The Wink Wink Boutique has been the victim of vandalism and harassment in recent weeks.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A handful of protesters, some from out of town, gathered outside Bellingham’s Wink Wink boutique, ready for a confrontation.
Some held American flags, others carried megaphones.
However, they seemed fooled when the shopkeeper didn’t show up.
A handwritten sign was posted outside the store saying the store was closed and thanking customers for their support after an attack by vandals on Sunday morning.
A surveillance camera inside the store captured five young men throwing rocks through shop windows.
“It feels incredibly hurtful,” Mason said. “This is meant to be a safe place for us as employees and our community.”
Wink Wink came under attack after reports that the shopkeeper was offering sex education classes to children as young as 9.
“I’ve received death threats,” said owner Jenn Mason. “I’ve had people call me, give me my home address, and say they’re after me. They showed up in the store and intimidated our staff.”
Mason is an elected two-term school board member at Bellingham.
She acknowledges that she offers tuition to children between the ages of 9 and 17 but said they were age appropriate and voluntary and the parents were the ones who requested the tuition for 9 to 12 year olds.
“Children at this age have questions. Some have even started going through puberty,” Mason said. “I think we should teach sex education the way we teach everything else. We don’t wait for kids to learn math wrong and then correct what they got wrong. We help them get it right from the start.”
About half a dozen people stood outside the store on Wednesday, accusing the owner of everything from pedophilia to breaking her own windows as a publicity stunt.
Some said they were part of the anti-vaccine mandate group The People’s Convoy, others the offshoot 1776 Restoration Movement.
No one was available to speak to KING 5 on camera.
Across the street, Wink Wink’s storefront was boarded up.
Earlier that day, parishioners painted a mural on the plywood in support as Mason told KING 5 that classes would be held later that day at an undisclosed location.
“We don’t negotiate with bullies. Classes will still take place,” Mason said. “This is important work. This is work that families want and we will deliver.”
A spokesman for Bellingham School District told KING 5: “Our school board members are elected by the voters. There is no connection between this board member’s business and the school district. Events/classes in store are not affiliated with the school district or any of our schools.”
Meanwhile, support for Wink Wink is growing with two online fundraisers raising more than $15,000.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/protest-fizzles-bellingham-sex-shop-following-recent-vandalism/281-2c71986c-9341-43cd-9e95-a8c48d9396a6 Bellingham sex shop pushes back after recent threats over classes