Fox News host Sean Hannity was so impressed on Wednesday by jailed Texas salon owner Shelley Luther’s refusal to apologize for keeping her business open despite a statewide stay-at-home order that he directly compared her to the Scottish folk hero that Mel Gibson portrayed in the movie Braveheart.
Luther was found guilty on Tuesday of civil and criminal contempt for ignoring a temporary restraining order that prohibited her from operating her salon, which she kept open in violation of the state’s coronavirus protection orders.
Judge Eric Moye called her “selfish” for the move but told her he’d consider just issuing a fine if she’d apologize and agree to keep her salons closed until Friday, when the state allows hair salons to reopen. She refused to do so, resulting in a 7-day sentence and a $7,000 fine.
“I have to disagree with you sir, when you say that I'm selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish,” she responded. “I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they'd rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed then please go ahead with your decision but I'm not going to shut the salon.”
During his Fox News primetime broadcast on Wednesday night, Hannity brought on Luther’s boyfriend, Tim Georgeff, to discuss her case, which has quickly become a cause celebre among conservatives. After Georgeff said he knew his girlfriend wouldn’t back down after the judge said the word “selfish,” Hannity jumped in to make his movie reference.
“Yeah. In a weird way, it’s obviously not quite the same thing, but remember the scene in Braveheart?” Hannity proclaimed. “‘The prisoner wants to say a word!’ Remember that, the end of the movie?!”
“And then, Mel Gibson, what does he scream out? Freedom, at the top of his lungs,” the Fox host added.
The scene in question features Gibson’s character William Wallace being tortured by a magistrate after England has condemned him to death for high treason. The magistrate offers to provide him a quick death if he just says “mercy,” only for Wallace to refuse, eventually shouting out “freedom” while being disemboweled.
Later on in the interview, Hannity told Georgeff that he was willing to pay Luther’s fine, only to find out that he was too late as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had already paid the fine.