Texas brewery gets threats after canceling Kyle Rittenhouse event
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A Conroe brewery says it has been inundated with harassment and several threats after it announced Friday that it will no longer allow an “anti-censorship rally” featuring Kyle Rittenhouse to be held there later this month.
“It’s been kind of a whirlwind,” Southern Star Brewery CEO Dave Fougeron said in an interview Saturday morning. “But now I’m more sure than ever that I made the right decision.”
Fougeron also said he was unaware until a few days ago that the event’s “special guest” was Rittenhouse. And he disputed claims — including those by Rittenhouse and others — that the cancellation came after pressure from a “smart crowd” or distributors such as HEB.
Rather, he said, it was mainly concerns from local customers that led to the decision. Fougeron described himself as apolitical and said the brewery, which brews popular local beers such as Bombshell Blonde, strives to be a welcoming place for everyone.
“Our country is super inclusive,” he said. “We’re super pro-veterans, super pro-law enforcement. We are trying to be good people in the community. We are friends with our firefighters, our police department…. We have a lot of gay customers who come because it’s a place of inclusion. It’s crazy that we’re getting threats from people.”
On Friday evening, Rittenhouse – who was found not guilty of murdering two people in Kenosha, Wis. at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020 — accused the brewery of censoring him.
“It’s really disappointing to see countries continue to censor me and not allow my voice and many other voices to be heard because they bow to the smart crowd,” Rittenhouse tweeted to his nearly one million followers. Other high-profile right-wing accounts similarly accused the brewery of censorship after it announced it was canceling the event because it “doesn’t reflect our values”.
A spokesperson for the event confirmed the cancellation on Friday and said it was “definitely” being rescheduled elsewhere.
The January 26 event was also scheduled to include a leader of TEXIT, a group advocating for Texas to secede from the United States. The organizer of the event is Defiance Press, a Conroe-based publisher behind titles including “Corona-fascism” and a biography of Joe Arpraio, the former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff who refused a judge’s order to stop racial profiling by his department.
Defiance Press describes itself as “active in the fight against censorship by publishing conservative books that have been widely censored by the mainstream media,” and has also published material supporting Texas’ secession from the United States.
Rittenhouse has increasingly focused on anti-media and “anti-censorship” crusades since he was acquitted of murder and other charges in 2021. The cancellation by Southern Star — which follows days of backlash — is just the latest controversy. involving Rittenhouse to occur in Texas.
Last year, he announced his plans to attend Texas A&M University, a claim that was retracted after the university said he had not been accepted. Rittenhouse, an Illinois native, later said he plans to attend Blinn College, a two-year school in Brenham.
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