stand behind our staff and we’re not sending them to someone’s hotel room when they don’t feel safe,” Lee said.
Owens reacted to Lee’s assertions on Instagram Thursday night, saying that she was never staying at a hotel in Aspen. “Suzanna Lee is crazy,” Owens said. “She is sick in the head.”
The conservative told the Aspen Times that she believes a private company has every right to turn away business, but was questioned the call because of the health issues at play.
“She is a private business owner,” Owens said. “She does have a right to decline to give me service, and that’s not what the issue is here. I want that to be very clear. Assuming that she has not accepted any state or federal funding, assuming that she truly is a private-business owner, then she has every right to discriminate against who she serves. But it should be noted that she was seeking to prevent me from keeping the Aspen community safe.”
Lee told the Aspen paper that her testing business is private and “hasn’t received any public dollars at the local, state or federal levels.”
Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock confirmed Aspen COVID Testing receives no local or state funding.
“We feel unbelievably good about what we do,” Flanagan said. “We do not discriminate, and we do not pick and choose who we do and don’t test. Our patients come from every walk of life and every political affiliation.”
Owens, however, tweeted on Thursday that she had learned the facility receives both state and federal funding.
“The situation is currently being escalated to the HHS [Health and Human Services], she wrote. “Stay tuned.”
UPDATE. It turns out the facility that rejected my ability to take a Covid test receives both state and federal funding.
So no— she had NO RIGHT to deny me a covid test when my taxes go toward her operations
This situation is currently being escalated to the HHS.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) September 2, 2021
Owens, however, said the letter sent the message that keeping the community safe is tied to politics.
“And in this particular regard, irrespective of what you think about my stance on vaccinations, I’m following COVID measures in Aspen,” she said. “I’m following COVID measures when I go to venues, when I go to events. I’m listening to what people want done. So if her goal is to keep the Aspen community safe … shouldn’t you say this a good thing that unvaccinated people are at least being responsible to make sure that they’re not spreading the virus?”
Lee confided to the Times that she is employing “crisis management” to deal with the ensuing controversy, and has had to hire extra phone operators to take calls from people upset with her decision to deny a conservative black women a Covid test.
“It’s been horrible,” she said. “My inbox has been inundated with nasty, horrible messages.”
She told the Aspen paper that she had contacted the police because the calls made her feel threatened.
Owens said she regularly gets tested because she travels often, but her experience in Aspen was a first.
“Never,” she said. “I’ve been tested from Croatia to London. This has never happened. Ever. Actually, you would think health care would be free from politics. And actually what’s she doing is actually giving us fire and fuel, and when I say ‘us,’ I’m talking about us who feel that this virus has been politicized. You’re proving that it’s politicized. … This should have been, ‘OK, I hate you, Candace, but I’m glad you are at least doing the right thing and making sure that your are keeping the community and ensuring you don’t have COVID.’“
She discussed the situation with Tucker Carlson Thursday night on Fox News.
Carlson pointed out: “If I show up from a foreign country, I’m not a citizen, and I’m in the United States illegally, and I arrive at an emergency room, it is a federal law that I cannot be denied medical care.” he added: “How is it legal for some clinic in Colorado, I think, to say ‘we’re not going to give you medical care because we don’t like your politics?’ Is that illegal?”
Owens said that she’s heard from a lot of people who have told her it’s not legal, and also that it’s “likely” Aspen COVID Testing received state or federal funding in order to maintain its business.