The Bloomsburg Fair – an annual event in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania – features live music, Ferris wheels, and horse races. And this year, fair-goers could also pick up a Nazi flag right next to Trump paraphernalia.
An image of the flag went viral after local resident Chloe Winters posted a picture of it on Facebook. Facebook later removed the post, but others reposted it or similar images.
“I was absolutely shocked and appalled when I saw this Nazi flag hanging at the Bloomsburg Fair. This flag represents the brutal and horrific genocide of innocent people. It stands for the hatred and destruction of a religion I feel blessed to be a part of.”
Winters ended her post with a simple question:
“It’s 2016 and the world is still full of SO MUCH hate. When is it going to end?”
The Trump Connection
In the photo, the Nazi flag is positioned — appropriately — near a Donald Trump flag. Observers were quick to point out yet another connection between the Republican presidential candidate and a certain mustachioed German dictator of the mid-20th century.
— Jim Carroll (@ZapDevil) September 26, 2016
Nazi Flags Flying Next to Trump Flag at Bloomsburg Fair. Sounds about right. https://t.co/fM1FvkrB7BLoading...
— Open Culture (@openculture) September 26, 2016
Is anyone really surprised there was a Nazi flag hung directly next to a Trump flag at the Bloomsburg Fair? They represent the same values!
— Mitch (@mitchlamb111) September 26, 2016
The Plot Thickens
The vendor, Lawrence Betsinger, was predictably unapologetic when questioned about his wares:
”If you don’t want it, don’t look at it. I’m not making anybody buy it. I guess there’s no First Amendment at the Bloomsburg Fair.”
But the story gets even better. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Betsinger was peddling racist paraphernalia, it turns out he’s also a registered sex offender. In 2007 he was charged with over 20 counts of possessing child pornography. He took a plea deal and ended up on probation.
Apparently his sex offender status was the last straw for the officials at the Bloomsburg Fair. They later issued an apologetic statement on their Facebook page:
“We were initially unaware of the flag and other merchandise being displayed by a vendor on our fairgrounds. Most posts were made after midnight, and as soon as we were made aware of it early this morning, we took the appropriate action with the vendor to remove those items. Unfortunately, we have over 1200 vendors on our fairgrounds and it’s difficult to monitor each one individually. Whenever someone brings something like this to our attention, we always discuss it with the vendor and take any steps to maintain a family-fun atmosphere at our fair.”