OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — The ownership of a local bar is responding to a video that went viral last weekend. In it, a man behind the bar, threw away what he said he thought was a fake military ID and then denied service to several members of the military. The video has nearly 4 million reactions on Facebook and over 350K likes on TikTok.
Josh Weitkamp, a local musician at the Lake of the Ozarks, was behind the bar at LOTO Lounge when Noel Cook and five other active servicemen and women came into the bar. When one woman showed Weitkamp her military ID as proof of age, he took the ID, bent it and threw it in the trash, claiming it was fake. When she asked for him to return it, he refused.
“Yeah, you can do a lot more pushups than me but what have you done for this country since World War 2?” said Weitkamp, who claimed the ID was fake because the laminate could be removed. In the video, Weitkamp said that he would only return the ID when the cops come and repeated the group needed to “get out of my f***ing bar.”
Weitkamp was not an employee of the bar, but has a personal connection to the family.
“We’re obviously huge supporters of the military. What happened was a huge misunderstanding,” one of the owners of the family-owned establishment told LakeExpo. “What happened is not a reflection of how we feel about the military.”
She added, “We love our people that serve this country, we love the lake and want to continue to support our community.”
LOTO Lounge also issued this statement on their Facebook:
“We, at LOTO Lounge, deeply regret the events of May 2nd and want to stress that we have tremendous respect for military members and their service to our country. Josh Weitkamp is not a bartender at LOTO Lounge; he is a local musician who has personal ties to the venue. He is extremely remorseful of his actions and we are working to make amends with the military members involved. We will do our best to reach out privately to those individuals and to publicly convey our appreciation to all military members in the future.”
Since posting that statement, the LOTO Lounge Facebook page has been deleted.
Cook expressed his thoughts about the incident in a Facebook post.
“I’ve never been more heated about a non-racial interaction with someone and the straight disrespect he had for fellow service members ESPECIALLY when some of us (if not all) joined the military because of 9/11 and how it shaped our upbringing. I hope you see this Josh Weitkamp and know that your actions that night will define you as a person. Actions always speak louder than words.”
Reactions to the video have been widely negative with people expressing disgust at Weitkamp’s actions and behavior and sympathy for Cook.