EXCLUSIVE: Email Shows Newsom Knew His Son's Basketball Camp Was a Mask-Optional Affair

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

Late Monday night a photo began circulating among California parents opposed to mask mandates in schools or at youth camps/sporting activities allegedly showing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s oldest son, Hunter, participating in an indoor summer basketball camp – maskless – that very morning. The photo was part of a social media posting by the camp’s operator, touting the successful first day of the 6th week of summer camp.


Tuesday morning RedState received confirmation from people whose children play youth sports with the Newsom children that the boy in the photo was indeed 10-year-old Hunter Newsom.

The photo caused an uproar among parents who’ve watched their children struggle academically, physically, and emotionally while being kept from their normal school and sports activities while Newsom’s children attended their expensive private school in-person – and now apparently were able to participate in indoor sports, mask-free. According to California’s public health guidelines, children ages 2 through 11 years old are required to wear masks indoors while at school and in “other youth settings.”

From the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) “Face Coverings Q&A“:

There are some situations identified by the CDC where face coverings are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, including:

Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings.

What is a “youth setting”? (Emphasis added):

“Youth settings” include K-12 schools and child care, and also cover day camps for youth, youth sports and other youth activities, including theater and music performances and band. Updated CDC guidance is forthcoming for youth settings.

Clearly, masks would have been required at the camp if one wanted to follow the unscientific guideline. Most RedState readers would be quite okay with sending their child to a summer sports camp where they wouldn’t be forced to deprive themselves of oxygen in order to attend, and it looks like Gavin Newsom feels the same way. Or, he did until he was found out. Fox News also obtained the photo and asked Newsom’s office about it. Newsom’s spox replied in an emailed statement:


“The Newsoms were concerned to see unvaccinated children unmasked indoors at a camp their children began attending yesterday. Their kids will no longer be attending the camp.”

First, it’s stunning that Newsom even replied to Fox News, the network he routinely reviles on Twitter, accusing its personalities of being complicit in all COVID deaths and accusing the network itself of spreading vaccine misinformation and creating vaccine hesitancy – despite the fact that many Fox News personalities constantly emphasize the fact that they’re vaccinated. He could have ignored the potential scandal like he has done so many times in the past, and no one in the mainstream media would have questioned him. His response is a sign that the newest poll showing that essentially half of the likely voters in the state are going to vote to recall him has really shaken his confidence in beating the recall.

Newsom made two mistakes, though, in his statement. First, he feigned surprise/concern that the children were unmasked. Then, he punished his child by taking him out of the camp. If Newsom wanted to gain points with people leaning toward favoring the recall, he could have said something like this:

“As you know, I’ve been a huge proponent of following the science, including masking and social distancing. While I was surprised that so many parents allowed their children to attend the camp without a mask, I was also struck by how happy my son was when he came home from camp last night. As he told me about his day, he told me how good it felt to be normal again and play basketball with his friends. For the first time in a long time, he went to sleep with a smile on his face.

“I stayed up reading everything I could get my hands on about transmission among children, and while playing sports. What I’ve learned from reading this updated science and meeting with public health officials, we believe that kids can play sports indoors, unmasked, if they take normal precautions like  thoroughly washing their hands after the game and by using hand sanitizer. So, I am now changing the guidelines….” blah blah blah.


Of course, none of us would believe that his turnaround had anything to do with science, but Newsom gets away with these flip-flops all the time.

For Newsom to claim that he didn’t know that dozens of children, most of whom were under age 12, wouldn’t be vaccinated or wearing masks is simply not believable. Children under age 12 can’t be vaccinated, as he’s well aware, the camp sent multiple emails to parents informing them that mask rules wouldn’t be enforced, and the camp’s website and social media profiles contain dozens of photos from the last five weeks of camp showing zero masked athletes.

A parent from week five sent a screenshot from the email sent from the camp director to “Reopen California Schools,” a group that has sued Newsom and the state over mask mandates. The group posted that screenshot to Twitter:

And, a parent whose child is currently attending the camp – in other words, whose child attended camp with Hunter Newsom on Monday – forwarded a “reminder” email they received Sunday morning, July 25, with pre-camp updates, to RedState. The email references another email sent out the week before, which apparently contained the same information. The same mask update that week 5 parents received is in the email.


The Newsoms were told directly that “masks will not be enforced” but that their son was welcome to wear one – yet the photo showed a happy, smiling, mask-free lad, so they weren’t concerned enough for his health to make him wear a mask. Or, is it that they know that their son really doesn’t need to wear a mask? Either way, it’s cruel for Newsom to expect all of the other children in the state to suffer while his children are allowed to ignore the rules.

Camp parents who’ve spoken with RedState about the issue are concerned that Buzzardball will take a financial hit because of this, that the mask Karens will mount a campaign to cancel the program (which is in its 25th year). Hopefully, that won’t be the case, but we will definitely bring any updates on that front to our readers.

UPDATE 8:15 PM EDT, 7/27/21: Newsom’s spokesperson tells the AP that the family simply “missed” the email.


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