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Ocasio-Cortez enemy of freedom video costs Fresno Grizzlies Tecate, Dos Equis, Sun-Maid sponsorships




Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) in Capitol on May 22. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

A handful of main sponsors have completed their partnerships with Fresno Grizzlies after a memorial-day video that included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) among America's enemies of freedom – along with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and late Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The giant Sun-Maid confirmed through a spokeswoman that it ended her sponsorship of Grizzlies after the team showed the video in Chukchansi Park on Monday.

"This decision is not meant to give any political perspective at all," Sun-Maid said in a statement on the Washington Post. "It doesn't matter which end of the political spectrum you are at; we have taken this action as we simply believe this is the right thing to do."

"We have discussed our position with the Grizzlies leadership and Wish them good as they do through this case, "Sun-Maid said.

Tecate and Dos Equis announced Thursday evening that they also joined partnerships with the team.

"We do not support the views expressed in the video sent during the Fresno Grizzlies game on Memorial Day," said Heineken USA, who owns both brands, in a statement distributed by spokesman Thomas Hunt. "For this reason, we have completed this relationship, immediately effective and have let the team know our decision."

On Wednesday, Fresno Bee reported that Sun-Maid said in a separate statement that the company was "deeply disappointed" by the incident and "did not support the views or feelings expressed in the video."

The decision comes close to home: Sun-Maid has deep roots in California's San Joaquin Valley region, founded in Fresno in 1912. The company recently announced that it would move its headquarters back to the city from nearby Kingsburg, California where it has been based since 1964.

Memorial Day montage highlighted excerpts from President Ronald Reagan's first introductory address and moving images of American veterans who fought in several wars. But in the last moments of the video, as the former commander sensed, "for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential opponents, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people," images of anti-fascist protesters, dictators, and Ocasio -Cortez appeared on the screen.

The backlash was fast and Grizzlies apologized.

But Ocasio-Cortez responded by saying that videos like the one played by the team often lead to death threats and hateful messages.

Grizzlies, AAA member of the Washington Nationals, said in a statement Early Tuesday, team officials had not seen the full video before showing it at the stadium. The team apologized for not properly wetting the video and taking the attention away from veterans.

"A pre-produced video outside our front office was chosen; unfortunately it was meant to be a shame that ended with some misleading and offensive editing, making a statement that was not our intention and certainly not our meaning, "Grizzlies said.

The team said it was "bothered" and "will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again."

In a subsequent email to The Washington Post, the team's spokesperson Paul Braverman said the video clerk was "reassuring" and confirmed that the club was implementing an internal notification of the incident.

The post reported Thursday that the study detailed how a long-term staff chose a YouTube video that the employee had used for years. This version of the video was apparently edited to include footage by Ocasio-Cortez, and the employee did not look at the entire video, according to the team.

The employee "has been accused", according to Grizzlies.

Washington citizens are comfortable with the results of an internal investigation, according to a person with direct knowledge of citizens' thinking. The nationals discovered Grizzley's new internal protocols to ensure that something similar never happened again, according to the person.

According to the team's website, Grizzlies still maintains sponsorships with Coca-Cola and Fresno Bee.

Sam Fortier and Eli Rosenberg contributed to this report.

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