CAMPBELL (CBS SF) — A man recorded on cellphone video apparently ranting against wearing masks in a Marshall’s department store in Campbell Monday was identified as Tim Gaskin, a former San Francisco artist, magazine editor and television show host.
Several posters on social media identified the man in the video as the 52-year-old Gaskin, a media figure who made a name for himself in San Francisco in the mid-2000s.
On Wednesday, Gaskin told KPIX.com the video only showed a small segment of what went on in the store.
“I’m 20 percent deaf in one ear and I can’t hear in the other,” he said. “I was born with under-developed ears so I physically can’t wear a mask.”
Gaskin said he explained that to the guard at the front door of the store when he entered. But he said he was soon confronted by other employees and became frustrated.
“I’ve been through this before,” Gaskin said. “Once someone start yelling about wearing a mask. Everyone else around goes crazy. You feel like you are under attack.”
The video, shared on social media by San Jose DJ Eddie House, shows Gaskin speaking angrily with to a store employee and a man filming him about the store’s mask-wearing requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The employee asked him to leave for not wearing a mask, and in turn Gaskin claims that denying him service because he’s not wearing a mask carries a fine.
“You don’t know the law? This is how stupid you are,” Gaskin says in the video. He goes on to call the man recording him a “f*ggot” and claimed that he was reacting to a similar slur used against he and his boyfriend.
Campbell police were called to the scene and detained Gaskin. They are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. Gaskin has not been charged in the case.
Gaskin’s use of homophobic language surprised those who recognized him on social media as he was once a known figure in the San Francisco LGBTQ community. Starting in 2004, he hosted a weekly talk show called OUT Spoken for Comcast public access that addressed gay issues.
Gaskin also hosted a television show and corresponding radio show about San Francisco real estate in 2006 called “Open House.” At the time, Gaskin described the show to SFGate as “‘Antiques Roadshow’ meets ’60 Minutes.'”
Before then, in 2001, Gaskin co-hosted a cable access show called “Inside City Limits.”
Later he started a magazine called “Benefit: The Lifestyle of Giving,” which covered philanthropy in the city. At the time when it first published in 2006, Gaskin said he was a longtime fundraiser for AIDS-related causes and he wanted to do more for charities in San Francisco.
“Our goal is to inspire people,” Gaskin told the San Francisco Examiner back in 2006. “We’re in a way a guidebook through good example.”
While publishing magazines and hosting television shows, Gaskin also became a somewhat successful painter. In 2004 he painted a giant heart for the Hearts in San Francisco project, a fundraiser for San Francisco General Hospital. His heart featured then-San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris portrayed as Billie Holiday and then-Mayor Newsom’s wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle, portrayed as Frida Kahlo.
The following year, Gaskin painted one of the rooms of the famous Hotel des Arts, which commissioned room paintings from artists such as Jeremy Fish and Shepard Fairey. Gaskin’s room caused controversy for using Louis Vuitton logos without the company’s permission.
In 2006, Newsom recommended Gaskin for the mayor’s new San Francisco Arts Task Force.