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Highland Park Has a Yoga Studio Open to Anti-Vaxxers

Anna Merlan/Twitter

A Highland Park yoga studio is drawing Bikram levels of heat for the anti-vax sentiment posted in its window this week.

"Come In! All are welcome. Based on your medical privacy, we don't participate in discrimination or segregation," the small square of white paper reads at Kinship Studio on Figueroa Street.

The sign was pointed out on Twitter by Anna Merlan, a senior staff writer at Vice and author of "Republic of Lies," a non-fiction book that looks into the rise of conspiracy theories in the U.S.

Her post of the sign comes just over two months since the journalist spotted a copy of a book smearing adorable Dr. Anthony Fauci in its window, written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a famous anti-vaxer who recently made astoundingly offensive comments about vaccine mandates littered with comparisons to Nazi Germany.

The post is followed by comments from critics and former attendees who have apparently been turned off from striking any more warrior poses at a place where breathing communal oxygen is built-in to the experience.

"Oh. I went there once and was surprised that everyone immediately took their masks off once in the studio," wrote Juliet Bennet Rylah, an editor at The Hustle and the recently unmasked "Target Husk."

"I saw this and have not gone back," wrote documentary filmmaker Gina Pollack.

"It would be awful if someone who knew they were covid positive took classes there," posted Cynfulfan.

But before anyone screams "lying liberal media feedback loop," it should be noted that this isn't the first time Kinship has drawn controversy.

An L.A. TACO story in 2020, published shortly before we retreated into our quarantine caves, covered a donation-based yoga class offered by an Indigenous woman from Mexico, which noted how the studio had drawn the ire of anti-gentrification activists. Shortly thereafter, an extensive post on Medium (which was later reposted with apologies for its included racism) singled out the studio for sexist and racially harmful comments allegedly made by the studio's owner, among other accusations. And we can never forget when the yoga studio appeared on a date on ABC's The Bachelor

The anti-vax movement is where right-wing nut-bags and crunchy left-leaners meet to mingle and spread disinformation in the Coronavirus Venn diagram.

So, naturally, the conflict has gravitated to Yelp, where business reviews are often based more upon personal biases than one's individual experience. For its anti-mandate stance, the studio is drawing both positive and negative reviews, depending on which vaccine point-of-view the submitter adheres to.

"Great classes, great instructors, but not serious about Covid. They even have an anti-Fauci sign in their front window now. It's so sad that some in the yoga community have fallen for the disinformation on vaccines. I've taken my business to a nearby studio that is proudly PRO science!" wrote a one-time fan who gave it five stars in 2019.

"I AM LIVING FOR ALL THE SHEEPLE Up in these reviews. Natural immunity IS SCIENCE and should be followed first but isn't because "VaCiNeS wOrK"... no they don't, They make you sick and weak... if you are living in FEAR of Covid, do EVERYONE A FAVOR AND STAY HOME... Go get your 9th booster shot and layer your 10 masks and leave your brainwashed, unenlightened reviews off this yelp page. Can't wait to come and meet the staff on friday!!" writes a newer devotee.

And there you have it in a (potentially allergenic) nutshell.

For years, anti-vaxxers were more likely to be found cruising the aisles of your closest co-op for kale than standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some asshole sporting a Hitler mustache and a "Let's Go Brandon" patch. But such is the world we live in today.

At least the people who are not with mandates now have a little corner of their own to practice their poses instead of causing drama elsewhere while the studio is making plain that those who are wisely being immunized might want to downward "sheeple" elsewhere.

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