According to their web site, the mission of the Bearded Villains group is to highlight “bearded men with character, from your next door neighbor to the supermodel on GQ mag.”
So imagine the members’ surprise when police showed up at the Swedish chapter’s photo shoot, thinking they were terrorists.
The mixup happened when a passerby noticed how they looked, saw them waving a black flag and pushed the panic button.
Member Andreas Fransson told the story on Facebook: “In the middle of the shoot, two cops showed up, telling us they got a call from someone saying they drove past and saw about 30 terrorists waving an ISIS flag.” Fransson said the police “quickly saw that we weren’t terrorists, out in the middle of nowhere, dressed in formal wear, hugging and laughing.”
“It made our day,” co-leader and fellow beard enthusiast John Ekeblad said. He hopes the fact that their story has gotten so much publicity may help people stop being “small-minded” when it comes to outer appearances. “The first thing [people] think when they see men with beards and a flag is ISIS,” he adds. “But bearded men can be nice and giving and loving as well.”
“It’s one of the foundations of our brotherhood, that you should not judge others before you know the facts,” echoed Fransson.
The Bearded Villains organization is fairly new, having been formed in 2014, but they already claim active membership in more than 80 countries. Its web site describes it as “a brotherhood of elite bearded men from all over the world.”
The Swedish contingent was having pictures taken among castle ruins on Saturday. It was their turn to care for the world organization’s flag, which does happen to bear a very slight resemblance to that of the infamous terror group (see photos).
According to other group members, this was not the first time they’ve been taken for militants.
“Each and every day you hear someone say you are a terrorist,” John Ekeblad told Sweden’s Metro newspaper.
“It’s one of the foundations of our brotherhood, that you should not judge others before you know the facts,” Fransson said.