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House leadership bans Arizona man who harassed mask-wearers

Published: Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 6:05pm
Updated: Friday, January 28, 2022 - 8:28am

A man was banned from the Arizona House of Representatives after asking House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, who’s Black, why Bolding was wearing a “slave muzzle.”

Bolding, who was wearing a face mask inside the third-floor lobby of the House, was approached Wednesday by Ethan Schmidt, the self-proclaimed leader of the Antimaskers Club, who filmed the encounter.

“Why are you wearing a slave muzzle, man?” Schmidt asked Bolding repeatedly.

In that video, shared by the Twitter account “AZ Right Wing Watch,” Schmidt also harassed four other individuals in the lobby who were all wearing masks.

Bolding, who did not engage with Schmidt and later flagged him for House security, later tweeted about the incident.

“This was a first and should never happen again to anyone, anywhere,” he wrote. “After visiting w/ teachers I exited an elevator to a camera pointed at me by a man asking ‘Why are you wearing a slave muzzle?’ This blatant racism has no place in the people’s House.”

A spokesman for House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) said Schmidt was banned from the chamber after Bowers learned of his behavior.

“The hateful and reprehensible behavior exhibited by this individual toward our members, staff, and the public violated the rules of decorum and it will absolutely not be tolerated in the House,” spokesman Andrew Wilder said.

Schmidt appeared to be at the Capitol for a rally with the Patriot Party, an organization that failed to be recognized as an official party in Arizona late last year.