Los Angeles Mayor — and Biden Administration ambassadorial nominee — Eric Garcetti today defended his actions after maskless photos surfaced of him and Lakers great Magic Johnson, along with San Francisco Mayor London Breed, at SoFi Stadium last weekend for the NFC Championship game.
Johnson later tweeted a series of photos from the event featuring himself and a number of others in a luxury box overlooking the field. They included Garcetti, Breed and California Governor Gavin Newsom. None of them are wearing masks in the photos, despite a local public health officer order requiring attendees to wear masks at all times during so-called outdoor “mega events,” except when “actively eating or drinking.” Johnson is in a high risk group for Covid, given his HIV status and age.
Hanging out at SoFi Stadium today! pic.twitter.com/XfotiRLGz9
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 31, 2022
Today, at an afternoon press conference to go over safety and security for next week’s Super Bowl, which is also to be held at SoFi, Garcetti said he held his breath to take the photo.
“I’ll take personal responsibility,” said Garcetti in answer to a reporter’s question about the photos, “and if it makes you and everyone else happy — or even the photographs with people where literally I’m holding my breath for two seconds — I won’t even do that.”
Garcetti defended L.A.’s mask mandate because, he pointed out, the region is still experiencing a high rate of transmission.
See tweet below for a snippet of the mayor’s response today.
Eric Garcetti hopes you’re dumb enough to believe that he held his breath every single time he took his mask off at the Rams game. pic.twitter.com/r4FQeE24FY
— Kevin Dalton (@NextLAMayor) February 3, 2022
On Monday, a Garcetti spokesperson told ABC7, “He was wearing a mask at the game and removed it for a brief moment to take a few photos.”
Los Angeles County Public Health officials issued repeated reminders over the past two weeks that masks must be worn at such mega events, even at outdoor gatherings.
Newsom was asked about the photos on Monday. He indicated he only doffed his mask for the snapshot.
“You’re correct,” he said when asked about going maskless at SoFi. “I was very judicious yesterday. Very judicious. You’ll see the photo that I did take, Magic was kind enough, generous enough, to ask me for a photograph and in my left hand’s the mask and I took the photo. The rest of the time I wore it as we all should, um — not when I had a glass of water — and I encourage everybody else to do so. And, uh, that’s it.”
In the photo of the two which Johnson posted, however, there is no mask in Newsom’s left hand. The image could, of course, have been flipped before it was posted.
Asked if he should he have reconsidered taking off his mask, given his 2020 incident at the French Laundry, the governor responded, “Yes, of course. I was trying to be gracious. I made a mis — I was trying to be gracious. I took the mask off for a brief second but, no, I encourage people to continue to wear them.”
Footage shown during the game, however, seemed to tell a different story. It begins with a shot of a maskless Jessica Alba before cutting to a smiling Magic Johnson greeting a man who appears from the back to be the governor — similar height, similar trucker hat, similar navy blue fleece. The man walks up and moves to slap hands. Neither Johnson nor the man who approaches him are wearing masks. Other images of Newsom, sitting with and without a mask at the game, have surfaced since.
Jessica Alba, Magic Johnson & Leonardo DiCaprio at the game #nfl #LARams #49ers pic.twitter.com/3njIHlipjF
— Breaking Trends News (@breakingtrendsn) January 31, 2022
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