A boat initially winning first place in the annual Yorktown Boat Parade was disqualified from the contest on Saturday for its anti-President Joe Biden slogans.
A boat ornately decorated in lights with the words “Let’s Go, Brandon” and “FJB” [F*ck Joe Biden] across the top attended the parade located on the York River in Yorktown, Virginia, on Saturday evening, WTKR 3 reported. The judges awarded the boat “Best in Show,” but then disqualified the prize just hours later for its politicized statements.
Dr. Walt Akers, a member of the Board of Directors for The Yorktown Foundation, issued an apology for awarding the boat, saying that “political statements were at odds” with their non-profit organization’s mission, the outlet reported.
“The event organizers immediately notified the judges that the boat would be disqualified because its political statements were at odds with the mission of the Foundation, and the second-place boat would be advanced to the winning position,” the statement said.
“While we recognize that political divisiveness is a factor in our daily discourse, we DO NOT want it to negatively impact anyone’s enjoyment of our community events,” Akers continued. “We regret that this incident occurred, and we will work to avoid such events in the future.”
The captain said the committee knew about the theme and let him go with it, but where the problem lies is the Yorktown Foundation that oversees the groups running the parade cannot be involved in political speech as a 501c3 nonprofit.https://t.co/OXGJ28iSxF
— WAVY TV 10 (@WAVY_News) December 8, 2021
The phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon” became a national sensation after NBC reporter Kelli Stavast said that an audience’s apparent “F*ck Joe Biden” were cheers for NASCAR driver Brandon Brown during an Oct. 2 race in Alabama. (RELATED: ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ Store Open Up In Massachusetts)
The crowd attending the parade reportedly cheered enthusiastically during the boat’s appearance, the outlet reported. Akers said he believes the boat won first place due to the crowd’s reaction and the judge’s alleged lack of knowledge of what the message stood for.
Capt. Bill Berger, the owner of the boat, claimed that the committee knew of the boat’s “Let’s Go, Brandon” theme as he clearly stated it in his application, the outlet reported. He said he has no regrets for incorporating the anti-Biden phrase onto his boat.
“We have a horrible president. Is it inappropriate? In today’s world, I don’t think so,” Berger said. “It was part of our SNL skit, I would say because Joe Biden went upstairs tripping. What I regret right now is the attacks. The attacks from the Internet people to the people on my boat.”
“These people want to say I did all this bad stuff on this parade, but then they aren’t going to stand by them, and they attack my people with threats.”
The Foundation met Tuesday to deliberate ways to prevent political speech from entering the parade in the future, agreeing to make sure that the message is clear and have discussed canceling the event altogether if changes are not made, according to the outlet.
The Foundation plans to meet with the committee in February to discuss the parade’s future, the outlet reported.