Over the weekend, the Salvation Army was the center of a controversy in Indiana when a viral Facebook post revealed several white nationalists were bell ringing for the organization at a local Walmart.
In the post, which was shared over 10,000 times before being removed, three men wearing large patches that read “ARYAN” and “WAR” (an acronym for “White Aryan Resistance”) stood bellringing around the iconic red Salvation Army bucket.
@salvationarmy is there a reason why you have white supremacists ringing bells for you at Indiana Walmarts? Do you get why many haven’t been contributing to you but continue to support other charities? pic.twitter.com/NpPeGHe38k
— Sarah Is Hopping (@Redheaded_Sarah) November 24, 2018
A representative from the Walmart store told CBS Chicago:
“As soon as this was brought to our attention we asked the Salvation Army Bell Ringers to leave. We made the Salvation Army aware and they apologized. The Salvation Army is responsible for screening its volunteers stationed outside our stores. We’ve had a long history of supporting the Salvation Army and regret this isolated incident. We will direct further questions to the Salvation Army.”
Good to know this; not a nickel from me this year or in the future.
— Ann Marie Zimmerman (@AnnMarieZimme10) November 28, 2018
Lt. Christopher Nicolai from The Salvation Army of Porter County spoke to the Times of Northwest Indiana, saying:
“Our commitment to nondiscrimination includes a dress code for bell ringers, requiring that they wear red Salvation Army aprons, and making it clear that no “symbol, marking or lettering that is viewed as discrimination [may be worn.] Clearly, the bell ringers in question did not comply with this dress code. They will not be allowed to volunteer in the future. We are embarrassed that we were unable to prevent this incident, and apologize to all who were offended, as were we.”
Nicolai also commented that the volunteers would not be allowed to bell ring ever again.
This happened around New England years ago- reason why I never give the @SalvationArmyUS anything. I also know some ppl who work for them and they are KKK types . Choose another charity EVERY TIME
— Abigail Fische, Ph.D.🅾️ (@MuellerIsHere) November 27, 2018
One woman who accompanied the white supremacists spoke out on Facebook, attempting to shift the topic from their bigotry:
“That’s the profiling bulls**t we all have to deal with all the time you’re no better than anybody else. What you all are doing is a form of bullying. And profiling.”
WS: Welcome to Walmart. We’re dreaming of a White Christmas, please donate
Us: aww snow would be nice, it’s pret..
WS: no snowflake we went the black people gone forever
— Autumn’s Fallacy (@ginandtectonica) November 27, 2018
People didn’t have a lot of sympathy for the racists on Twitter, however:
Nothing new with these self-righteous bigots. At all.
— RichH 🏳️🌈 ⚛️ 🇺🇸 (@RichMailbox) November 28, 2018
Definitely not a good look on #GivingTuesday to find out your volunteers are White Supremacists.
— EverFabulous1 (@LIDiva) November 27, 2018
ugh they are the trashiest of all!!! i hate them very much especially the way they treat trans folks
— Lani (@laaaaaaaaani) November 27, 2018
Not Racist Ringers!🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/5tfiqU5GCP
— IG: @NatCarterArt (@NatCarterArt) November 27, 2018
This is just way to much. I have always supported the Salvation Army . Please don’t be true.
White supremacists are ringing bells for the Salvation Army in Indiana https://t.co/V9A7IZQ9ZF via @lgbtqnation
— aandrewzz (@ArthurGeorgeA) November 26, 2018
Salvation Army is a shit organization anyways.
— PatrickH4901 (@PH4901) November 27, 2018
Though this incident was an unfortunate mess for everyone involved, at least it was dealt with in a quick and decisive fashion. White supremacy is never acceptable in any context, and certainly not as a messenger for charity and love.