A Southern California city council candidate was fired from her day job and is receiving death threats after she posted a video in which she told a woman that it was “very disrespectful” to have a Mexican flag on her front lawn.
Tressy Capps, a political activist from California’s Inland Empire, filmed a video on her smartphone of her approaching a homeowner about the Mexican flag fluttering in front of her home. She asked the woman to take it down.
“Hi. Is that a Mexican flag in your front yard?” Capps asks the homeowner, who is inside her home. “You know we live in America right? This is the United States. So, why are you flying a Mexican flag in your front yard?”
Capps goes on to say the she finds the Mexican flag “disrespectful.”
Capps, who is running for a local city council spot in Fontana, Calif., posted the video online – and it quickly went viral.
When her former employer Coldwell Banker got wind of the video, the banking giant promptly let Capps go from her position with the company.
"We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind," David Siroty of Coldwell Banker Real Estate said in a statement. "We hold our affiliated companies to high ethical standards. Each of our franchised companies is independently owned and operated and we fully support the local owner's decision to disassociate this independent agent from the brokerage firm and, by extension, our franchise system."
Capps, in her video, also suggests that the family could face fines and legal problems for flying the Mexican flag, but the Ontario, California City Attorney John Brown disputed that claim.
"The City of Ontario takes great pride in being one of the most ethnically and racially diverse cities in Southern California,” Brown said. “Those expressions of ethnic and racial diversity take many forms throughout our City, and the City has always taken the position that such speech is absolutely protected by the both the United States and California Constitutions."
In an interview with Fox News, Capps said she can’t believe one video she posted is causing such outrage.
“My family is being threatened, I’m being threatened. We may have to move. I don’t know – I’m really scared,” she said.
Capps, who said it was not a campaign stunt, has since said she regrets uploading the video onto YouTube and said it was in bad judgment.
The homeowner with the Mexican flag on her lawn, Maria Banuelos, told a local Spanish-language news network that she didn’t think that the flag, which she says she has flown for 13 years, was bothering anyone. Her husband, Siefrado, told Fox News that while Capps has since apologized, the family does not believe she is being sincere.
“We don’t feel like she’s saying it from the heart. She’s just saying it from the mouth,” he said.
In a Facebook post, Capps said she should not live in fear because of speaking her mind.
“[T]aking a position on an issue does not make me evil, racist or unethical if I disagree with your position,” she said. “My life is being threatened and the business I built for 30 years has suffered over a flag video. My son is being bullied at school now and for that I am devastated.”
Capps said all she was trying to do was “to educate with my video about flag etiquette.” Clearly, she said, “I did a very poor job communicating that.”
“If you want to fly another country’s flag you do it in the proper way. The American flag flies on top; it has a place of prominence and then the other country’s flag is underneath,” she said. “It’s just flag etiquette.”