Shiva Bagheri was holding a sign reading “Keep America Free” with her left hand as she pointed with her right hand at a woman who was walking with a young boy in a procession to mark National Walk to School Day last week.
“He’s going to be traumatized because you put that mask on him and you don’t tell him to breathe through it,” Bagheri can be heard saying in a video of the encounter outside a Beverly Hills school.
The woman quickened her pace and sought to just continue on. But Bagheri was not done using her freedom of speech to berate the woman with a lie.
“You’re traumatizing him!” Bagheri said.
The woman reached a limit. She turned back to Bagheri.
“That’s my choice,” the woman said. “You better respect my choice, too.”
“No, no, you’re propagandizing, you’re not being told the truth,” Bagheri replied.
The boy bowed his head and clapped both hands over his ears. As the woman swept him up in her arms, he turned his head away from Bagheri.
“You're scaring your kid by yelling,” Bagheri said, exhibiting simultaneous delusion and denial.
Bagheri kept at it as she neared the school entrance and stood with a dozen fellow protesters. Also present were a number of uniformed Beverly Hills cops who had apparently decided they could do nothing to stop what now became unacceptable.
“You should choose what goes on your children’s face and in your children’s body,” Bagheri called out to the parents and kids.
She then actually said, "This is rape. This is rape. They're trying to rape our children with this poison....”
Bagheri, who later told The Daily Beast that her child attends the school, is a familiar figure from numerous other viral videos of anti-mask, anti-vaccine protests she says she organized as part of a divine mission.
“From God,” she told The Daily Beast.
Even before she began shouting about rape to schoolchildren, Bagheri had become notorious, having been sentenced to community service for illegal “freedom” rallies and caught on video punching a cancer patient at one of her protests.
After the harassment outside Hawthorne Elementary School on Wednesday, one can only wonder: What in God’s name is next?
Bagheri says her alleged activism began after she and her daughter contracted COVID-19 in February 2020. Her child only experienced one manifest symptom—“My daughter threw up all over my car,” she said—but Bagheri’s heart raced and her sense of taste was altered.
“My heart was like BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” she recalled. “To this day, I’ve got a metallic taste to my food I never had before. It’s bizarre.”
Just as bizarre: The experience did not convince Bagheri of the seriousness of COVID. Instead, the dog-walker and dance instructor began her own investigation of the virus.
“I did a lot of research,” she said.
Bagheri already held a Trumpian view of the media and ascribed to various conspiracy theories involving the CIA and mass brainwashing. She now entered an online realm peopled by self-proclaimed experts who declared that the pandemic was a scam and that mask mandates were an assault on freedom itself and it was all part of some huge conspiracy involving Big Pharma and the CIA.
In June 2020, she began holding regular “Beverly Hills Freedom” rallies. The first few were at Burger Lounge. She then moved them to the park that features the iconic Beverly Hills sign. The city came to view the events as an annoyance and she received three misdemeanor summons for organizing gatherings without a permit and eventually entered into a plea deal where she received 20 days community service and pledged not to organize any other gatherings without a permit.
She also led flash mobs into businesses that require masks in keeping with city and state health orders. Several patrons in a Beverly Boulevard supermarket reported feeling terrorized after she stampeded through with a barefaced group.
“The masks do nothing!” Bagheri declared at the market, wearing a red MAGA hat. “That’s why you can wear anything! I don’t wear underwear over my face! I’ll pull off my underwear right now and put them over my face.”
This past June, Bagheri was a lead protester outside Cedars-Sinai Breast Health Services because, like any cancer clinic, it requires masks. Somebody reached out to push away a megaphone through which Bagheri was amplifying untruths. Bagheri started after the person and a cancer patient named Kate Burns tried to block Bagheri with her shoulder. Bagheri says she was only reacting to being assaulted and defending herself when she punched Burns. Burns was also hit with bear spray produced by another protester.
“Yep—I am the cancer patient—maced and hit twice in my surgery scar… this IS the bad place ,” Burns later tweeted.
Bagheri has expanded her original anti-mask protests to now include COVID vaccines, but says she is not against other immunizations that she and her child have received.
“It’s only this one,” she said.
Her haranguing of parents and children outside Hawthorne Elementary seemed to mark a new frontier in her frenzied efforts to stop people from doing the very things that can stop the pandemic and save lives. It came as schools have become a flashpoint for the increasingly unhinged COVID denialists.
The video shows an unleashed puppy scampering in front of Bagheri with a youngster in pursuit. A uniformed cop in a white motorcycle helmet turned and reflexively stepped in to assist, but then stopped. No reflex prompted him to interfere as Bagheri continued on, untempered by the metallic COVID taste still in her mouth.
“...They’re going to rape their lives away."
Parents and kids seemed to work at ignoring Bagheri as they proceeded into the school—where everyone is required to wear masks and where the unvaccinated are tested weekly.
“No mandates for your children!” Bagheri said. “Big Pharma, take your hands off our children.”
The principal, Sarah Kaber, later told The Daily Beast in a statement, “At Hawthorne, our school values are Honorable, Engaged, Responsible, and Open-Minded. On Wednesday at our school assembly, I shared with all of our students and staff that although we fully believe in being Open-Minded about our opinions and feelings, some of the grownups were not so Honorable in the way they expressed them. Some students felt scared and upset. Those feelings are absolutely valid, our students must feel safe to be able to come to school.”
The school’s counseling staff visited every class.
“We will continue to be in dialogue with [the students] over the coming days and weeks,” Kaber said.
The superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, Michael Bregy, said in a statement that he was “was gravely disappointed in the events that unfolded” during the National Walk to School Day.
“The behavior exhibited by grown adults is nothing short of atrocious. Intimidating our youngest members of society, threatening students, and making them feel unsafe is unacceptable.”
He went on, “Unfortunately, BHUSD does not have any authority outside of the school campus. The disruption of peaceful conduct on the sidewalk or public way adjacent to school buildings is where we place our trust in the jurisdiction of the Beverly Hills Police Department. BHUSD will exhaust every possible legal remedy available to us to ensure this never happens again.’
Bagheri is almost certain to continue her protests, which have become a focus of her life. She was previously a dance and fitness instructor and a dog-walker, but the pandemic all but ended that.
“I’ve been cleaning toilets lately,” she told The Daily Beast.
Asked about the child she frightened outside Hawthorne Elementary, Bagheri said it was all the mother’s fault. Never mind that the video shows the mother had been peacefully walking hand in hand with her son when Bagheri pointed at her from a crowd of protesters and aggressively accused her of traumatizing the boy. Never mind that it caused him to clamp his hands over his ears before his mother protectively swept him up in her arms.
“She was the one freaking out,” Bagheri insisted. “I was more calm than she was. She was yelling and freaking out. She was scaring her kid..”
Bagheri then complained that some of the parents at Hawthorne called her a murderer.
“I don’t know a single person who died of COVID,” she said. “If I’m a murderer, I should know who I murdered. That’s how sick this is.”
Bagheri thereby proved herself so sick that she can dismiss more than 700,000 deaths from COVID in America alone, with many more sure to come, in part because of misinformation of the kind she spreads. She can cite freedom of speech when spreading lies on picket signs. But she is not free to use social media to spread potentially deadly falsehoods.
Facebook made that clear with a notice she received on Thursday, coincidentally or not the day after the bullying of moms and kids outside Hawthorne:
We suspended your account
ON OCT 7, 2021
Some of your previous posts or comments didn’t follow our Community Standards. Your account isn’t visible to people on Facebook and you can’t use it.
She told The Daily Beast that she figures she is permanently banned.
“I know it was just a matter of time there,” she said.
She reported that some of her fellow protesters are growing weary.
“They get discouraged,” she said.
But not her. Bagheri says she is determined to keep on protesting even as thousands more will die unnecessarily because they shun masks and vaccines.
God help us all.