Shelley Luther has friends in high places.
On Tuesday, a Texas judge sentenced the Dallas salon owner to a week in jail after she was found in contempt of court for violating an order to close her business during the pandemic, according to The Dallas Morning News.
In a clip that has since gone viral, Luther responded to the judge, explaining to him that she was not being selfish — as he suggested — for reopening her salon.
“Feeding my kids,” Luther said, “is not selfish.”
Luther said she and her stylists needed the money because, although she applied for a federal assistance loan, the money didn’t come through until Sunday.
Since her story gained national traction, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) have called for the owner of Salon à la Mode to be immediately released.
In a statement of his own, Paxton called Judge Eric Moyé’s “excessive” sentence against Luther “outrageous and out of touch.” The entrepreneur was facing $500 fines every day since re-opening on April 24, until Friday, when she was punished with jail time.
“I find it outrageous and out of touch that, during this national pandemic, a judge in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting COVID-19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family’s table,” he said, The Texas Tribune reported Wednesday.
Abbott, for his part, also reprimanded Moyé:
As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option. Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety; however, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother.
Rick Hire launched a GoFundMe page for Luther after learning about her plight. The account has so far raised more than $335,000.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) announced Wednesday afternoon he would pay Luther’s $7,000 legal fee, or make up the difference if some of the money has already been paid out.
Like I said, it looks like Luther has friends in high places.