Ricky Schroder sort of apologizes to Costco worker he harangued over mask policy

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Co-executive producer Ricky Schroder speaks onstage during AT&T AUDIENCE Network's "The Volunteers" premiere event on November 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for AT&T AUDIENCE Network)
Ricky Schroder, self-proclaimed warrior against medical tyranny, kings and single motherhood, speaks onstage at a premiere event in 2017. (Rob Kim / Getty Images)

After widespread criticism for posting a Facebook video in which he harangued a Costco employee for enforcing the company's mask policy, former child star Ricky Schroder posted a pseudo-apology that managed to make it worse.

On Saturday, Schroder posted the video in which he confronted the employee — identified as "Jason" — asking why Jason wasn’t letting him in Costco without a mask, after that chain and others revised their masking guidelines Friday in light of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

“Because in the state of California and county of Los Angeles … and Costco, there has been no change in mask policy,” Jason said.

Talking over the employee, Schroder asked, “Didn’t you see the news? Nationwide, Costco has said you do not need to wear masks.”

But Jason was right: Costco's newest nationwide policy clearly makes exceptions for state and local restrictions.

“Costco always goes above and beyond when following the law and the mandate in California has not changed," Jason said. "There does seem to be a possibility that, by mid-June, that’s a date that California —"

“If they allow us, if they grant us that,” interrupted Schroder, “our kings? The people in power? You’re going to listen to these people?”

“Well, I know that —"

“They’ve destroyed our economy.”

“Well, sir —"

“They’ve destroyed our culture. They’re destroying our state.”

“I see.”

“And you’re just going to listen to their rules.”

The employee shrugged and said, “Well, what we are going to do is simply follow the guidelines —"

“OK,” said Schroder, turning the camera on himself, “I’m getting my refund.”

Jason continued to adhere to company policy as a second employee arrived to present Schroder with the membership refund he had apparently requested before he began shooting the video. Schroder closed by urging viewers to give up their Costco memberships until the company changed its policy.

That policy, as announced by CEO Craig Jelinek in a letter to members last week in the wake of CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people: "In Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield,” otherwise the company “will follow the state or local regulations and continue to require members and guests to wear a face mask or face shield."

Jason had also correctly cited, or began to cite, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that the state’s sweeping mask mandate might end after June 15; on Monday, the state confirmed that date.

The backlash after Schroder posted the video was immediate, with criticism hitting social media far and wide.

NBA commentator and Twitter favorite Rex Chapman tweeted, "He's awful. Ban Ricky Schroder."

Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress Patricia Arquette tweeted, "Let him go pay more."

The Twitter user who goes by the name of Jack Kimble (a fictional Republican congressman from California's nonexistent 54th district) tweeted, "This is wonderful to see! Ricky Schroder reaches dozens of people with his platform and if even 15% of them take his lead, Costco will be out nearly $200. That's how you get them to take notice."

Someone also edited Schroder's Wikipedia page to add the short-lived 2021 film entry "Angry Unmasked Guy Cancels Costco Membership," with Schroder playing "Himself," in the genre of "Reality/Dramady" [sic].

However, the former child star did receive support from another former child star: Scott Baio.

Baio retweeted Schroder's video, saying, "The Costco manager/employee said 'it's a law to wear the mask' IT IS NOT A LAW. IT IS A MANDATE FROM THE DICTATORS!"

Amid the many rebuttals to Baio was one from comedian Christopher Titus, who wrote, "It’s a private business Chachi, no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service. Why such a snowflake? You Cons really believe in 'rights' as long as you can do whatever the f— YOU want. Society has rules, follow them or f— off."

To which Baio responded, "Hey Dumbbell, it's a public company," with a screenshot of Costco's current share price, apparently confusing a privately owned company that is publicly traded with a government utility.

A tidal wave of mocking responses to Baio's gaffe followed, with celebrities such as ESPN's Mina Kimes and historian Kevin Kruse tweeting memes of cringing or laughter and musician Richard Marx responding, "OMG, you poor thing. Bless."

On Sunday, Schroder posted a Facebook video where he began with, "This is Day 116 of Biden's occupation of our White House." In it, he sort of apologized to the Costco employee (after decrying "lawlessness" in Hollywood and Santa Monica):

"Jason, nothing personal, I'm not upset with you or anybody in a position like you have [who] works for a living; I understand that you were following their laws and rules. I was trying to make a point to the corporate overlords, and sorry that I had to use you to do it. And if I hurt your feelings, I apologize.

"I do think that independence from medical tyranny is more important than hurting people's feelings. So I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, but I want us all to be free. I want us all to go back to the way it was. I don't want this COVID reality they want, COVID passports and ... I just don't want it. And neither should you."

There was more in the Sunday video: Schroder decried "the feminist, liberal, socialist policies that encourage single motherhood"; warned of "military occupation," saying America was "being assaulted by a Marxist regime" (unclear if he was referring to the musician who had trolled Baio); and praised Rhodesia (which has become a favored symbol of white supremacists), saying it was once thriving and is now — as Zimbabwe — "a place where whites live in fear."

Schroder also made news in November 2020 for helping to raise bail for Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen charged with fatally shooting Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisc., in August. In response to the backlash he received for doing so, Schroder posted a (since-deleted) Facebook photo of himself holding a rifle.

The year before that, Schroder, whose acting credits include "NYPD Blue," "Little Lord Fauntleroy" and "Silver Spoons," was arrested twice in a 30-day span on suspicion of felony domestic violence against his girlfriend. Charges were not filed in either instance.

Schroder's most recent acting credit on IMDb is 2016's TV movie "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love," in which he reprised his role as the famed singer's father, Robert Lee Parton.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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