Car Displaying Pro-BLM Message Vandalized, Owner Says

Photo courtesy Samantha Varela
Samantha Varela says she recently found that her car, on which she had written “Black Lives Matter,” had been defaced with white paint.

A Burbank resident told police Monday that someone splashed white paint on her car after she wrote messages on it to support Black Lives Matter and mask-wearing habits.
Samantha Varela, founder of comedy production company Naked Comedy, said she was returning home in the afternoon when she walked past her car. To her shock, she found that the front windshield had been coated with paint.
“I was just overwhelmed,” she said in a phone interview. “People have said stuff to me — they’ve yelled ‘All lives matter’ or flip me off — so I always kind of knew something could happen, and thankfully I wasn’t in the car, [it wasn’t] direct violence or anything like that. But it was definitely overwhelming to see that something had happened.”
Though she has only gotten a few negative responses to the messages on her vehicle, Varela said she believes she was targeted because she wrote “Black Lives Matter” on the side of the car in paint. She said she recently added a message telling people to wear masks.
But the cause of the alleged incident isn’t clear. Valera said the pro-BLM message has been on her car since around early May, so she’s not sure why someone would vandalize it two months later. Plus, she added, none of the paint was covering the messages themselves.
“I guess I would ask what they were trying to get across,” she said. “That’s the big thing for me, is it’s so confusing. … I would mainly ask, ‘What’s the point?’ because they didn’t really make it [clear]. I mean, they just kind of inconvenienced me and made me deal with it.”
Because she has a preexisting health condition, she said, she hasn’t been able to attend protests in support of black people. And since she recently lost her job, she hasn’t been able to donate to the cause. Putting a message on her vehicle seemed like the next best option.
“[I’ve had] kids wanting to take photos with it, people saying thank you, a lot of thumbs up,” she explained. “Overall, it’s been good. That’s why I kept doing it.”
Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department confirmed via email that the matter had been reported to police and that an investigation remains active. He also said that the act was believed to have occurred overnight between Sunday and Monday.
Though Varela worries that another incident will occur, she said that since the messages she has displayed have brought so much joy, she plans to return them to her car after it the damage is addressed and hopes other residents will follow do the same.
Varela also said she’s grateful to her friends in the comedy industry, many of whom have struggled financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, for helping her pay for the damage to the car. With the vehicle at a repair shop, she had sent out a request on social media for people to help cover her insurance deductible. Within days, several comedians she knew had shared her request or donated funds themselves.
“It was nice to see people want to support me when I know they’re financially being impacted,” she said.

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