Will Derek Richards's tour be canceled? AFE event in doubt as Joe Biden memes surface
Comedian Derek Richards could be in major trouble, thanks to one eagle-eyed Twitter user. Richards was due to go on a Department of Defense (DoD) sponsored tour of several military bases, but it now appears to be canceled after one user highlighted several memes Ricahrds shared. Targeting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the crude memes have since been deleted by Richards, but as always, it seems that the internet never forgets.
The President has been the subject of numerous memes and trolling over the year, especially from the Trump family. It's not just Biden memes though that have gotten people in trouble. In January, Amazon Pay was forced to delete a meme on Bernie Sanders, after it drew widespread criticism, including from Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. In May, LAPD chief Michel Moore came under immense criticism to fire a cop who shared a George Floyd meme.
Richards appears to have posted the memes in 2021 before he purged his Twitter account deleting everything but a few tweets about his pets. However, it was too late. One eagle-eyed user - Travis Akers - spotted, and screenshotted the memes and then tweeted it out on September 29. It didn't take long for the DoD's Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) agency to be tagged and act. Richards himself has not responded to the controversy, but it seems like he has little option now.
USO tour canceled
Richards was listed as part of 'Operation Laughter', an AFE tour to several middle eastern bases. It wouldn't be his first, his website indicates that he had been on several past tours, but this appears to be the first of the Biden Presidency. After Akers' tweet though, it appears AFE has canceled the entire tour, not just Richards. AFE has since deleted its tweet announcing the tour, and it no longer appears on their website.
It's unclear if the tour has been canceled, or put on hold. The agency did not issue any explanation for its decision, so we have to speculate for now. Akers tweet caught the attention of actress Debra Messing, who tweeted, ".@DeptDefence I am appalled that you would choose a Pro-Insurrection, Anti-Vax, Anti LGBTQI, to entertain our troops. It is wrong. It is Anti-American. @POTUS I wanted to make sure you were aware. It is horrifying." To that, the agency replied on September 30, "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are actively looking into the matter."
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are actively looking into the matter.— Armed Forces Entertainment (@ArmedForcesEnt) September 29, 2021
Beyond that, the agency did not issue any statement, so it's hard to say if Richards was responsible for the cancellation of 'Operation Laughter'. The whole thing though can be traced back to several crude memes Akers unearthed.
Richards dubs VP a 'hooker', Biden a 'demented old man'
The memes were shared by Richards since January this year, and unearthed by Akers on September 29. One shows Mike Lindell holding a pillow over Biden, which he captioned "hilarious". Another shared on Biden's inauguration day says, "a demented old man n hooker walk into a bar... oh wait... that is the inauguration." He also misgendered Megan Rapinoe in one tweet, calling her a "dude".
Akers screenshotted all those tweets and wrote, "Really classy tweets from @comednDRichards who is currently scheduled to be on a @DeptofDefense sponsored @ArmedForcesEnt tour to U.S. military bases in the Middle East next month. Nothing like joking about murdering the President and calling the Vice President a "hooker"."
Really classy tweets from @comednDRichards who is currently scheduled to be on a @DeptofDefense sponsored @ArmedForcesEnt tour to U.S. military bases in the Middle East next month. Nothing like joking about murdering the President and calling the Vice President a “hooker.”🥴 pic.twitter.com/CJHsRHxyYK— Travis Akers (@travisakers) September 29, 2021
Akers, a DoD employee said he noticed the memes only because Ricahrds was announced to go on the tour. "Being stationed overseas, it’s always exciting to have entertainment from home brought on Armed Forces Entertainment or USO tours, especially comedy tours, as I love stand up," he told The Daily Dot. When he began to dig into Richards though, he found the troubling material. "The further I reviewed his feed, the more concerning it became that he would be booked on a Department of Defense-sponsored tour since Armed Forces Entertainment is an official DoD office," he added.
Richards could not be reached for comment and is yet to issue a statement on the situation. Akers meanwhile, appears to be grateful that he's no longer a part of the tour. He later retweeted a tweet saying, "he should NOT be given the honor of entertaining our troops."