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Full Metal Sponcon | Jasper Craven

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the rise of Eddie Gallagher, a former Navy SEAL, as a social media influencer and conservative celebrity after being acquitted of war crimes. It explores how Gallagher and his wife Andrea have leveraged his controversial past to build a brand and business, including launching a nonprofit called the Pipe Hitter Foundation that supports accused war criminals. The article also examines the broader trend of divisive right-wing figures harnessing backlash to build a following, as well as the commercialization and politicization of the SEAL brand.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Eddie Gallagher's Transition to Social Media Influencer

1. What factors contributed to Eddie Gallagher's successful transition to becoming a social media influencer?

  • Gallagher's wife Andrea, who has a background in marketing and portrait photography, played a key role in establishing his public persona as an innocent victim of "cancel culture" and a leading enemy of the "deep state"
  • This message attracted thousands of followers who bought "Free Eddie" merchandise and donated $750,000 for the family's legal and living costs
  • After being cleared of the most serious allegations, Gallagher was able to leverage his status as a former Navy SEAL to build a brand and business, including launching a nonprofit called the Pipe Hitter Foundation

2. How has Gallagher's history of violence and controversial actions influenced his current influencer status?

  • Gallagher's history of alleged war crimes, including the attempted killing of civilians and the stabbing of an ISIS prisoner, has become a key part of his public persona and brand
  • Rather than distancing himself from these actions, Gallagher has embraced a militant messaging and imagery, which has attracted a certain segment of followers who are drawn to "extreme content" and "aspirational violence"

3. What are some of the business ventures and partnerships Gallagher has pursued as an influencer?

  • Gallagher has partnered with companies like Nine Line Apparel, Black Rifle Coffee, and Firecracker Farm (a seasoned salt company) to promote products and build his brand
  • He has also launched his own podcast, Patreon page, and co-written a book with his wife
  • Through his nonprofit Pipe Hitter Foundation, Gallagher has provided legal and financial support to other accused war criminals and controversial figures

[02] The Commercialization and Politicization of the SEAL Brand

1. How has the Navy and the SEAL community contributed to the commercialization of the SEAL brand?

  • The Navy itself first exploited the SEAL brand, giving a SEAL named Marcus Luttrell time off to write the bestselling memoir "Lone Survivor" and supporting the production of the film "Act of Valor" that featured active-duty SEALs
  • This was seen as a way to boost recruitment and pacify the public by reducing the failures of the war on terror to a series of "badass missions"
  • The success of these projects paved the way for a wave of SEAL memoirs and the emergence of SEAL celebrities

2. What factors have led to the increasing politicization of the SEAL brand?

  • The rise of doomsday prepping, the perceived "crisis of masculinity," and the legitimizing of political violence on the right have created a demand for SEALs to arm and train civilians as "warriors"
  • Some SEALs have embraced this trend, positioning themselves as patriotic renegades fighting against a corrupt system, which has led to intra-SEAL conflicts and debates over "pimping the trident"

3. How has the Pipe Hitter Foundation's work exemplified the politicization of the SEAL brand?

  • The Pipe Hitter Foundation, co-founded by Eddie and Andrea Gallagher, has provided legal and financial support to a range of controversial figures, including accused war criminals and a Marine who criticized the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan
  • This aggressive, confrontational approach to challenging the military justice system has been criticized by some as romanticizing violence and undermining healthy civil-military relations
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