In late October 2018, a small media outlet based in Quebec, Canada queried Fireforce Ventures with several requests to conduct an interview. They asked questions in regards to the history of the company, it's founders, and why we carried certain "racist" products on our web store. This is the full story of what happened and the continued fallout from the case. This story should not be read as a cautionary tale against speaking to history, telling the truth, and "bashing on". We need that, more than ever these days.
They identified one of the key founders of Fireforce Ventures as allegedly appearing on a white nationalist podcast and making racist remarks. They also accused the company of attempting to "rehabilitate" the image of an apartheid state. This could not be further from the truth, and given the leading nature of the questions, Fireforce Ventures collectively decided not to respond. The company however, acted quickly in investigating one of it's former employees queried in the questions. Fireforce Ventures took immediate actions to terminate his involvement as issues were brought up about his background.
From day one, Fireforce Ventures has always been about promoting history, and selling pieces of it. Inspired by the incredible military history of African Bush Wars, and it's continued legacies in today's counter insurgency conflicts, our company had a particular interest in reproducing equipment and memorabilia from the era. At no point was the sale of any of Fireforce Ventures' products and social media postings intended to be politicized.
This fact was neglected, in a slanderous hit piece written by the media outlet that questioned us. They misquoted one of Fireforce Ventures' key proprietors in the story on nearly everything he stated in the "white supremacist" podcast. They also conveniently neglected to note that the podcast had later denounced Fireforce Ventures due to political differences. Regardless, the story led to a fire storm of controversy in the mainstream Canadian media, with the names and faces of the original Fireforce Ventures founders being plastered across the internet.
Since Fireforce Ventures was always their secondary source of income, their main careers in various fields were also targeted. Through a barrage of concerted complaints and inquiries spurred on by the initial articles, we came under attack. Immediately, operations were interrupted and dozens of harassing emails, phone calls, comments, and online postings were recieved. We were the "white supremacist webstore", and public enemy number one (for the week) in Canada. We made attempts to talk to the "alternative media" to give out side of the story and contacted lawyers to weigh our options. After all, the situation was absurd and we seemed to have tonnes of support from our customer base. In response, we got radio silence.
Things continued to go from bad to worse. The fact the company had been run and operated by ethnic minorities was glossed over. According to our hate mail, we were "race traitors" uncomfortable in our own skin. Expert after expert was brought one attempting to conduct some mental gymnastics about how such a thing could exist. The initial article included a university professor who bizarre espoused in a rather racist way, that oriental persons were more prone to harbouring racist views. Another university professor in a mainstream article was even quoted as an "expert" with the conclusion that use of the word "normie" by the company was extremely "dehumanizing". One look at internet culture, and the backgrounds of the actual founders quickly debunks this.
At every turn, Fireforce Ventures has made efforts to recognize the contributions of black African soldiers, with a special focus to those who fought for the former state of Rhodesia. These men and women fought honourably, against both Nazism and Communist totalitarianism both abroad, and in their own homeland. It didn't matter if they were Shona, Ndebele, of White Rhodesian. It doesn't just end at Rhodesia, Fireforce Ventures has made efforts to tell (and sell) stories of military history, that our chaotic world needs a bit more of. Fireforce Ventures even sells Eastern bloc apparel and memorabilia, yet funny enough, no one seems to care about that.
The horrors of war, and the courage of individuals fighting them only capture public imagination because it reaffirms our very human, and universal want for peace. People own pieces of history, to wear, to display, and sometimes even to burn. The company has never cared about the politics, only the unabridged gritty history associated with the apparel, memorabilia and equipment we sell.
On 14 November 2018, collectively the decision was made by the founders of Fireforce Ventures to back off. A public posting was made on Facebook, explaining the situation and where we go from here. The of our message continues to sentiment rings true. Offending the sensibilities of historically illiterate "professional journalists" was all we did. It did not merit the barrage of hate mail, professional reputations shattered, and financial security left in ruin. We had to back off, but if our greatest sin is speaking to historical truth, we'll stand tall in the sunshine.
History never dies. Fireforce Ventures will never die.
From Facebook, originally Published 14 November 2018:"We heard your voices as you defended us. We held the line, while they hid behind their computer screens.
At the end of the day, we were still the "white supremacists". They never beat us, but we can't stick around here a whole lot longer.
No lawyers want to touch us, and even the so-called "alt-media" won't give us a fair shake. We never asked to be in the public spotlight. The toll it has taken on our physical, mental, personal and professional lives, is immeasurable.
Effective immediately, Fireforce Ventures is under new management as all founding partners have now tendered their resignation. "Hank" will remain to help with transition process until the end of the tax year. There may be some slight delays to orders, especially larger ones in the interim.
Fireforce Ventures will stick around for the conceivable future and continue delivering great kit, and dank memes. Unfortunately we can't be a part of it anymore.
On behalf of Hank, Kurt, Jorgy and Willy, what a ride it has been. We love you all. Keep the faith."