As if the devastating fires taking lives and ruining homes in California weren’t enough, people are now dealing with looters capitalizing on evacuated or burned-down houses. That includes celebrities.
Singer Pink‘s husband Carey Hart‘s post — warning looters in Malibu, the location of the Woolsey Fire, that they “will be shot on” sight — has gone viral. The photo, of armed men calling themselves the “PDC Posse,” some wearing bandanas or masks while waving guns, has been controversial. There are of course supporters (Second Amendment!), but many are rightly questioning it. “You’re willing to shoot to kill people over your material ‘valuables’?” one commenter wrote to the retired motocross star. “You sound like you’re actually dumber than the looters! I could see if you were protecting lives, but you have a gang of masked men with guns ready to kill over your insured possessions?!”
Pink, Hart and their two children were evacuated from their beachside home, which was spared during the fire. Generally, many residents who fled haven’t returned — and security systems aren’t working because there are power outages — so looters are taking advantage of the many multimillion-dollar mansions that are easy to gain access to.
Being in the thick of it gives a different perspective though. Shannen Doherty — who has been in Malibu to protect her house, which was spared, and help neighbors who weren’t as lucky (her friend’s home, where she was married, was charred) — posted an image on social media that was either the same or along those lines as Hart’s. She later deleted it after a similar debate broke out in the comments and apologized for sending the wrong message with a gun picture.
“If I offended anyone with my last post, which I deleted, I apologize,” the Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed actress said on her Instagram Stories. “I’m overly tired. I’m exhausted. I may not of used the best judgement.”
She continued, “Let me be clear — I do not like guns. I don’t like the idea that a bunch of people have guns. I don’t like the idea of shootings. I don’t like mass shootings. I also don’t like looters. And I don’t think it’s OK to pick through the remains of someone’s house. But I would also appreciate this not being turned into anybody’s political agenda. And please don’t assume you know what my beliefs or my politics are because you don’t. I keep those very private. I will say that I’m extremely stressed. I’ve been in Malibu trying to protect my house and checking on my neighbors and seeing many of my friend’s homes just completely destroyed.”
Doherty, who has been recovering from breast cancer, has been “trying to fight for my house” but last night decamped to a hotel with friends whose homes did burn as well and her mother, who was evacuated from another L.A. neighborhood. She explained that the brief break was much-needed. “The smoke is so bad. The air quality is terrible,” Doherty said. “Recovering from cancer, I felt like my lungs had taken enough smoke in.” She planned to return in the morning by boat with supplies.
Star Trek actor Brent Spiner thanked his friends who came in by boat to help protect his property from looters.
Thanks to friends in Malibu who stayed behind and came in by boat to help protect our properties from fire and looters.
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) November 13, 2018
Authorities have said they have a “zero tolerance” policy for looters — and more than 300 officers have been dispatched to guard the evacuation zones in L.A. and Ventura County. There have been arrests, including in Paradise, the location of Camp Fire. There are reports that some looters have been dressed as forest service workers or first responders. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department advised people not to post their addresses on social media.
— LASD Lost Hills Stn. (@LHSLASD) November 12, 2018
And some are taking matters into their own hands — not with gun-toting local gangs but with armed security. That’s what is being done to protect The Bachelor house. The manse was spared in the fire (a second building on the property, used by show producers, burned), but the owners have armed security guards in place around the clock to keep looters away until the security system is working again.
Ireland Baldwin, daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, learned first-hand how seriously authorities are dealing with potential looters. While trying to get to her home there, she said that she was refused entry because she didn’t have an ID with her Malibu address. During the exchange, Baldwin claimed that an officer suggested she was a looter.
Not only was he a dick, but he had 0 compassion and he literally accused us of being looters and threatened us that we were going to be arrested if we kept giving him trouble.
— Ireland Baldwin (@ScotlandBaldwin) November 11, 2018
And she was still angry about it days later.
A lot of officers did they job and told me I couldn’t go through without ID because of looting and what’s going on… this officer spoke to me and MANY OTHERS in a scary disrespectful way https://t.co/7hm76yodQL
— Ireland Baldwin (@ScotlandBaldwin) November 13, 2018
But Baldwin noted that it’s an emotional time for people like her who call the area home. She also revealed that her mother’s home was among those “lost.”
There has been so much damage during the past week, with 50 people confirmed dead statewide, thousands still evacuated, wildlife decimated, and some communities destroyed. The Woolsey Fire, which spread across 97,620 acres, is now 47 percent contained; the Camp Fire has burned 135,000 acres and is now 35 percent contained. Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Neil Young and Daryl Hannah, Camille Grammer, and Gerard Butler were among the Hollywooders who also lost their homes. Butler described the area as a “war zone.” Grammer equated it to the “Apocalypse.”
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
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- Patton Oswalt praises James Woods’s wildfire tweets, saying he’s ‘saved lives’ both ‘human AND animal’
- Jada Pinkett Smith discusses ‘white female superiority’ on latest show: ‘Many white women have made it clear that they believe they are prettier, smarter’