You may recall our story last month regarding Chrome Artistic Barbering owner Alicia Hirter and her employee, Carla DeFabio. This dynamic duo reimagined their St. Catharines, Ont., barbershop as a film production studio. And so, too, did nearby Evolution Salon & Spa, operated by Dennis and Lisa Cosentino.
Why? Well, since Chrome is no longer a barbershop (meaning it would have to remain locked-down), this facility is instead offering auditions. And like any good film production studio, a haircut is provided as part of an audition. So, these days at Chrome, it’s: “Lights! Cameras! Scissors!”
Better yet, Alicia notes, “We have followed the safety plan outlined [by] the Ontario Film Commission and [are] complying with our local bylaws and honouring exceptions.”
And after conversing with a bylaw officer with the City of St. Catharines several weeks ago, Alicia says the officer agreed that she is operating by the book (or, at the very least, she's discovered a valid loophole that allowed her to reopen).
Best of all for Alicia, business was booming: Chrome was soon booked solid until March!
So, a story with a happy ending during such a gloomy period, right? Wrong.
This saga soon took a dark twist when Alicia began receiving publicity.
For starters, it seems that the city is no longer so bullish on allowing film production studios to operate (unless, of course, those studios are big-budget Hollywood studios on location in the Great White North).
As well, bylaw enforcement officers from Niagara Region continue to harass both Chrome and Evolution.
And the pile-on gets worse. Alicia has been subjected to online harassment from a bizarre pro-lockdown group that appears to be made up of drag queens and transexuals. And this group is extremely malicious: its members have booked false appointments and pestered the reservations app Alicia uses, Resurva, to such a degree that Resurva actually de-platformed Alicia, due to the hassle it was receiving!
Alicia has also received anonymous phone calls by people saying they are going to kill her. You read that correctly: an entrepreneur just trying to make a living and provide a service to appreciative clients is being targeted with death threats by the loving, tolerant folk who support the government locking down the economy. (Alicia has reached out to police about these death threats, but they don’t seem very gung-ho about pursuing her complaint, for whatever reason.)
And, of course, both Alicia and the Cosentinos have received fines from bylaw enforcement. This harassment made both film production studios shut down recently for about 10 days, but they are now fighting back and are back in business. Hey, who doesn’t like a story about underdogs making a comeback?
Needless to say, these entrepreneurs are not going to fight this injustice by themselves. Rebel News is representing both of them through our Fight the Fines program. And if you would like to help out by contributing to their legal fees, kindly visit www.FightTheFines.com and make a donation. Please help us take a stand against such outrageous bullying directed at people who are just trying to survive.