Former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, who is best known for killing Osama bin Laden, criticized the US Navy for enlisting a drag queen influencer to be a “digital ambassador” for recruitment purposes.

O’Neill took to Twitter and posted, “The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us. YOU GOT THIS NAVY. I can’t believe I fought for this bullshit,” followed by, “You’re doing it wrong, @USNavy…Talk to someone whose [sic] actually done something! Not yeomen with tits and a Dick!”

This came after U.S. Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley’s TikTok video went viral. Kelley performs as “Harpy Daniels” and was appointed by the Navy as a “Navy Digital Ambassador” in a pilot program from October 2022 to March 2023.

Kelley expressed his gratitude on Instagram, “Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity! I don’t speak for the Navy but simply sharing my experience in the Navy! Hooyah, and let’s go Slay!” Kelley’s performances have also been enjoyed by his fellow sailors during lip sync shows on a carrier deployment in 2017 and 2018.

The Navy confirmed that the “Navy Digital Ambassador Program was a pilot initiative designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates as the Navy navigates the most challenging recruiting environment it has faced since the start of the all-volunteer force,” but did not comment on Kelley’s appointment.

Before his recent tweets, O’Neill tweeted, “To be clear, I have had so much [fun] at drag shows. And I do truly appreciate their artistic talents. However, grown men should not be showing their a**holes to children.”

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O’Neill’s tweets sparked a debate on social media regarding the recruitment strategy of the US Navy. Many Twitter users defended the Navy’s decision to appoint Kelley, while others expressed similar views to O’Neill’s.

Kelley’s participation in the program has received mixed reactions, with some people praising the Navy for its diversity and inclusion efforts, while others have criticized the use of a drag queen influencer as inappropriate and potentially damaging to the military’s image.

The use of digital influencers and ambassadors is not new for the military, as they have been using social media to reach potential recruits for several years. However, the use of a drag queen influencer is seen as a departure from the traditional military image, which has typically been associated with masculinity and toughness.

Former Navy veterans and family members of veterans started speaking out all over Twitter:

Others supported his stance:

A few even used this moment to take a swipe at the U.S. Navy in general: