The owner of a bar in Kalamazoo, MI is upset over a public backlash against pro-Nazi posts he placed on social media but now dismisses as a "bad joke."
"The public is crucifying me," complained Aaron VanArsdale, the owner of Craft Draft 2 Go, which WWMT Channel 3reported was vandalized on Tuesday night after Facebook photos of VanArsdale with a swastika on his forehead and holding his arm out in a Nazi salute went viral.
"Get out," wrote vandals in white spray paint. "F*ck you, Nazi scum."
"I'm not a Nazi," insisted VanArsdale in an interview with Channel 3. "I'm not a white supremacist -- I'm trying to think of all the names I've been called."
In the face of boycotts and threats, Craft Draft 2 Go employees are afraid to come to work, he said, and the business has been closed since the vandalism incident.
VanArsdale said he does not consider himself a racist, a Nazi or white nationalist, but identifies as a conservative libertarian.
"I believe in equal rights for everybody," he said.
But why, then, Channel 3 asked, were there so many pictures and memes supporting white nationalism and Nazism on VanArsdale's feed? It wasn't just one or two photos.
"Again, I'm not a Nazi," VanArsdale said. "Bad humor."
"You see how that's confusing when there's a photo of the Star of David with blood on it with a swastika?" asked Channel 3.
"Sure," the bar owner said.
"So then why post them?" he was asked.
"Bad judgment, attempt at humor that didn't turn out so well," he said. "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."
VanArsdale says he will probably depart from the business so as not to be a distraction and leave Craft Draft 2 Go in the hands of his business partner.
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