Jeremy Miller Slams Growing Pains Co-Star Kirk Cameron's Caroling Protests: 'Disappointed'
"While I will always love my brother Kirk, I could not disagree more with his holding these maskless events at a time when safety and concern for others is an extreme priority," the actor said
On Friday, the 44-year-old actor slammed his former Growing Pains co-star, 50, after he organized in two caroling events held in objection to California's stay-at-home order amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Miller — who played the younger brother to Cameron's character on the popular '80s sitcom — detailed in an email statement to the New York Post's Page Six that he strongly disagrees with Cameron's stance on holding events despite the rising number of COVID cases.
"While I will always love my brother Kirk, I could not disagree more with his holding these maskless events at a time when safety and concern for others is an extreme priority," he said. "I truly couldn’t be more disappointed in him."
On Tuesday evening, Cameron shared a series of photos and videos on his Instagram Story from a caroling event at The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, California — a state where coronavirus cases continue to surge with tens of thousands of new cases being reported daily.
In the videos, dozens of attendees were seen singing closely together, many without masks, defying the state's mandate that everyone must wear a face covering when outside of their home.
A representative for Cameron told PEOPLE the event was organized by community members and churches in the area, and that masks and social distancing were encouraged. In a statement to PEOPLE, Cameron said the caroling was intended to instill "hope and encouragement."
"During this awful pandemic, people are longing for hope and encouragement and we want to offer that to them...we encourage attendees wear masks and the freedom to socially distance, but we won't deny our neighbors the opportunity to sing Christmas carols outside in whatever manner they choose," he said. "Spirits were lifted and people were encouraged! This is America — the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Following the event, the mall shared a statement condemning the gathering as "irresponsible."
"We do not condone this irresponsible — yet constitutionally protected — peaceful protest event planned. We share your concern and have notified the Sheriff's office," read the statement, which was posted on Twitter. "As well, we have reached out to the event planner to ask that they do not use The Oaks as their venue."
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Cameron attended a similar event last week and documented it on his social media page, telling followers that the group would be "celebrating our God-given liberties" to gather.
"It's T-38 minutes for our Christmas caroling peaceful protest," Cameron captioned an Instagram post ahead of the event. "We are going to be celebrating our God-given liberties, our constitutionally protected rights at this time at Christmas to sing Christmas songs to gather, to assemble, and to sing about the birth of our savior."
Ventura County, where Thousand Oaks is located, is currently experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases and remains under a regional stay-at-home order issued earlier in December.
On Monday, 303 COVID-19 patients were being treated at hospitals across the county, triple the number of people with the virus who required hospital care on Dec. 1. Also on Monday, the county's ICU availability rate hit 0 percent, according to local news outlet, the VC Star.
Last week, Cameron's Growing Pains co-star Tracey Gold similarly expressed her concern over the actor's choices.
"Checking in with my dear brother Mike. @KirkCameron As your more intelligent sister I want you to know that I disapprove," she wrote on Twitter at the time. "I'm worried about you brother AND your family. Wear a mask. Stay home. Sing later."
Then, earlier this week, Cameron's real-life sister, Candace Cameron Bure, shared on social media that she did not take part in her brother's protests, tweeting, "I did not attend any recent caroling events. Also, I choose to follow the greater guidelines by wearing a mask and social distance when I’m in public."
Defending her brother from the criticism he was receiving on social media, the Full House star continued, "However, I don’t appreciate the vile tweets about my family. I believe respectful dialogue is the key to being heard. Stay safe."
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