Brad Braddock is the owner of an Arkansas-based diving company who recently went viral after posting a video of himself wearing a swastika face mask.
On Aug. 7, the Fayetteville resident uploaded the YouTube video to his company’s account, Divenwa. Donning the red, black and white mask, Braddock criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention face covering guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
“I went out and bought my first face mask and that happens to be a Nazi swastika face mask that I think is kinda cute,” he said during the roughly-five minute video. “It’s really to be expected, you know, especially when all the socialists are out here on commie news telling us we must follow this new normal.”
Braddock went on to claim that “socialists” are forcing their opinions and beliefs on the nation.
“They want me to wear a face mask, but they just don’t want me to wear a Nazi face mask,” he added. “Even though they want this country to turn into a Nazi country, they want to subjugate the entire population to new rules and a new normal — but they find the swastika to be offensive.”
The video, titled “Reality check! Welcome to the new normal!” amassed over 17,000 views and was picked up by the popular Twitter account, Fifty Shades of Whey.
“Anti-masker in Arkansas wears a swastika,” the account tweeted. The tweet has since gone viral with more than 60,000 views and received a wave of condemnation online.
Many took to the platform to call out Braddock’s racist behavior, while others were quick to identify the dive instructor.
Braddock has not yet addressed the backlash on social media.
Here’s what you need to know about Braddock:
1. Braddock is a Certified Dive Master and Owner of His Own Company
Braddock owns DiveNWA, an Arkansas-based group of “independent diving professionals working together for the love of diving,” according to its website.
The company, which dates back to 2016, “routinely” takes its students on cruises to the Caribbean, offering travel deals and packages to “get divers into the ocean so they can start exploring,” the website continues.
“DiveNWA is about having fun. Diving can be therapeutic. Diving is a social sport. You have to trust that your dive buddy will be within arms reach,” the page reads. “Scuba Diving is such a surreal experience, even other worldly. A world that was never made for terrestrial man, but we went there anyway.”
2. Braddock Hails from Texas & is a Former Eagle Scout
Braddock was raised in Texarkana, Texas, according to his now-deleted LinkedIn.
“I played outside all the time, joined Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout,” he wrote in his About section.
The Texas native went on to study Biology at the University of Arkansas in 2012, the page disclosed.
Under his education section, he wrote:
I studied biological concepts Individually and broadened my liberal arts education. I really enjoyed having philosophical debates with philosophy teachers. I enjoy showing up ready to lead the discussion and getting participation points in each class. I’m good at chemistry, especially organic. I like to have a little bit of an imagination that my professors have said something about it.
3. Braddock is a Landlord & Former Shotgun Instructor
Braddock wrote on his LinkedIn that he currently has “properties that [I] collect rent on, write receipts contracts and prepare tax statements.”
He also listed shotgun instructor under his prior experience. Braddock worked at Camp Orr for one month in June 2018.
“I teach Scouts how to properly handle and take care of shotguns,” Braddock expressed. “Using the Scouters Merit Badge book and NRA training scouts are equipped with the necessary knowledge to shoot safely.”
4. Braddock Has Other Anti-Mask Videos on his Company’s YouTube
The Divenwa account has a little over 50 subscribers and features a mix of content, ranging from scuba diving to anti-mask rhetoric.
In one recent video, “Perpetual state of fear,” Braddock claims the Black Lives Matter movement is creating “home grown radicalization” and “domestic terrorism.”
“Today we are talking about the compliant state that we live in in America,” he said. “Something in these businesses around here, especially in Northwest Arkansas, it’s like Black Lives Matter controls businesses.”
“They don’t like what I have to say, they don’t want to give me a platform to speak,” he continues.
The account was created in February 2009 and has 17 videos.
5. Braddock Says he Believes in Climate Change, But Doesn’t Identify as a ‘Tree-Hugger’
In an untitled blog post, Braddock dives into his opinions on “man-made climate change.”
“Man-made climate change is real. Mankind really did warm up the environment . . . but what they don’t tell you is how they were the ones who created it,” he wrote. “The government were the enablers of climate change.”
Braddock also expressed that former president Barack Obama “declared global war on cynicism and inaction on the issue of climate change.”
“Freak show environmentalists” are plagued by “conformity,” he added.
“Libtards from California, real tree-huggers — these people have serious mental development and emotional issues,” he wrote.
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