Former KKK leader David Duke recently campaigned for U.S. Senate in 2016 in his home state of Louisiana. However, Duke didn’t have a squirrel’s chance of winning, but it made people pause and wonder who would support such a poisonous man running for office. Duke also wholeheartedly threw his support around President Trump during the 2016 election. Apparently, there are those who do support Duke and what he stands for behind closed doors.
Now, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis has reported that a local bar owner, Julius De Roma, donated $500 to the former KKK leader’s Senate campaign. The Star Tribune reported that Club Jäger was forced to shut down saying:
‘Caught between those who were outraged over the donation and white supremacists who thought they could claim the bar as their own were more than a dozen employees who became collateral damage in the fallout.’
Due to the bar’s closing, 17 people are now out of jobs, and The Tribune reports:
‘Employees were incensed when they learned about the owner’s donation to Duke, and the decision to close the business was made by those who ran it, not the owner, they said.’
Entertainers and staff at the bar quit soon after details about De Roma’s donation emerged. De Roma weakly defended his donation saying it was “free speech.” He said:
‘Well, whatever. What do you expect? It’s basically something that is blown up beyond what it should be.’
Apparently, his comments aren’t keeping his bar open though. Another group called The 90’s Preservation Society had a standing Thursday event at De Roma’s bar, but as soon they heard of his donation they canceled their weekly event via Facebook. Rob Callahan, a Twin Cities writer, also canceled his Tuesday evening Trivia night in light of De Roma’s support for David Duke.
Callahan also said to The Tribune that a few employees immediately walked off the job when they heard of the owner’s donation. He said:
‘The people working there didn’t want to keep this guy’s business operating and continue to face the harassment.’
Callahan pointed out that the staff working at Club Jäger are a very diverse group racially and sexually. De Roma’s actions affected them personally. Callahan went on to say:
‘Then to find out that the guy who signs their paychecks supports David Duke, I can’t tell you how betrayed we all felt. It was emotionally jarring for all of us. And then to have the people who we thought would support us, blame us, it was pretty emotional.’
DJ Jake Rudh also announced via Facebook that he would no longer hold his Wednesday event at the club.
This is truly sad and disappointing for the staff, but they should also be applauded for taking stand against hate, bigotry, and racism.
Featured image by Richard Ellis/Getty Images.