The veteran-owned Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) released a statement and video over the weekend denying having a partnership with teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of murder, after a photo of Rittenhouse wearing a BRCC shirt went viral and social media users accused BRCC of sponsoring him.
A photo circulated on social media showing Rittenhouse posing with his attorney John Pierce and actor Ricky Schroeder after helping Rittenhouse post $2 million bail. Rittenhouse was wearing a BRCC shirt, prompting a social media firestorm questioning whether Rittenhouse was sponsored by BRCC. The photo was unaffiliated with BRCC, however.
FREE AT LAST!!!
From L to R:
Attorney John Pierce @CaliKidJMP
THE KYLE RITTENHOUSE
Actor Ricky Schroder @rickyschroder13
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) November 21, 2020
BRCC CEO Evan Hafer, an Army Green Beret veteran, responded to the backlash with a statement, in which he said, “We do not support legal advocacy efforts. We do not sponsor nor do we have a relationship with the 17-year-old facing charges in Kenosha, WI.”
— Black Rifle Coffee (@blckriflecoffee) November 22, 2020
In a video accompanying the statement, Hafer further said, “Did we sponsor Kyle Rittenhouse? The answer is no. The reason for that … is that we’re not in the business of profiting from tragedy. We’re not in the business of profiting from this event. We have zero interest in collecting one dollar from any of this. It is ethically inappropriate for us to do so, or even give a perception.”
The photo of Rittenhouse was also tweeted by Blaze Media podcast host, Elijah Schaffer, who captioned the photo with “Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America @blckriflecoffee” and an accompanying coupon code to get a 20 percent discount on BRCC products. Schaffer added that BRCC is an official sponsor of his show and said “I couldn’t be more proud.”
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) November 21, 2020
Social media users suspected that BRCC terminated its relationship with Blaze Media – which it has had for more than two years – over the incident, but Hafer confirmed discussions with Blaze Media to remove the promotional code.
“We had a series of discussions with Blaze because there was a promotional code attached to an image [of Kyle Rittenhouse]. We said, ‘we do not want to be associated with profiting from this … can you please remove it?’” Hafer explained. “Our marketing relationship with the Blaze, we’ve had that for two years, nothing changed with it.”
Although Hafer did not directly comment on Rittenhouse individually or his accused crimes, Hafer expressed that the company supports the Second Amendment and the Constitution and believes everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Hafer also reiterated BRCC’s mission to support and hire veterans, and said “we will not waver from that mission.”
Rittenhouse was released from jail on Friday after a fundraising effort paid his $2 million bail. He has been jailed for the last two months on various charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, for the fatal shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, during riots in Kenosha, Wis. on Aug 25.