Sac State students among anti-abortion group booted from gallery

The incident was recorded on video. Now the group is requesting an apology from the employee


Screenshot from video courtesy of Carmen Perez

An employee at the Dennis Rae Fine Art gallery in San Francisco follows members of a religious young adult group outside. The group alleges they were kicked out due to their anti-abortion beliefs.

Sami Soto

An anti-abortion group which included Sacramento State students alleges they were kicked out of a San Francisco art gallery over the weekend due to their religious and political views.

The group was made up of about 11 members of a religious young adults group called SEARCH, three of whom are Sac State students.

The members attended the March for Life rally in San Francisco Saturday and entered the Dennis Rae Fine Art gallery located on Fisherman’s Wharf later that night.

A video of the incident was recorded by Carmen Perez, a junior at Sac State and has been viewed over 4,000 times on social media.

Two people with the group were holding signs from the rally, which read “We are the Pro-Life Generation” on one side and “Defund Planned Parenthood” on the other.

Perez said she started recording when the woman told them to leave. In the video, two gallery employees are seen ushering the group out.

“I remember thinking, this is my first amendment,” Perez said. “She’s violating our rights.”

One of the employees is seen giving the middle finger to the group, before following them outside.

Perez said the group started to fear for their safety when the woman got close to them and was yelling directly at one of their members.

“We felt that she was going to hit him because she was coming up so close,” Perez said.

In the background, members of the group can be heard saying, “We love you” and “We’re praying for you.”

Following the incident, the gallery owner David Schach issued an apology.

“I’m sorry this happened to you,” Schach said in a statement. “We were not trying to force you to leave or be mean to you.”

According to Schach, the gallery was trying to close when the group arrived.

Perez says the group was in the gallery for several minutes prior to the incident, and they were not told about an early closure.

“We felt that he really didn’t acknowledge what the lady did,” Perez said. “In his apology, he basically said, ‘oh, she was tired, it was a long day’ and ‘sometimes we close at 9:15, sometimes at 9:30.’ So he’s kind of deflecting from what actually happened.”

The group wrote a post on social media in response to the apology, saying although they appreciated it, they believe “the owner failed to mention that his employee was clearly throwing us out for our pro-life views.”

According to Perez, the incident has left members of the group feeling nervous and scared. Regardless, the group says they send prayers to the owner and the employees.

“The only thing we want is for the art gallery to apologize to us, specifically the woman to apologize to us,” Perez said. “And for her to understand that this is not right and for her to be more tolerant. That’s all we ask.”

In addition to the apology, Schach said the gallery has also offered a discount for any customer who mentions “pro-life.”