- Conservative pundit Candace Owens said she was denied service at a Colorado COVID-19 testing center.
- The owner of Aspen Laboratories said Owens worsened the pandemic by “spreading misinformation.”
- Owens tweeted that the matter is “being escalated” to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Conservative pundit Candace Owens said she was denied service at a Colorado COVID-19 testing center. She claimed the dispute was about her political beliefs.
“Holy crap!! I just received an e-mail from a Covid testing facility that they are REFUSING to administer a test to me because they don’t like my politics,” Owens tweeted on September 1.
She shared a photo of an email she received from a co-owner of Aspen Laboratories. Owens, who has promoted multiple conspiracy theories about COVID-19, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“We cannot support anyone who has pro-actively worked to make this pandemic worse by spreading misinformation, politicizing and DISCOURAGING the wearing of masks and actively dissuading people from receiving life-saving vaccinations,” co-owner Suzanna Lee wrote in the email.
“My team and myself have worked overtime, to exhaustion, unpaid and underpaid this past year, spending our own capital to ensure that our community remains protected. It would be unfair to them and to the sacrifices we have all made this year to serve you,” Lee went on.
On FOX News, Owens told Tucker Carlson she was denied a test for political reasons, referring to people like Lee as “sadists” who “like to manipulate you.”
“This is not about health anymore. This is about politics,” Owens told Carlson. “If this is a public health crisis, she would say, ‘You know what, I hate Candace Owens, but of course she is in my town. I’m going to give her a test and make sure she doesn’t infect anybody else.'”
In a response to Lee posted on Twitter, Owens accused Lee of “googling the names of the people who book tests with you and determining on a case by case basis” whether to serve them.
“That nobody stopped you from hitting send on such an emotionally unstable and hysterical e-mail leads me to believe that the people who work for you must love me, and would therefore never deny me this entertainment,” Owens wrote.
In an interview with the Aspen Daily News, Lee said she wrote her email to support her staff, adding that she never considered Owens would publicize her email. A spokesperson for Aspen Laboratories did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“In all honesty I barely know who she is. She’s a marginal public figure,” Lee said, adding that the lab sees “much higher-profile people” on a regular basis. “We did not Google her; she is a public figure. That is how she was recognized.”
Lee and Aspen Laboratories co-owner Isaac Flanagan published a statement on their site denying that they choose who to serve based on “race, politics or vaccination status, or other criteria.”
“As a privately funded and operated business, with no public financing, we are under no obligation to provide our services to anyone who leverages their sizable public platform to undermine basic containment measures aimed at reducing the effects of this pandemic,” the statement read.
“We are not currently the only local testing option, however, and would not have referred business elsewhere if we were,” the statement went on. “We regret any and all politicization of this public health emergency and encourage all Americans to treat each other with kindness and dignity so we can get through this difficult time together.”