• Tue. Apr 13th, 2021

Trump rally fallout: Real estate agent fired, businesses ripped, vandalized after social media posts

The professional fallout came quickly Thursday for a few Chicagoans who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in the nation’s capital that later devolved into chaos and violence.

A city real estate agent was publicly fired after she posted to social media about attending the event. After workers at a tattoo shop posted about attending the rally, the shop was savaged on social media and was hit with graffiti accusing the store of employing “Nazis.” A Vietnamese restaurant, whose owners reportedly also attended the rally, was overwhelmed with negative online reviews.

Around the country, the mob of Trump supporters who pushed through police barricades and broke into the Capitol Building have been met with widespread condemnation.

The Chicago real estate group @properties posted to its Facebook page Thursday that agent Libby McCarten Andrews was fired after posts where she allegedly acknowledged being in D.C. for the event.

“@properties does not condone violence, destruction or illegal activities,” the company said its statement.

The company said it received “a tremendous amount of outreach” after Andrews posted a photo of herself standing with Trump supporters on the steps of the Capitol with the caption, “History! It’s not done yet!”

Later, Andrews posted a photo of a glass of champagne on an upscale patio near a fire pit and said, “After storming the capital a good glass of champagne is needed!”

Andrews told Crain’s Chicago Business that she didn’t go inside the Capitol or take part in ransacking it.

She could not be reached for comment.

In other online posts, a widely shared image of several men — identified as employees and owners of Wicker Park tattoo shop Insight Studios — attending the Stop the Steal rally led social media users to condemn them and say they would no longer patronize the business.

A message on the studio’s Yelp page Thursday showed the business had 4 12 stars, but a disclaimer read the page was being monitored by “Yelp’s support team for content related to media reports.”

On Thursday, the door to the tattoo parlor was locked, and a person inside ignored knocks at the door by a reporter. The owners did not return calls and messages seeking comment.

Someone scrawled “Nazis work here!” and “Nazi owned + operated” in marker on a metal window barricade over the storefront.

A former client who was outside the shop — who asked not to be named — said he was distraught but not surprised after seeing photos online of employees at the rally.

“I have two tattoos on my body from one of these people. It’s upsetting,” he said. “The last time I was here, the owner said he’d like to move to California but wouldn’t because, he said, ‘They would take my guns away there.’ After that, I didn’t come back.”

Someone scrawled messages in marker Thursday reading “Nazis work here!” and “Nazi owned + operated” on the locked storefront of a Wicker Park tattoo shop Insight Studios after social media posters identified several employees and owners as attendees of President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally in Washington D.C. the day before.
Robert Chiarito for Sun-Times

Photos also circulated online reportedly showing owners of Uptown Vietnamese restaurant Tank Noodle on a plane as they traveled to Washington and later attending the rally.

An employee said they had to unplug their phones due to an onslaught of calls but declined to comment further.

Messages left with family members who attended the rally were not returned.

Eater Chicago confirmed the owners attended the rally and reported that employees had received death threats after the social media posts.

‘They were absolutely counterproductive’

Other Illinois residents who attended the rallies Wednesday now question whether it was worth it.

Eric Carlson, a former Army Ranger who lives in Lemont and runs a non-profit that provides service dogs to veterans, called the effort “counterproductive.”

“We were at the Washington Monument but by the time we got to the Capitol the stairs were already covered with people,” he said. “We had no idea that people were actually inside and that some had broken windows out.”

Carlson said he believed the actions of the rioters — which he estimated made up 1% of the people there — hurt their cause.

“I shook my head and said, ‘You just shot the whole reason for being here in the foot.’ They were absolutely counterproductive. That was not the way it was supposed to go.”

Another attendee, Brent, a 53-year-old engineer from Lockport, asked that his last name not be used out of fear his business could be targeted. He said he also removed Facebook posts out of fear of retribution.

He drove to Washington, D.C., with three friends on Tuesday “to appeal to Congress, not to cause havoc.” He said that protesters’ “goal was to enter the chambers of Congress and advise the people that were voting on these electoral votes to do their due diligence and investigate before casting their final vote.”

Ultimately, however, he did not get inside the building.