Hotel that painted over military mural says they’ve received threats

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach hotel says they’ve received written and verbal threats since painting over a military tribute mural Sunday.

Nearby residents were outraged as they watched workers cover the mural with white paint.

PHOTOS: Popular Beach Military Mural Disappears

Management has stopped all painting, probably until next Monday, to give the community a cooling off period.

WAVY’s Andy Fox spoke to a man who was seen painting over the mural Monday, who said he felt uncomfortable while doing his job. 10 On Your Side asked him if he felt like people were against him. He started to speak, then got emotional and bowed his head. He wiped his eye, and nodded yes before saying, “yea.”

The artist of the mural, Chesapeake native Sam Welty, spoke with the owner of the hotel over the phone Tuesday. He also met with a hotel executive to discuss plans to restore the mural.

“He asked me how everything had been going, and he reassured me it was never his intention to destroy the mural entirely,” Welty said. “He had to do what he had to do for his business.”

The operators have maintained the mural had to come down due to paint chipping and building compromises under the mural, which allowed water into the building.

Welty is pleading for no more nasty comments on social media. The hotel management hopes to have a new mural up and dedicated on Memorial Day.

“It is possible. Memorial Day, just like Thanksgiving, is a perfect opportunity to think about what you have, and who we are, and to be thankful to those who gave you that opportunity,” Welty said.

The hotel owner is helping to pay for the mural restoration.