SEAL who killed bin Laden criticizes Navy's digital ambassador program
Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden slams the Navy’s drag queen ambassador saying the military needs to be ‘ferocious, not fabulous’ – after performer Harpy Daniels says backlash means they’re ‘winning’
- Former SEAL Rob O’Neill said the Navy’s digital ambassador program was flawed
- Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley has caused a stir posting drag videos to TikTok
- O’Neill said more emphasis should be on traditional elements of the military
The retired Navy SEAL who claimed to have killed Osama bin Laden has criticized a Navy recruitment strategy involving an active service drag queen ambassador.
Rob O’Neill, 47, said that the US military ‘needs to be ferocious, not fabulous,’ during Varney & Co. on the Fox Business Network on Monday.
The Navy is in the midst of somewhat of a recruitment crisis and is expected to fall 8,000 people short of its recruitment goals for the year.
It has come under scrutiny over its attempts to rectify that and a campaign first launched in November with a drag queen influencer, Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who in non-binary and goes by the stage name Harpy Daniels.
It comes as Kelley said last week in response to much of the negative attention they have drawn over the campaign: ‘Haters only hate when you are winning.’
The retired Navy SEAL who claimed to have killed Osama bin Laden has criticized a Navy recruitment strategy involving an active service drag queen ambassador
Rob O’Neill, 47, said that the US military ‘needs to be ferocious, not fabulous’
Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who goes by the stage name Harpy Daniels has caused a stir by posting drag videos to TikTok
‘This is not going to boost recruitment, this is going to do the opposite,’ said O’Neill when asked if he thought the Navy’s digital ambassador scheme would be effective.
‘We don’t join the military to express ourselves,’ O’Neill added.
‘All we have in common is that we’re all afraid that we get our heads shaved, then we’re part of a team, and our job as a military is alliance, solidarity, forward defense and deterrence. And a deterrent is a way you avoid conflict by projecting strength.’
Kelley was tasked with highlighting theirjourney from performing on board beginning in 2018 and growing to become an ‘advocate’ for those who ‘were oppressed for years in the service.’
The program he was part of ran from October 2022 to March 2023 and was designed to ‘explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates’ for military recruitment.
O’Neill said during his appearance on Monday night that emphasis should be placed on more traditional aspects of the military.
‘I’m all about freedom, you do what you want behind closed doors, you’re on your own time, but we need to have submarines with nuclear capability, aircraft carriers, men and women who fly jets and the best infantry in the world, which is the United States Marine Corps,’ he said.
‘I talk to thousands of people personally a week, and we have really good young men and women out there that still want to join,’ O’Neill said.
‘I always tell them, if you can do anything, get accepted to the academy and fly something because that’s still cool. I don’t care who you are.’
While the campaign was active, Kelley (pictured) was one of five digital ambassadors. Kelley has a large following on TikTok where they have been sharing videos of drag performances on-board Navy ships for years
A Navy spokesman told DailyMail.com the digital ambassador program was a pilot that ended in March 2023.
‘They should be: Get up in the morning, get your workout in, go to the range, learn your tactics, rehearse them, and then go back to the range. And now they’re just putting all this useless stuff out,’ O’Neill said.
In a TikTok video released last week by the Harpy Daniels account, Kelley displayed a tweet responding to their content in which conservative podcaster Graham Allen wrote: ‘This is not the same military I served under… Our enemies LAUGH at us.’
The video showed supportive comments that read ‘LGBTQ+ people can serve’ and ‘LOUD & PROUD.’
‘Haters only hate when you are winning,’ Kelley wrote in the caption to the TikTok post.
‘LGBTQ+ people never could serve open because of DADT [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell]. Now that we can, you can see who the Homphobic [sic] and Transphobic people are.’
While the campaign was active, Kelley was one of five digital ambassadors. Kelley has a large following on TikTok where they have been sharing videos of drag performances onboard Navy ships for years.
In a post on the weekend, he thanked his followers and asked them to also support the four other ambassadors.
‘Also give that same respect and support to the other four outstanding sailors that also did the Navy digital ambassador pilot,’ they said.
‘In the Navy any one has the ability to lead and make a difference no matter the rank, race, gender, sexual orientation, or background. We all fight for the same mission and goals to be a stronger and better Navy,’ Kelley wrote in the caption.
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