During the height of the of the holiday shopping season, a vendor set up shop at a mall on Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson and sold wooden figurines of a bear that looked like TFG, including his hideous hair style and power red tie. The bear held small sign, which read, “Let’s go Brandon. “ Officials have now updated their guidelines for vendors to include what is and what isn’t appropriate to sell on the military base.
Chris Ward, senior public affairs manager for the army and air force exchange service, stated the “Let’s go Brandon” bears were sold at JBRER‘s officially managed commercial facility but offered by an independent vendor. The seller had a short term contract with the venue and by the time officials looked into the item, the merchant had already closed up shop .
Political speech on military installations and among service members is not a black-and-white issue. The Defense Departments 2020 guidance on political activity, active duty service members are barred from overtly supporting politicians, causes, and campaigns that could make the military appear partisan.
The exchange routinely reviews products to determine their compliance with the exchanges prohibition from selling items that are illegal, promote the use of drugs or alcohol, contain racial/ethnic slurs, condone racial/ethnic supremacy, or include words, symbols, or scenes that are lewd, profane, and vulgar.Chris Ward
When asked if the MAGAt bears were inappropriate political speech on a military base, Ward replied, “yes. “
Once this product was identified, it was determined to be outside the established parameters for resale. Communications to incoming vendors will now reflect the need to exclude products of this nature going forward.