Over the last few days, many white supremacists have gotten what they deserve for participating in the “Unite the Right” rally that took place last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Many participants have been identified via social media and have lost their jobs and even been arrested as a result.
Michigan bar owner Aaron VanArsdale may not have participated in the rally, but he’s facing backlash as photos of him have surfaced that suggest he might have attended if he lived a bit closer.
Kalamazoo locals have been protesting outside and calling for boycotts of VanArsdale’s bar, Craft Draft 2 Go, after photos were posted on Facebook showing him with a swastika on his forehead and giving the stiff-armed Nazi salute.
The Facebook post in question is embedded below:
Craft Draft 2 Go was also vandalized on Tuesday night, with the words “get out” and “F*ck you Nazi scum” spray painted on its exterior in white letters.
VanArsdale tried to defend himself on Wednesday during an interview with WWMT, a local Michigan news station. He told WWMT that he no longer feels safe and that his employees are too scared to come to work. He added:
‘The public is crucifying me.
‘I’m not a Nazi, I’m not a white supremacist—I’m trying to think of all the names I’ve been called.’
When asked how he explains the fact that there are multiple questionable photos of him making the rounds on social media, VanArsdale said the photos were simply “bad humor.”
‘Again, I’m not a Nazi; bad humor.
‘I’m not a Nazi, I don’t support hate groups.’
When pressed further about whether or not he sees why people would think he is a Nazi supporter when he appears in photos like the ones shown above, VanArsdale admitted that “sure,” he understands the confusion.
However, he argued that him posing for those photos was “bad judgment” but not bigotry.
‘Bad judgment, attempt at humor that didn’t turn out so well. You know, I’m not trying to make excuses that’s what it was. I don’t stand for that, I’m not pro-hate groups. I’m not in any extreme groups.’
The bar owner said that he is a pro-American and Libertarian who condemns extremism and believes in “equal rights for everybody.” He then added:
‘You know there’s hot topics that I should probably just stay away from, you know, as a lot of people should. It gets misunderstood.’
VanArsdale also said that he probably will not return to the bar when it does reopen and instead will leave it in the hands of his business partner.
‘I made a mistake, I am going to own up to it. I hope the business will succeed without me.’
Watch the interview with VanArsdale in the video below, courtesy of WWMT.
Featured image is a screenshot from the video.