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A Texas brewery hit with threats and harassment for refusing to host a rally featuring acquitted shooter Kyle Rittenhouse is staunchly defending its decision.
Southern Star Brewing Co. of Conroe announced Friday it canceled an upcoming “Rally Against Censorship” with Rittenhouse that had been booked at the brewery.
“It’s been kind of a shitstorm,” brewery CEO Dave Fougeron told The Texas Tribune in an interview Saturday. “But now I’m more certain than ever that I made the right decision.”
The brewery, which had been listed as the event venue, said in a statement on Twitter that it’s an “apolitical organization, but we feel that this event doesn’t reflect our own values, and we could not in good faith continue to rent out space for the event.” It added: “We don’t do rallies, we make beer for people who like beer.”
A message from us at Southern Star: pic.twitter.com/v10pHCai2l
— Southern Star Brewing Co. (@SouthernStarBC) January 13, 2023
In a hugely controversial case, Rittenhouse was acquitted in 2021 in the fatal shootings of two unarmed protesters at a racial justice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle. He also wounded a third protester. He argued that he was defending himself.
Rittenhouse, who was reportedly added to the event lineup Wednesday, tweeted after the cancellation Friday that he was being censored and the brewery had caved to the “woke crowd.”
Fougeron reemphasized to the Tribune that the brewery is apolitical and aims to be a welcoming place for everyone.
“Our place is super inclusive,” he told the outlet. “We are super pro-veteran, super pro-law enforcement. We’re trying to be good people in the community. We’re friends with our firefighters, with our police department. ... We have a lot of gay patrons who come in because it’s a place of inclusivity. It’s crazy that we’re getting threats from people.”
The Rittenhouse rally was also slated to include a leader of TEXIT, a group that advocates for Texas to secede from the U.S., the Tribune reported.
Defiance Press, a right-wing local publisher, was organizing the event, according to the newspaper. The event will “definitely” be rescheduled elsewhere, an organizer told the Tribune.