Kirk Cameron hosted an event on New Year’s Eve despite warnings from California public health officials to stay at home in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
The 1980s sitcom star held a gathering in Malibu on Thursday night, according to ABC 13. He also posted about the event on Instagram, encouraging people to join him.
“We’re hoping that we’re going to have hundreds of people here. Please come and join us by candlelight as we sing and as we pray for our country,” Cameron said in a video.
City officials said they were aware of an event that was not permitted under current COVID restrictions and were “attempting to reach the organizer to inform them that they cannot hold an event in Malibu.”
“I’m not trying to endanger people, I’m outside under the stars, giving people hope,” Cameron said in another Instagram post.
The gathering came as California has broken grim COVID records. There were 21,449 COVID patients in the state’s hospitals as of Thursday, with more than 4,500 in intensive care.
California broke its own record for daily deaths from the virus on Tuesday, when 432 people were recorded as passing away from the disease. California is outpacing every other state with COVID cases.
“We are in the midst of a disaster,” Los Angeles County Director of Emergency Medical Services Agency Cathy Chidester told CNN on Thursday as hospitals in the city are struggling to cope with the caseload.
State Senator Henry Stern posted on Twitter that he’d dropped @KirkCameron a note seeing if he could just stay home and hum quietly to himself this NYE.”
“We’re too busy fighting this peaking pandemic to even mourn our fallen. Please don’t make us spend more time or safety resources on profiteering/PR disguised as prayer/protest.”
Cameron, who is a strong advocate for Evangelical Christianity, has publicly violated COVID guidelines in the recent past. He organized at least two Christmas carol-themed protests in southern California in December.
“I’m getting ready to go out in 38 minutes, it’s T-38 minutes for our Christmas caroling peaceful protest,” Cameron said in an Instagram video before one of the events in Thousand Oaks on December 11.
“We are going to be celebrating our God-given liberties, our constitutionally protected rights at this time at Christmas to sing Christmas songs to gather, to assemble, and to sing about the birth of our savior,” he said.