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Jewish Ohio health official resigns after anti-Semitic backlash to virus orders

Amy Acton, state’s Department of Health Director, faced armed protesters, Nazi comparisons, anti-Jewish slurs after supporting stay-at-home orders to stem coronavirus outbreak

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton gives daily briefings on the state's fight against the coronavirus with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. (Office of Gov. Mike DeWine via JTA)
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton gives daily briefings on the state's fight against the coronavirus with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. (Office of Gov. Mike DeWine via JTA)

JTA — Amy Acton, the Jewish Department of Health director in Ohio who came under fire for stay-at-home orders to stem the coronavirus crisis, including  by armed protesters carrying signs with anti-Semitic messages, has resigned.

Acton, whose resignation was official on Thursday, will become the chief health adviser to Governor Mike DeWine.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Acton was compared to the Nazis for supporting a reopening plan that included issuing certificates of immunity to businesses, and was called a “globalist,” a veiled anti-Semitic slur, for extending stay-at-home orders in May.

Last month, the state’s House of Representatives passed legislation to limit Acton’s powers.

Ohio began lifting coronavirus restrictions in stages on May 4.

Protesters gathered in front of her Columbus-area home on weekends, some carrying guns and shouting slogans or carrying signs bearing anti-Semitic and sexist rhetoric, The Washington Post reported.

“While I’m pleased that Dr. Acton will continue to advise Governor DeWine on health issues, I can’t help but be disappointed by her resignation as health director,” Kenny Yuko, the state Senate’s minority leader, a Democrat, told the Columbus Dispatch. “She endured an incredible amount of unfair criticism, including some anti-Semitic attacks. All those who have insulted, harassed or threatened her and her family should be ashamed.”

Acton appeared on a CNN town hall co-hosted by “Sesame Street” on Saturday.

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