A Navy seal is under investigation for suspected association with unspecified extremist organizations after photos and videos surfaced of him speaking with members of the Proud Boys at parental rights protests, according to media reports and the visual documentation.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Bryce Henson, who also goes by the pseudonym Ben Richards, became a known figure in his community for participating in parental rights protests and advocating against LGBTQ+ indoctrination at school board and city council meetings, Military.com reported. A local photographer began compiling photos and videos of Henson standing with Proud Boys members and documenting allegations of verbal harassment.
He’s currently under investigation for “possibly participating with, or supporting, extremist causes,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ben Tisdale told Military.com.
“While sailors are always allowed to exercise their rights to freedom of speech and assembly if they follow the law and policy restriction, participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is contradictory to the core values of the Navy and is not tolerated by [Navy Special Warfare],” Tisdale told the outlet.
Henson, operating under the Richards moniker, described himself as the founder of SoCal Parent Advocates, a parents group opposing Critical Race Theory, “radical gender ideology” and “vaccine and mask tyranny,” according to its website.
“The message is clear: we are peacefully, legally and effectively exposing hatred, intimidation and violence perpetrated against parents who simply don’t want things hidden from them about their children,” SoCal Parent Advocates said in a statement.
The Nov. 10 statement added that “Ben” was involved in an ongoing investigation and unavailable to speak but remains “confident that the investigation will vindicate him of any wrongdoing, demonstrating that he has only been a dedicated and responsible father, and a hero for knowingly assuming risk to help parents under attack.”
Kelly Stuart, a local photojournalist who describes her work as dedicated to exposing fascism and extremism, documented Henson on two occasions — Jan. 18 and 21 — surrounded by individuals wearing the yellow and black clothing and distinctive emblems identifying themselves as Proud Boys, a group whose former leaders were convicted of seditious conspiracy for helping plan and instigate the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
“He was screaming, ‘Take your mask off, pussies’… [and] calling people pedophiles,” Stuart told Military.com. “When I posted about him on social media, a lot of people came forward and said, ‘This guy harassed me,’ and so a group of people started trying to figure out his identity,” Stuart said.
In August, he showed up at a Los Angeles rally wearing a “Dad Army” T-shirt, leading about 150 people to protest LGBTQ+ school policies, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We believe that there is a radical indoctrination system that has seeped from academia and now into K through 12,” Henson, a parent who spoke out against his own daughter’s school, told the LA Times. He’s part of a growing movement in California seeking greater parental oversight of what their children are being taught in schools.
Department of Defense policy implemented in 2021 bans servicemembers from participating in extremist organizations. Its definition of extremist groups includes “advocating widespread unlawful discrimination.”
Neither the Navy nor Henson immediately returned the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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