(RepublicanNews.org) – A former Navy SEAL is facing a major controversy ahead of plans to open a military-themed brewery in Norfolk, Virginia.
Robert J. O’Neill, the man who shot Osama bin Laden, has a small stake in the Armed Forces Brewing Company which is seeking to open the brewery. However, O’Neill is facing opposition from community members who accuse him of making racist and homophobic remarks.
O’Neill took to social media to express displeasure over a Navy sailor, who also performed as a drag queen, and was reported by Texas police for using a racial slur. “Alright. The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter,” he wrote. “I’m done. China is going to destroy us. YOU GOT THIS NAVY. I can’t believe I fought for this bull.”
These incidents, among others, have fueled opposition to the brewery’s operation in Norfolk, a city within Hampton Roads and home to a substantial military population.
The brewing company, known for its conservative advertisements, has downplayed O’Neill’s public role as a brand ambassador and dismissed allegations against them. Despite this, the Norfolk Planning Commission voted 4-2 against granting permits for a planned taproom and distribution center, located near the largest Navy base in the country. The commission received nearly 800 comments, mostly opposing the business venture.
Armed Forces Brewing faced additional setbacks as the neighborhood association, serving the predominantly black community of Park Place, did not support the brewery. Opponents argue that the brewery is ill-suited for the city, emphasizing concerns about the lack of diversity in the ownership reflecting the military, veterans, and the liberal-leaning city.
Critics also raised O’Neill’s arrest in Frisco, Texas, in August, where police alleged he assaulted a hotel security officer while intoxicated and used a racial slur. O’Neill vehemently denies using such language.
City Councilors voted to approve the brewery’s conditional use permits on Tuesday, December 12th. The company had threatened legal action if the application was rejected.
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