Champaign barbershop targeted by protesters closes

A central Illinois barbershop that became the target of protests by racial justice activists has closed, owner of the property where the shop leased space revealed Friday.

The News-Gazette in Champaign reports Michael Long, the owner of Rogue Barber Co. in Champaign, announced in a now-deleted Facebook posting that the business was a private membership barbershop. It said potential customers must declare in an application if they are members of “violent extremist groups” like Black Lives Matter or antifa.

RDI Properties President Michael Markstahler says Long asked to abrogate the shop’s lease. Markstahler says Long turned in his keys late Thursday.

Long didn’t return a request for comment.

A video posted on social media in July appeared to show a pickup truck driving through a small protest in front of Rogue Barber Co., making contact with a protester and running over a bike. Champaign police are still investigating the incident, spokesman Tom Yelich said.

Activists continued protesting in front of Rogue and, last week, Champaign issued a release reminding citizens that graffiti is illegal except for chalk art made by children.

The sidewalks in front of Rogue have been covered in chalk messages. No citations have been issued for graffiti, Yelich said.