Venice residents upset over new anti-vax mural

A large new mural in the heart of Venice has residents fuming and demanding it be taken down. 

"For them to bring something divisive like that to our community, it was offensive to me," says Sherri Elidrissi. 

She lives in the complex where the mural went up just a week ago. It says, ‘Leave the vax, take the cannoli’. A play on word from the movie The Godfather, in which character Peter Clemenza says ‘Leave the gun, take the Cannoli."

The man behind this anti-vaccine campaign is Tony Roman, the owner of Basilico's Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach. The same person who wouldn’t allow his employees to wear a mask when the first mandate was issued. 

In an earlier interview with FOX 11 News, Roman said, "I’ve always viewed the force masking of people as a symbol of control and surrender."

Roman feels the same about a vaccine mandate and he’s putting his message on a wall. 

But Venice resident Desi Ramon says his community is not the place for it. He says, "You're not helping the situation and you are separating. How do you gain by not having other people being vaccinated?"

"There is a lot of visceral response in the building," Elidrissi said.

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Besides a message they don’t agree with, the residents say the mural actually blocks the view of one of the tenants.

"They blacked out his window to continue the mural. He’s not even allowed to open his windows, it’s totally messed up," Elidrissi added.

Tourists in the area say they find the message rather clever, even if they don’t agree with it. 

Gloria Robles from Chicago says, "I think it’s interesting, creative and I love that it brings out the controversial conversation." 

"I don’t agree with it personally, but I do think it’s everyone’s choice if they want to take it or not and I do think this is freedom of speech," said Lawrence from New York.

Like it or not, the mural is staying in Venice for 60 days.

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