The Air Force is investigating an airman who last week posted videos of himself, in uniform, denouncing gay people as “sodomites,” “pedophiles,” “roaches” and “vermin scum,” among other slurs.
The unidentified airman, who posted videos on YouTube under the name “Baptist Dave 1611” before taking down his account over the weekend, also voiced support for Grayson Fritts, a controversial Baptist pastor in Knoxville, Tennessee, and his views supporting the execution of gay people in the nearly 11-minute video.
“The sodomites, the homos, they do all their filthy acts in the dark of night where no one can see them,” the airman said. “When you get these perverts on their own, they flee like cockroaches, like the roaches they are, the vermin scum, the pedophiles that they are."
Fritts, who is a Knox County sheriff’s detective, recently came under heavy criticism after advocating for the government to arrest, try and execute homosexual people in a sermon, arguing that the Bible calls for such punishments. Fritts is now on sick leave and will leave law enforcement next month as part of a buyout, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The airman also posted another video, titled “Who I Hate,” in which he denounced Islam, the Mormon Church and Roman Catholicism as cults.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed the man in the videos is an airman, but would not provide his name, location, or say whether he is an officer or enlisted due to privacy issues.
“The specifics of the situation are being reviewed by the airman’s command team,” Stefanek said in an email Tuesday. “The Air Force considers diversity to be one of our greatest assets; therefore, every airman is expected to treat each other with dignity and respect. We do not tolerate behavior that is contrary to those values.”
Stefanek also highlighted an excerpt from Air Force Instruction 1-1, which requires “airmen treat others with genuine dignity, fairness and respect at all times.”
AFI 1-1 also requires airmen to “maintain professionalism and respect for others regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.”
“This respect for others not only involves personal interaction, but also extends to communications and interactions in social media and cyberspace,” the regulation reads.
His video supporting Fritts, which was posted June 19, also claims many Christians agree with Fritts, but are too afraid that what he termed the “homo mafia" will destroy their livelihoods.
He also denounced parents who take their children to “drag queen story hour” events, claiming children are sexualized there, and claims some parents force sons to cross-dress and dance at gay bars.
“If you’re making your son, for example, dress up as a woman and go dance at a sodomite bar, that’s hip, that’s cool, that’s trendy,” the airman said. “But if you just believe the Bible, and you take your kid to church, that’s child abuse, right?”
His “Who I Hate” video, which was also posted June 19 and in which he also wears his Air Force uniform, contains a section where he called Mormon missionaries “ministers of Satan” for preaching what he views as a false religion. He called Islam a “violent, barbaric, pedophilic cult” created by Satan.
The airman also said he hates the Pope and other Catholic clergy for their role in the Catholic Church’s widespread sex abuse scandals.
A third video, in which the airman does not appear to be wearing his uniform, criticized the Cracker Barrel restaurant for refusing to serve Fritts due to the controversy over his anti-gay sermon. All of his videos have now been removed from YouTube.
The Modern Military Association of America, a nonprofit organization that advocates for LGBT service members and veterans, issued a release Friday calling on the Air Force to hold the airman accountable for his actions.
“This alarming call for the execution of LGBTQ people by a service member in uniform no doubt adds fuel to the fire of those who wish us harm,” MMAA Executive Director Andy Blevins, who served in the Navy, said in the release. “What this airman did is blatantly illegal under the [Uniform Code of Military Justice], and he has disrespected his uniform, the United States Air Force, and the military as a whole. The dangerous message this hate speech sends to those he serves with, including service members who may be LGBTQ, is completely unacceptable and could have severe consequences.”
In another incident, the Air Force Reserve last year kicked out a recent recruit who appeared in a racist video that went viral. The former recruit denied she was racist, and said that she was drunk in the video.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.