Dan Bailey’s Outdoor bears brunt of viral incident

Jason Bacaj – Enterprise Staff Writer
Monday, July 26, 2021
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Courtesy of The Guardian

This screen shot of a video clip from The Guardian shows the confrontation between television host Tucker Carlson, left, and Dan Bailey (not to be confused with the Dan Bailey who  founded what is today Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Company).

 Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Company found itself thrust into the harsh light of the internet’s spotlight this weekend after a local resident confronted Fox News host Tucker Carlson in the downtown store.

 The resident, coincidentally named Dan Bailey, approached Carlson in the store’s fly shop and exchanged words, calling the television host “the worst human being known to mankind.” An onlooker filmed the interaction, and Bailey later posted it to his Instagram page. The post went viral over the weekend and, as of Monday morning, had over 288,000 views and nearly 25,000 comments.

 Dale Sexton, owner of Dan Bailey’s Outdoor, said mid-July is the shop’s busiest season and that day was hectic in the store. Staff was engaged with other customers and about 20 people were in the store. Both Bailey and Carlson kept their voices under control, and Carlson continued shopping after the incident. He did not mention the experience to store staff.

 Sexton said neither he nor any staff members had any idea the confrontation had occurred until the video began making rounds on social media.

 At that point, people started reaching out to the store to voice their displeasure that Carlson had been accosted — mainly because they falsely assumed a connection between the man who confronted Carlson and Dan Bailey’s Outdoor.

 “Things have been a little surreal here,” Sexton said. “We had a caller yesterday who called repeatedly, who emphasized that he was going to come down here and teach Dan Bailey a lesson.”

 Calls came in Sunday about one every two minutes — “it was very disconcerting and unsettling,” Sexton said. As a result of the rude and disrespectful calls, anxiety and tension at the shop is higher than usual, he said. He considered shutting down the store on Sunday but ultimately stayed open rather than give in to the onslaught of anger.

 Jake McGlothlin manages the Dan Bailey Outdoor website and said that the viral incident led to a “staggering” amount of traffic on the company site. Sunday’s traffic alone was 110% higher than the first seven months combined, he said.

 The traffic started to tail off as of Monday, which gave McGlothlin hope that the company might escape the ire of the internet soon.

 “It’s still vastly above our normal, but it is kind of on that downward trend, which is nice,” he said.

 Sexton put out a statement over his company’s social media pages clarifying that the company’s founder, Dan Bailey, passed away in 1982 and has no connection to the resident who argued with Carlson.

 “Our staff was professional and cordial to Mr. Carlson, as we are with all of our customers,” the statement reads.

 Fox News condemned the incident in a statement given to The Hill, a nonpartisan news outlet covering politics and business. The statement said, “Ambushing Tucker Carlson while he is in a store with his family is totally inexcusable. No public figure should be accosted regardless of their political persuasion or beliefs simply due to the intolerance of another point of view.”

 The Dan Bailey who confronted Carlson is the Yellowstone program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. He manages NPCA’s conservation campaigns focusing on Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, according the nonprofit’s website.

 NPCA Communications Director Kati Schmidt wrote in an email that opinions expressed by staff in their personal capacity are theirs alone and not those of NPCA.

 Bailey was unavailable for comment.

 Sexton said that a couple extra staff members came in Sunday to help field the deluge of angry phone calls. And he noted that the police have had a presence at the store over the weekend, with staff passing the more egregious interactions to law enforcement. Most of the anger has come through phone calls, but at least two men have come to the store to voice their anger, Sexton said.

 “We’re just hopeful it doesn’t escalate,” Sexton said. “It’s spicy right now.”