A North Carolina city known in part for its art, food and craft beer scene is at the center of a massive Twitter fight.
Asheville, a city of about 94,000 tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is trending on the social media platform Sunday, July 3, after national radio host Buck Sexton slammed its residents for their use of COVID-19 face masks.
“Higher percentage of mask wearers in Asheville, NC than back in Manhattan,” he wrote. “What is going on here.”
He later tweeted that “some of these stores *still require masks*” and that the city is in the “same leftist category as Berkeley CA, Boulder CO, Northampton MA.” His tweets come as ABC News reports that New York City’s coronavirus positivity rate is soaring past 10% for the first time since January, during the omicron variant wave.
Meanwhile, four of North Carolina’s 100 counties are experiencing high levels of community spread of the virus, 28 are experiencing medium levels and the rest are experiencing low levels, according to state health officials.
Sexton’s comments have also started a battle on Twitter — with many jumping to the city’s defense.
Asheville, NC is one of my very favorite places to visit. It’s a beautiful drive from ATL. Im so glad to read that they care about their neighbors. https://t.co/XCi5lMk4bT
— Valerie B. (@Vbernal73) July 3, 2022
The people of Asheville are minding their business.
That’s what’s going on here. https://t.co/ig0QsIExxp
— Ty Russell (@TyRussellWLOS) July 3, 2022
Hi Buck. Welcome to Asheville.
COVID rates are pretty high, and for many people, wearing a mask isn't all that hard. I deadlift 450+ pounds, parent a rowdy young kid, train a GSD, write books, and so on. I don't want to get sick and wearing a mask is the easiest thing I do.
— Brad Stulberg (@BStulberg) July 2, 2022
“Asheville, NC is one of the prettiest places in the US and has the nicest people on earth,” one person said.
“This is my obligatory tweet as a WNC native that Asheville has been and remains awesome,” another user tweeted.
“My guy…you’re in ASHEVILLE,” another person wrote.
Asheville is one of North Carolina’s left-leaning cities, The Charlotte Observer reported in 2020. In Buncombe County, which is home to Asheville, 37% of voters are registered Democrats while 22.5% are registered Republicans and 39.7% are unaffiliated, The News & Observer reported.
In July 2020, Asheville’s city council unanimously approved a resolution in support of reparations, which the Brookings Institution defines as a “system of redress for egregious injustices,” for Black residents, McClatchy News reported at the time.
Other Twitter users joined Sexton in sneering at Asheville.
“They also voted for reparations,” Clay Travis, co-host of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” tweeted in a response to Sexton. “Phenomenal spot that has been overrun by the woke.”
Asheville is woke………I avoid it as much as possible.
— Jeff Stanley (@KingofHogWaller) July 3, 2022
“Like most places though,” another said. “The beauty gets ruined by the liberals.”
“@BuckSexton Asheville is further left than Manhattan,” another posted. “One of the reasons I would never go there even though it sounds like an awesome place to visit and I only live several hours away.”
Sexton is a New York City native who hosts multiple radio shows and podcasts. He “appears frequently on Fox News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst,” his biography on “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” website says.
In February 2021, he wrote on Facebook and in a blog post that science at the time said to “open the schools, stop wearing masks outside, and everyone at low risk should start living normal lives.”
Facebook flagged the post and PolitiFact rated Buck’s statement “false,” reporting that experts at the time urged mask use and were not encouraging people to return to normal.