A Nebraska bar is taking a stand after a photo, taken inside the tavern by members of what some call a hate group, went viral on social media.
The picture shows a group of customers posing with a flag that belongs to an alt-right group called American Vanguard .
Staff at Jake's Cigars and Spirits in Benson, Nebraska say the group comprises of what some people would call white supremacists and few in the photo are associated with the group.
— American Vanguard (@americavanguard) November 8, 2016
"Mostly anger that they would try to associate our brand with that kind of message because that just couldn't be farther from us," said Jake’s Creative Director Matt Biggins.
Staff at Jake’s Cigars & Spirits say members of the alt-right group asked customers if they would pose with them for a military support group photo.
What they didn't know is the group's mission is to make sure the country stays mostly white.
"I was absolutely stunned,” Biggins said. “At first I thought it was just a political group that had taken a group photo which I didn't see a big deal in. Then I found out who the group was and that they're an actual activist hate group."
As the picture spread across social media and Jake’s found out what the group represents, they used social media to spread their own message.
"We're a bar that sees all walks of life here and we want to keep that,” said Jake’s General Manager Abby Lemke. “We don't want anyone scared to come in here."
Despite having to focus on what they say was a misleading picture by a hate group, Jake’s general manager says the group is welcome in their bar.
"That’s what makes this bar and our country great is that we accept all races, religions and sexual orientation,” Lemke said. “You see that with our customers and you see that with our staff."
While Lemke says she wants answers, she says she has an idea of why American Vanguard tricked her customers.
"I feel for the people who are in the photo, that were tricked into this, this group purely asked them to do this so it looks like they have large numbers," Lemke said.
Lemke says the bar is going to reach out to the Nebraska chapter of American Vanguard.
The alt-right group is welcome at Jakes, but they’re not allowed to spread their message.