Business owner looted during riots says Fischer’s blame of media for downtown’s reputation is ‘the craziest thing’

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 12:10 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Mayor Greg Fischer continues to make bold statements about media coverage of protests in downtown Louisville sparked after the death of Breonna Taylor last year. Some of those demonstrations were marred by riots, causing lasting damage downtown.

While the 2020 protests were at their height, Jefferson Square Park was known as ground zero. However, during the months-long demonstrations, rioters distorted the message of social justice by looting businesses and destroying property, making much of the public afraid to go downtown.

The mayor ordered Metro Hall to be boarded up for the better half of last year, during the summer of continuous protests.

Don Davis, the co-owner of JJ’s Wig Shop said he and his wife returned to their livelihood to find it completely destroyed after it was looted during the protests last year. While it has been a work in progress, they are once again able to operate as a business with some precautions.

“It was pretty scary,” Davis said. “We would go for most of those months with boarded-up windows. We would be lucky to get one to two customers. We were pretty worried about how things would go. It could get better, it’s nowhere like it was but it’s a lot better than last summer.”

According to Fischer, downtown Louisville’s unsafe reputation arose from media coverage of the protests. It’s a statement Davis doesn’t buy into.

“To say that it was blown out of proportion by the media is the craziest thing,” Davis said. “Downtown was covered up — our windows and other businesses — for seven months. Not one month or one week — seven months before we felt comfortable taking the wood off our window. I would say that would fall on the mayor’s office.”

Still, on Thursday, Fischer told Dawne Gee on WAVE Country that “the media” focused on the bad and shined a negative light on downtown Louisville.

“You said, the media makes people feel like downtown isn’t safe, do you really believe that?” Gee asked the mayor. “We show what’s going on. We don’t make up what’s going.”

“The media isolates a situation and when you lead your news with that, there’s no question in my mind the media magnifies the situation,” Fischer said.

To see Fischer and Gee’s complete interview on WAVE Country, click here or watch the clip below.

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