The camera started rolling as Jazmina Saavedra, a Republican U.S. congressional candidate, barged in on a person using the restroom at a Denny’s restaurant in Los Angeles — and Saavedra was the one filming.
Holding what appears to be a selfie stick, Saavedra livestreamed herself opening the door to the women’s restroom on Tuesday as an employee was knocking on the stall, the Facebook Live video shows. Then she turns the camera to the stall door and says “there’s a man here saying that he’s a lady.”
The woman, who’s running in California’s 44th district, confronts the person, who appears to be a transgender woman but hasn’t been identified, behind the stall after they say they’re being harassed, video shows.
“Why you use the ladies’ room?” Saavedra can be heard asking. “…I'm a woman, and I deserve to use the ladies room,” the person answers.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Saavedra eventually leaves but then returns to the bathroom, appearing more exasperated. "They put us in danger ... a woman like me trying to use the ladies' room with a man inside saying he's a lady," Saavedra says while waiting outside the restroom.
Dressed in black pants and a black hoodie, the person begins to leave the establishment when Saavedra says “You invaded my privacy.” The person appears to glare at Saavedra as they respond: “Excuse me? I was using the toilet, how did I invade your privacy? I’ve seen you, yesterday, following me.”
Denny’s told Business Insider the customer was asked to leave after “drug paraphernalia” was found on the restroom floor, not because of the person’s gender identity.
The company says it doesn’t “tolerate discrimination” and is “extremely disturbed" by the incident, reported Business Insider.
Saavedra also says the person’s gender identity wasn’t the reason for her actions, ABC 7 reported. “You cannot put together a man and a woman in the same bathroom. No way," she said. "This is not about gender. This is not about being gay or something. This is about I hear a voice of man in the ladies room.”
In the bio section of her campaign website, Saavedra says she's a Nicaraguan immigrant. As a U.S. congresswoman, she says she’d focus on employment issues, reducing crime, protecting “traditional family values,” and helping veterans. She also says she admires that Stacey Dash is running for public office, though Dash withdrew her bid for the same Congressional seat in March.
Democratic incumbent Rep. Nannette Diaz said in a statement that she was “appalled” by the way the person was treated, ABC 7 reported.
“Everyone has the right to their own identity, and the right not to be discriminated against for who they are,” Diaz said.