A Salt Lake City coffee company says it will end its sponsorship of a Blaze Media podcast after it drew vitriol online over a photo of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of killing two people during protests in Wisconsin, wearing a company T-shirt.
Elijah Schaffer, a reporter at Blaze Media, tweeted a since-removed photo of the 17-year-old wearing a Black Rifle Coffee Company shirt with the caption, Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America. The teenager was released Friday after supporters raised his $2 million bail.
Online, commenters questioned whether the coffee company had a sponsorship deal with Rittenhouse and accused it of supporting murder and hate.
We do not support legal advocacy efforts, said co-founder Evan Hafer in a statement. We do not sponsor nor do we have a relationship with the 17-year-old facing charges in Kenosha, WI.
Hafer said the companys mission is to serve coffee and support veterans. We believe in the integrity of the legal justice system, and support law enforcement officials, he said.
Schaffers podcast, Slightly Offens*ve, was sponsored by Black Rifle, but a spokesperson for the coffee company told The Salt Lake Tribune that it is terminating that relationship.
She said the company is not going comment on or draw conclusions about an ongoing legal matter.
We dont traffic in national tragedy and to us, thats what this is, she said. We are not legal experts or members of law enforcement. We fully support all law enforcement officials and believe in the integrity of the legal system.
Rittenhouse faces charges that he allegedly shot and killed two people and injured a third during an August protest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
Still, Twitter users criticized Black Rifle for not explicitly condemning Rittenhouses alleged actions.
Youd think if @blckriflecoffee DIDNT condone the murder of two people at the hands of #KyleRittenhouse theyd speak up, tweeted actress Yvette Nicole Brown.